ALMA, N.S. – After months of planning and construction, the WhistleBerry Market & Eatery will open on Feb. 15.
Located on Pleasant Valley Road in Salt Springs, just off exit 20 of the Trans-Canada Highway, work on the facility began last spring.
Owner Peter Zehr, his wife and son moved to Pictou County almost two years ago from southern Ontario, where he had already been working in the industry.
“It’s a basic selection of groceries, some bulk food, baking supplies, bulk candies,” he said, when asked what he has to offer customers.
“We’re doing our own meats here – our own sausage, bacon, pork chops.”
The 8,800 square-foot facility has among other things, grocery shelves, a deli, a grill and sit-down area for diners, and an offering of various items from Durham-based Dalhousie Maple Products. On the day before Whistleberry Market & Eatery opened, a small construction crew was doing some last-minute work on the outside of the structure, while inside the building, employees were stocking shelves, putting price tags on the items, putting sausage through the smokehouse, making sure everything would be ready to go when the doors opened on Friday morning.
The tourist traffic that will drive through Pictou County in the summer months could be a boon to this type of business, but Zehr insists that the primary target is the people who live in Pictou County.
“We want to be here for the locals, we want to meet the needs of the people here,” he said. “We’ll have meats and a nice deli where they can get cold cuts, or perhaps fresh cheese sliced for them. As we go on, we want to develop a relationship with local (food and preserves producers),” he added.
For now, he plans to be open from Monday through Saturday (8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.), but that could change depending on the response he gets form consumers. At the moment, eight he’s working with eight employees at the business.
“We plan on just being an ordinary store for ordinary people.”