Farm market moving into food-scarce Halifax neighbourhood
After setbacks, Noggins Corner store hopes to open this week near Dalhousie campus
December 6, 2021, 4:31 pm ASTLast Updated: December 7, 2021, 2:12 pm
A break-in is just the newest obstacle that has stalled the opening of a new grocery store near Dalhousie University.
Around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Andrew Bishop, the owner and operator of Noggins Corner Farm Market on Coburg Road, was notified that a window had been smashed at his unopened location.
The store had some frozen and non-perishable goods stocking the shelves. Frozen meat, including whole chickens, frozen blueberries, and two bags of flour were stolen.
As he relayed the story, Bishop was not in poor spirits. The theft was minor and the window will be repaired soon, but he laughed that something seemed to be working against him.
The runaround has been “really, really tough,” Bishop said.
The store has been ready to open for weeks, but they have been waiting on permits. The process has seen several delays, unexplained wait times, and unending back-and-forths between Bishop and the city.
The opening has been a long time coming. Bishop has been interested in this store for about a year. A permanent location on the peninsula will be something new for the farmers’ market staple.
In the residential neighbourhoods surrounding Dalhousie university, the grocery stores are few and far between. On the corner of Coburg Road and Seymour Street, the store will be a landmark in the middle of what is currently a food-scarce area.
The new Noggins store will service a need in the area, not only for groceries, but for fresh food from locally owned and operated businesses, Bishop said.
Beyond produce from their own farm in Greenwich, the location will also carry local goods made by other producers, like breads, dry goods and soap.
Nathan Atkin works at the Noggins Corner location at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. He’s also a student at Dalhousie.
“It’s well-positioned, especially with students in the area,” Atkin said.
The Dal students union farmers market is one of the few fresh produce options nearby, but its hours of operation are limited and it’s not well-known outside the university bubble. Atkin mentioned that the Noggins store will provide a wider variety of food, including meat and dairy, so it will serve a different purpose in many ways.
“It will not take the place of the farmers market as Seaport or the Forum market; those will still be very viable, very important places to sell our products,” Bishop said. His goal for the location is to bring more convenience to customers.
Richard Mueller and Murray Kirkpatrick live across the road from the new store in The Carlyle apartment building.
“Everybody we talked to in our building, they’re excited as well,” Kirkpatrick said. “We’re all waiting,” Mueller added.
Alyne Teixeira frequents the Noggins Corner stall at the Seaport farmers market. She’s a recent graduate from Dal, and lives near the new store.
“It’ll be very convenient for sure,” Teixeira said. “I think about it, not just for my health, but for the planet’s health as well. You benefit yourself, but you also benefit society. So I think the price is worth it.”
Bishop echoes that sentiment.
“We all have to think about our future and our community and buying local. It’s not always the cheapest way, but it is a value system in our society that we have to be thinking about and supporting our own communities by creating employment in those communities,” Bishop said.
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