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New vendors set up shop inside Saint John City Market


Two vendors are still settling into their new digs at the Saint John City Market.

On the market’s south side there is the Charlotte Street Bakery, which opened its doors last week. The shop features a wide range of baked goods, and even offers pizza during the lunchtime hours.

On the north side is Jo’s Samosas and Sweets, which supplies another dining option during the lunch rush.

Owners Orastagul Mirsolieva and Jumaboy Marakhimov admit they are still learning the ropes, having only been in operation for two weeks. They say they offer a healthier twist on the popular food as their samosas are baked as opposed to deep fried.

The couple also offers some unique dessert options for customers, including pavlovas and cream horns.

“When I first moved to Saint John six years ago, I came by this city market and did some shopping,” recalls Marakhimov. “It was a bit more lively then, but I think it is coming back again and we are excited to be a part of it.”

He says his fellow market vendors have been a big help in learning how operations go inside the historic site, and looks forward to expanding his menu in the weeks ahead as they continue to settle in.

Jo’s Samosas and Sweets at the Saint John City Market. (Avery MacRae/CTV Atlantic)For the venue’s current vendors, seeing some new faces come in after years of people leaving is a welcome sight.

“It’s the best news since, well, for quite a while, yes, so very exciting,” says Linda Cooke, who advises the public to come and check out the new spots for themselves. “I’ve enjoyed everything from the (Charlotte Street Bakery’s) beautiful chocolate croissant and fresh pies that they have, and I have enjoyed Jo’s wonderful curry samosas.”

The new vendors are the first sign of the city’s 10-year strategic plan for the market taking shape, and Jill Laskey of the Blue Pelican Bath and Body is excited for more to come.

“We are really looking forward to some of the changes coming with this strategic plan,” Laskey says. “So optimism is always the key when you are in business for yourself and I think we are cautiously optimistic at this stage.”

Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon says the new vendors have generated lots of excitement around the uptown. She says the scent of fresh baking and the ability to pick up good baked goods in the uptown had been missing, and Jo’s Samosas is the perfect grab and go lunch food for students and workers.

She is happy to see the first steps of the market’s strategic plan taking shape, and notes a new vendor could also soon set up shop inside the market space.

The strategic plan has 65 different actions as part of its plan, including the removal of the centre aisle to make the market more of a gathering space.

The Saint John City Market is pictured. (Avery MacRae/CTV Atlantic)“It’s our one chance to really take the market and rebrand and reinvent it,” Reardon says. “We put the money into it as far as the plan goes and now we need to trigger that plan.”

Monday night at the city’s common council meeting, the city’s growth committee will recommend council spend $200,000 out of the growth committee’s budget to speed up the process by hiring a project manager for the next three years.

“To get someone in there and then that would leave your staff with still the operations of getting your leases organized and we want to start with the core hours,” point out the mayor, with the core hours referring to set time vendors must be open for each day. “You really need a project manager if you want to really get the lift off of that strategic plan.”

There is no overall price tag for the work under the city market’s strategic guide, or timeline for when any stage of work will be started or completed. The market is set to celebrate its 150th birthday in 2026.

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