Revitalizing St. Jacobs

A year has passed since a fire devastated the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, but the businesses are bouncing back

Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

Ever since a fire destroyed the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market on Sept. 2, 2013 there have been countless efforts to revitalize the market.

The first step taken to ease the process was the construction of a temporary building that opened on Dec. 14, 2013.

This temporary building took the form of a tent that was bright and airy for customers.

According to Marcus Shantz, president of Mercedes Corp., the company that owns St. Jacobs market building, “the vendors for the most part are very happy with the season they have had so far.”

The winter season was very difficult for businesses because of the harsh weather conditions, however spring and summer has allowed many of the vendors to flourish.

For the most part, the vendors have recuperated to their previous financial state prior to the fire.

The reconstruction of the market has been planned to make it similar to the previous one.

“It is kind of intended to pay tribute to some of the agricultural architecture that has been in Waterloo Region for a long time. It looks like a big barn,” explained Shantz.

Currently, the foundation is in the ground in preparation for the new building to be constructed, with the framing to be built within the next month or so.

According to Shantz, most of this space is allotted to current vendors of the market, however some of these vendors have reportedly been expanding in terms of product quantity and operational services.

This year there were two new winery vendors that sold products at the market, which is a direct result of the province’s change in legislation that allows for wine sale at farmers’ markets.

According to Shantz, the change is a pilot program, and if the government approves of this program the wineries may be a permanent addition to the market.

Shantz is still unaware of the cause of the fire. The only knowledge he has is that the fire began in the left corner of the building.

He confirmed that customers of the market can expect the new building to open in May 2015, however he is hoping the winter weather conditions will be better this year to speed up the construction process.

“The thing that makes the market go is this community, the people that support it. We always knew that, but we really experienced that in a new way this past year,” Shantz said.

    Leave a Reply