Some inside work has begun on the former Chemainus Foods building, particularly with electrical. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Things falling into place at Chemainus Public Market

Renovation work has begun, with the hope of opening before Christmas

Don’t let the ‘For Lease’ sign on the old Chemainus Foods building fool you.

Chemainus Public Market has taken over the building and renovation work is underway inside.

“The realtor is promising to take the sign down early next week,” laughs Laurie Douglas, manager of the Chemainus Public Market.

“I know some people have been wondering about that but it’s just a matter of the realtor getting their sign guy to come up from Victoria.”

Meanwhile, Douglas says the landlord will be doing some major work on the HVAC this month, installing a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.

“That’s the next important step and after that’s done we can really get to work on our leasehold improvements.”

Among the first projects will be to outfit a fish and chips restaurant that will be called Captain Andy’s Fish & Chips, Douglas says.

“It seems people are really hungry for a fish and chips outlet and we’re going to make sure we satisfy that appetite for good, old-fashioned fish and chips.”

On that note, Douglas says the design will be a nautical theme, of course, so she’s looking for items that might be included in the design.

“Maybe you’ve got some portholes, or a wheel or even an anchor — not too big — that you’d like to sell. This is a seaside community, after all.”

Other major work will include the creation of stalls, booths and larger units for permanent and temporary vendors.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from people wanting to set up a business in the Chemainus Public Market,” Douglas says.

The sky’s the limit in terms of what types of businesses could be part of the market that will occupy almost 12,000 sq. ft. of space.

“You name it, we can probably find a place for you,” says Douglas, adding the market is hoping to open before Christmas.

“Here are some of the ideas we’ve heard: chocolate shop, barber shop, masseuse, bookstore, painters, carvers, baked goods, produce…the list is long and getting longer every day it seems.

“If you’d like to get on the list, I’d like to talk to you and explain more about the concept and what the actual costs will be,” she says.

“People really seem to want to see local craftspeople, artists and writers represented in the market. I could see a space where local writers — we seem to have a large number of authors who have published books — get together and rent some space, for example.”

Douglas says the floor plan is being designed and although there will be permanent businesses such as the fish and chips restaurant, there’s lots of flexibility and with the large amount of space that is available, the Market is able to build space to suit tenants.

“We’ve just confirmed that we’re going to have an arcade in a portion of the building,” Douglas says. “It will include a pool table, pinball machines and video games.

“We’d really like to have a cool space where kids — and adults, for that matter — can go to unwind and have a little fun.”

If you would like to learn more about the Chemainus Public Market, Douglas can be reached by email at chemainuspublicmarket@gmail.com.

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There is much work to be done to transform the inside of the former Chemainus Foods building into a vibrant market, but the initial reconfiguration has begun. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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