Eddie Guergis and his daughter, Ashley Guergis-Greencorn, want to see the largest farmer’s market in Atlantic Canada come to P.E.I.
“Buying local and providing my family with nourishing healthy meals is really important to me. I want others to be able to do the same,” said Guergis-Greencorn.
The father-daughter pair recently purchased the former Bargain Fabric Outlet in North Bedeque that had been for sale for many months.
They plan to turn the facility into Red Island Market, an open concept, locally produced market.
“We both have a vision to what this building can become. I can’t wait to get the walls down and start working and have vendors come in. It’s really neat,” said Guergis.
While there are multiple farmers’ markets established on P.E.I., Guergis-Greencorn says the Red Island Market won’t belong to a certain community or area, but will do its best to include producers from across the Island.
The location is also a benefit, she added.
“We’re right in the middle of Summerside and Charlottetown. We’re close to the bridge. So if someone is going to town they may not have to go all the way downtown for something. Tourists and Islanders drive by here constantly, it’s really perfect.”
Guergis added, “I sat out here one day in the summer and the traffic that went by here was endless. It was incredible.”
Guergis’s grandfather, George Guergis, owned the former George’s Modern Fruit Market in Summerside.
“It’s neat to continue on that history,” he said.
The pair is hoping to have the market up and running by early April, or May at the latest.
They aim to have about 50 to 60 vendors in the approximately 6,000 square foot space. It will feature local produce, meats, cheeses and artisan crafts.
“Everyone we’ve spoken to has been very receptive of the idea. It wasn’t a quick decision either. It was something we discussed since we saw the building become available.
“We want it to become a strong resource for local producers, farmers and artisans,” said Guergis.
There will be an application and interview process for those interested in becoming a vendor at Red Island Market.
“We want to open as soon as possible, but we also want to make sure we do this properly, which includes having really great producers,” he said.
There is also the possibility of converting one of the closed off rooms into cold storage for vendors, but they are also open to allowing one vendor the private area for their station if the need arises.
They plan to make the building a warm and inviting atmosphere with the hustle and bustle of other markets.
“I hope the place is seen as a family excursion. It’s like ‘hey, it’s Sunday, there’s nothing to do, let’s head to the Red Island Market for a family adventure,” said Guergis-Greencorn.
The pair also wants to establish a way to give back to Island communities.
“We’re not really sure how it will be set up just yet, but we want to be able to give back. I want to model to my kids what I believe, and giving back is one of those things people should do when they can,” said Guergis-Greencorn.