The Oshawa Markets to help revamp area: Mayor Dan Carter

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A bustling marketplace that was in business for nearly five decades in Pickering is officially relocating to Oshawa.

Formerly The Pickering Markets, The Oshawa Markets will open at 555 Simcoe St. S. in Oshawa on Oct. 1.

“The location is amazing,” said general manager Erik Tamm. “We couldn't have asked for a better location. We’ve got a great landlord that’s working with us. Everything is finally coming together.”

The market will feature more than 300 vendors and more than 25 food vendors and has plans to offer more features — such as a possible farmers' market — in the future.

The announcement comes seven months after The Pickering Markets announced it was closing its doors after 47 years in Pickering.

“We wish them a great deal of success,” said Mark Guinto, the City of Pickering’s manager of business development and public affairs. “We tried to come up with some solutions for them to stay here, but they made a business decision and we wish them a lot of success.”

It wasn’t hard to choose Oshawa, Tamm said. In Pickering, the market was paying $1,000 per operating day in licensing fees before it got a break in 2020.

“There is no fee here,” Tamm said.

He said paying the fee in Pickering “was absolutely ridiculous.”

Pickering did reduce that fee to $100 per operating day when Tamm asked for relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since taxes are paid by landlords and not tenants, the city will not lose out on property taxes, but it will miss out on the licensing fees.

The Oshawa Markets, like its predecessor, aims to give small businesses a home and help entrepreneurs start out with minimal costs.

“I think probably about 30 per cent of our old vendors all had a second location or ended up opening a storefront somewhere,” Tamm said. “We like to call ourselves an incubator for small business and it truly does lead to that because we find so many business that start with us end up growing to something so much bigger.”

Stephanie Sinnott, Oshawa’s commissioner of finance services, calls the move an “economic development opportunity for the area and the rest of the mall that’s been sitting there vacant for quite some time, and there’s been questionable plans for its future, so I think the market itself will serve as an anchor tenant and attract additional business for the area.”

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter called it welcome news.

“Any time we can welcome especially small business and family-run business into the community, we’re excited about it,” he said.

He noted plans for a new GO station at the former Knob Hill Farms land on First Avenue in central Oshawa are awaiting treasury approval, and there are many others interested in investing in the area.

“I think this is the first step in many steps in regards to the revitalization of the area,” Carter said.