Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Record Staff
CORNWALL – The nature of retail is changing and what worked only a few years ago does not always work today. With local food movements and clean eating ideals sweeping across Ontario communities, retail spaces need to keep up. That is why a new initiative is being developed through the Cornwall Square.

Retail Manager Karen Burns is currently looking to gauge the interest from local producers for a year-round local product market on the lower level of the Cornwall Square. Local products could include produce, meat, baked good, arts and crafts. “This is a new avenue for the shopping centre to take but I think it could work very well being in the downtown core,” said Burns.

She has spoken to parties that make their own candles, are local food producers, create woodworking and even jewellery creators. “We know we need a good balance of food products and other items to make it work,” said Burns.

In order to get the project underway, Burns is looking for a minimum of 10 interested vendors who can make the year-round commitment. “We understand in every geological area you have to work with what the market will bear. Since these vendors own and operate their businesses they can’t commit to a traditional retail environment,” Burns explained. That is why they are aiming to get vendors who can make a one- to two-day commitment.

They are also aiming to make it as accessible to vendors as possible, keeping the cost to participate low. “They need to be able to make money [at the market], that’s the bottom line,” said Burns.

Burns and her team are still developing the idea and will keep doing their homework as the progress continues. Their main objective is to keep it as local as possible. Vendors from the SDG counties are encouraged to get in touch if they are interested. “We want to showcase local products as best we can,” said Burns. Vendors will even be assessed to make sure the products are local and not retail items re-sold for profit.

As of now the project is still in beginning stages. Burns needs to know the feasibility before moving forward. “There’s no point designing and building a great space if it doesn’t work for the vendors,” she explained.

Vendors who wish to contact Burns about the project can email karen.burns@partnersreit.com or call 613-938-2118.