He hopes to have a bakery in place at the market, with breads, donuts, rolls and sandwiches to start. The decision came after business cooled down in the winter months.
“We’ve been here for a year and we noticed that there was a marked slowdown after January 1st,” Vachon said. ”We were trying to figure out what we can do to keep things going year round.”
After his wife, Bern, who works at the market, took some business courses through NOBL and spoke with the owner of the Crossroads Country Market in Thorburn, the idea for a bakery stuck.
“We drew up a business plan and obtained credit, and now we’ve got about a two- to three-week window before the kitchen supplies and display cases,” he said.
The building housed the former Scotsburn Co-op store, which closed in May 2012. Since then, he’s been working hard to add to the store’s selection, including an ice cream parlour with 25 flavours, hunting clothing and gear and jewelry, soap and creations by local artisans.
His rustic chairs, made in New Brunswick, would make any country dweller feel at home.
“We’re starting to be a place to gather and buy things in the community,” he said. “Once in a while we still get people come in who thought the place had closed, so that’s one of our challenges.”
Currently, the market sells Ben’s breads and an assortment of items from Gennoe’s Bakery in Stellarton. Vachon noted that the partnership with the latter may still be in place once his bakery is up and running.
“We know some people come in just for the Gennoe’s items, so we understand that. But we’ve been polling people and people like the idea of fresh-baked goods made right here in the store.”
Vachon already has a menu in mind once the operation is up and running. There will be five different kinds of breads, including white, brown, Italian, French and whole grain.
“Since I’m from Montreal, I think it’s only right we have some baguettes too,” he said. “We’ll have rolls, muffins and donuts too.”
With the Scotsburn sawmill operating, he noted that a lot of truckers stop by and come into the store. That’s why he wants to include soups and sandwiches in the bakery.
“We heard from some people who stop in about how this place used to have a kitchen and served food. We want to bring that back.”
After the former kitchen ceased operating, some of the fittings were removed along with the bar stools. Vachon said he’s tracked them down and that they’ll return to their rightful place at the market.
He noted that there are other plans in the works, such as a garden centre, attached to the store. Still others are in development.
“We’ve been learning quite a few things from people who come in and we want to continue to make this place a destination. It’s a place you can stop for more than one thing.”
Of top priority to Vachon is the hiring of local workers. He estimates that three new employees will be taken on when the bakery opens. Currently, Jeremy, a client at Summer Street Industries, has been working at the market for 28 weeks.
“It’s a family effort too, with my wife and kids making it all possible.”
The bottom line, with the addition of the bakery, is Vachon’s desire to make the Scotsburn Country Market a community destination.
“We like the rustic and rugged feel,” he said. “There’s nothing better than having farmers stop by for a coffee here in between mowing hay.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn