The games arcade area has pinball machines lined up against a wall and foosball games, making it look like the old Sports Centre in downtown Chemainus. (Photo submitted)

Finishing touches being applied to new downtown Chemainus Market

Official grand opening will be on March 28 as excitement builds

Like fine wine, some things take a little more time than expected.

The highly-anticipated grand opening of the Chemainus Public Market will now be on Saturday, March 28 instead of the end of February because there’s still lots of finishing touches to be done.

The Market, located in the former Chemainus Foods building on Willow Street across from Waterwheel Park, will include a fish and chips restaurant, 1950s-style ice cream parlour and diner and arcade. And, there will be dozens of vendors running booths, tables and other venues selling art, crafts, jewelry, baking, seafood, books, First Nations carvings and knitting, and much more.

“It is really beginning to take shape,” said Laurie Douglas, the general manager of the Chemainus Public Market. “I know people are going to love the look of the renovation and we’re looking forward to a great energy in the space.”

Most of the booths that are being created have been spoken for, she added, but there is still room for a few more.

“The vendors who have committed to spaces will be busy over the next month getting ready for the grand opening. We’re painting, putting in doors and windows, doing the necessary plumbing and it’s a huge undertaking, but it’s very exciting.”

A partnership with two entrepreneurs who are experts in the world of pinball machines and video games has created an arcade that will feature more than two dozen games.

“It’s a spectacular room and I know people can’t wait to play these games and just hang out with their friends,” Douglas says.

“We’ll be putting together packages for kids’ birthday parties or other youth group events. So, groups can come in and enjoy some fun food like chili, hot dogs or even fish and chips and then spend some time in the arcade.”

Chemainus Foods closed four years ago and Douglas says it’s a dream come true to be able to see the lights on in the building once again.

“It really hurt the downtown core and now with the beautiful new library open just next door, it’s really going to revive that corner of Chemainus.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of marketing and we’re expecting not just local folks but people from Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Duncan and Victoria to come up to see what’s going on at the Market. And while they’re here, they’re going to be visiting the downtown and Old Town stores and restaurants. It’s going to be great for the whole town.”

For more information about the Chemainus Public Market, call Laurie Douglas at 250-732-1549 or chemainuspublicmarket@gmail.com.

“We’re also in the process of hiring people to work in the restaurants and for other jobs at the Market,” Douglas adds.

“We’ll probably be needing up to 30 full- and part-time employees.”

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