Food and Community Hub in Former Eaton’s Building Opening Soon

Story by Kris Ketonen, Photos by Keegan Richard

Thunder Bay residents won’t have to wait much longer to experience a new food and community hub in the north core. The doors of the Goods & Co. Market, located inside the former Eaton’s building, are expected to be open in the coming weeks.

“Everything is going really well,” owner-operator Maelyn Hurley says. “We’re down to the crunch, just trying to line up the last few details. There’s a lot of moving parts, but it’s definitely looking more and more final every day. We’re hanging up vendor booth signs, and decals on the windows, hours of operation on the door.”

The 20,000-square-foot space will include 25 permanent storefronts, a number of pop-up shops, an art centre and gallery, a bar, and a strong sense of community. “I want it to be a space that everyone feels comfortable in, and that they can feel like they’re supporting our local business scene,” Hurley says. “I want it to be a major tourism attraction for Thunder Bay.”

One of the vendors who will be operating out of the market is Jacqueline Johns, who’s opening a bakery there called Uncommon Baked Goods. Johns had been living outside of Thunder Bay for the last 20 years, and was showcasing her baked goods on Instagram. That led Hurley to reach out about Johns becoming part of Goods & Co. “It was really exciting to me to hear something new like this being started,” Johns says. “I made the decision to come back for the opportunity, because it just seemed too good to pass up.”

Johns says she’s been working to get the Uncommon Baked Goods spot finished up, and aims to be operating sometime in November. “I hope it’s just kind of a larger meeting space where everyone can gather,” Johns says of the market. “I hope that it brings everyone together, and we can just kind of be a fun, happy community.”

Paul Pepe, the city’s tourism manager, says the market will be a good thing for Thunder Bay’s north core. “It brings over 20 new businesses to the core,” Pepe says. “It’s a great infill project in terms of use of the space, and re-utilizing it, and reopening it to the public. It creates more density, more things to see and do.”

Pepe says the market will play a key role in developing the city’s tourism sector. “These kinds of experiences build and build and build off of one another, and they all serve to keep visitors in the community a little longer,” he says. “The longer you can keep a visitor in a community, the more they spend, and the more chance they’ll stay another night.”

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