Owners of Niagara Grocery store in James Bay hope to set up an online fundraising campaign to help raise enough money to put a down payment on the property to keep the beloved business running.
Late last week, owners of the grocery store were notified their landlord had listed the building and the property next door for sale. The landlord is hoping to sell the two properties together for an estimated $1.3 million.
“When I got here on Saturday morning the signs were already up,” said Jennifer McKimmie, who opened the business with her husband Ken Winchester just over six years ago, transforming it from a convenience store to a much-loved neighbourhood market.
With the properties up for sale, McKimmie said new landowners could evict them if they wanted to.
“We’re trying to stay positive,” she said.
Since the announcement, the community has rallied behind the business.
Susannah Adams lives around the corner from the store and has been coming in almost every day since it opened.
“It’s a community hub, whenever I come in here, I can never just pop in for a quick pint of milk, it’s like bumping into everybody and having really nice chats with people. You get the sense that you’re a part of a community,” said Adams as she played with her two children at the table in the store.
“It won’t [close down]. I think there’s people with enough strength of intention and vision that this place is going to remain. I can’t envision the alternative because it would crush the community.”
Many people have suggested the owners set up a crowd-sourced funding campaign to help raise money for a down payment on the properties — a task McKimmie said she hopes to have in place soon.
“I’m trying to find the method that is going to work best for the community and perhaps it could be crowd funding as well as investment, so people can give what they feel like they can afford, but if someone is looking to invest, it gives them an avenue to do that,” said McKimmie, adding there have been a few people who have expressed interest in investing.
“We’re all here day in and day out and you’re support for people and people are support for you. People come in and they’ve had a bad day and they’ll unload and we work through it. Then something like this happens and everybody is here and they’re supporting us. It’s a true building of community in every sense of the word.”