Featurepreneur: To Market, To Market
By Genevieve Allen Hearn
In 2014 a young Tiago Voss, back from a stint in Germany, purchased The Market from Rick and Michelle Daniels, who ran the ubiquitous downtown business in Wolfville for 43 years. Tiago maintained the spirit of the shop, while putting his own stamp on it, still catering to an Acadia University crowd, but offering something for all demographics – from vintage vinyl to stylish luggage. Now, six years later, Tiago is moving the store to a larger space (previously occupied by The Box of Delights Bookshop). Having been in the same location for over 50 years, this move feels monumental. We caught up with Tiago to ask him about what it was like transitioning ownership of an established business, and what’s in store for the new location.
The Grapevine (GV): The Market has a long legacy. What was it like taking over a long-standing business?
Tiago Voss (TV): It can be both a benefit and a detriment taking over a business, especially one that was a staple in the community for as long as The Market was prior to my ownership. I think it helped that I maintained many aspects that Rick and Michelle had in place when it came to transitioning our customers. One of the characteristics of the shop that I felt worked in my favour was the laid back atmosphere. This allowed me to put my own spin on things right off the bat and still have the regulars unfazed, and usually, excited when they came back for their next visit. Obviously, you’re not going to please everyone 100% and we experienced that, and still do to this day, with the old school folks who feel I’ve “modernized” The Market, as if that is a negative. However, I see this as a challenge. We want to take this longstanding staple in the community and continue to grow it in a sustainable way so that we can stick around for another 50 years!
GV: Wolfville has a great retail scene. Do you find that the retail community helps each other out?
TV: As I always say, most visitors aren’t typically coming here for one stop, they are coming to make a trip or weekend out of it, so the more, the merrier! Initiatives like the town’s Night of Lights and big promotional weekends bring the town together to draw people here who realize we really have something for everyone and they can treat us like a “one stop shop!”
GV: As fashions quickly change, what do retailers need to do to stay relevant?
TV: My girlfriend and I both enjoy learning what’s happening, but tend to have more mild tastes, which we bring in through the store. I think focusing on core items that don’t tend to go in and out of style quickly has worked well for us, as we fully recognize fast fashion has a very big impact on the environment. We try to focus on as many Canadian-, or at least North American-made brands as possible to help to ensure sustainability is a focus for the lines we are promoting.
GV: What do you have planned for the relocation of your store? Anything new that folks can expect?
TV: Lots of new brands! We were so sad when Box of Delights Bookshop and Inquisitive Toys & Baby closed, and we feel there is a gap in those kinds of products for our community, so you can expect to see more kid and baby products, books, more clothing (think Levi’s), perhaps some more dog items (high quality collars/leashes/toys/beds), and generally expanding our offerings of everything, including our house brand, Northern Lattitude.
GV: Any advice for other young entrepreneurs in the Valley?
TV: Listen to your gut! I am not saying don’t ask for guidance or do your research, however, everyone has an opinion about something and it can be easy to become discouraged or scared. The Valley in particular is known for being hard to penetrate and a little hesitant of change. Just be persistent and don’t underestimate the power of community. Be inclusive and supportive and as long as you stand behind what you’re doing or selling, that will speak volumes to the people in our area.
The Market will be open in its current location on 456 Main Street in Wolfville until April. Then, don’t miss the grand opening of the new location in the spring!
For more information, visit themarketwolfville.ca.