Co-operative venture would follow Penetanguishene example

Midland Mirror

PORT MCNICOLL – A Penetanguishene businesswoman wants to bring a food store to Port McNicoll.

Karma Marketplace owner Erin Chapelle has been bouncing the idea off Tay Township officials for the last few years as a way to “help fight against the food insecurity issue” due to the lack of a grocery store in the village.

“People living there have a barrier to food access, no matter their living situation, (and) we feel Karma would be a good fit,” she said. “We have a model here. It’s not perfect, but it’s functioning and definitely reinventing what a typical grocery-store model looks like.”

Chapelle said she is excited about the idea of taking what they’ve grown in Penetanguishene and “plunking it into the middle of Port and seeing how the community feels.”

A community engagement session July 15 drew about 14 people to discuss the initiative, including Mayor Scott Warnock, who said the township supports the initiative.

“(Karma) runs the very successful farmers’ market in Victoria Harbour on Friday evenings, and the response from the community has been very positive,” he said. “The proposed co-op model would not only benefit the residents of Tay Township, but also the agricultural community.”

A second community engagement session is scheduled for Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. at the library in Port McNicoll.

“We’d love our farmers to come. We want people who would be supplying us in the conversation from the get-go,” Chapelle said. “We believe Port needs a storefront. I think it’s important there’s bricks and mortar that stay put in the town.”

The intention, she added, is to open the store sometime between October 2013 and February 2014.

“We are ready to rock. It’s just a matter of raising a bit of money to get in there and do that.”

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New food store envisioned for Port McNicoll