NORTH BEDEQUE – Vehicles travelling through North Bedeque were either slowing down or pulling into the parking lot of George’s Island Market to see for themselves the unique lineup of local vendors, recently.
The market housed in the former Bargain Fabric Outlet, which opened its doors to the public on the last weekend of July, is already creating quite a buzz for its vendors, which ranged from an old bus converted into a rolling restaurant to a fortune-teller in her caravan, according to the co-owners Ashely Guergis and her father Edward.
“We are really happy with the turnout because we haven’t done any advertising yet, except a post on social media. But people have been driving by and stopping to see what the buzz is about, and the vendors are pleased as business has been steady all day,” remarked Ashley.
Edward added, “It’s a beautiful building with a farm look and there’s a lot of traffic that runs past here, so it’s an ideal location and we will be open year round on both Saturday and Sundays.”
The market is named after Edward’s grandfather and Ashley’s great-grandfather, George’s Guergis.
“My grandfather’s first job was in the produce department in Holman’s basement, where the current market is in Summerside. He then expanded and went out on his own to open up a grocery store. George was a very successful and hardworking man, so we named the market after him,” noted Edward.
The family owns two acres of land, where they plan to make the market a tourist attraction and host car and motorcycle shows, as well as a Friday night fish fry next summer in July and August.
“All the grandkids called my dad ‘Bubba,’ so we will call the fish fry after him as a legacy. We will have scallops, oysters, clams, and so on,” said Edward. “But the main goal is the make sure all vendors do well and are supported,” he stressed.
Among the usual vendors selling fresh, local farm produce, gluten-free delicious cakes, and knitted wintery items, is a booth specially designated for charities, and perched in the parking lot is a palm-reading fortune-teller in her caravan called Tea House Gypsy Carnival and a travelling food bus.
‘High on the Hog Smokin’ BBQ’ is a family-owned business that specialises in smoked meats including pulled pork dinners, ribs, barbecue breakfast sandwiches, brisket, baked beans and corn bread, chilli fries, chicken fajitas, to name but a few items listed on the menu.
“It’s taken a year and a half to get the idea rolling into a business with a built-in smoker,” said Gail Tuplin, one of the cooks.
“The boys purchased the bus in Quebec and got it home to P.E.I. Our family then renovated the whole bus, pulled out the entire interior except for two seats, added a table, custom restaurant equipment including a built-in smoker, and then spray painted the bus with our logo and design,” she continued.
Tuplin and a second cook Mitchell Arsenault, juggle the travelling food bus on the weekends, while they maintain their full-time careers as registered nurses.
“We’re all very busy!” laughed Leann Handrahan, while acknowledging they are available for weddings and other special backyard functions.
The official grand opening for the market will be held on Saturday, Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will include live music, free hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as door prizes.
George’s Island Market is open Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays from noon until 4 p.m., year-round. For more information or vendor registration questions, contact Ashley at email@example.com.