After two and a half years of very limited options for local groceries, Hillsborough will have a new grocery store opening in late May.
Owner Byron Gourley owns the shuttered Freshmart on Hillsborough’s Main Street along with his husband, Charles Leblanc.
He is currently working on getting the space ready for the grand opening of the Gateway Market, a store that will also host an in-store bakery and butcher shop.
With his entrepreneurial background as an economic development officer for the Metepenagiag First Nation, he saw an opportunity to fill a need in the community after moving to Hillsborough in late 2019.
He and his husband purchased the property in late 2021 and have rented some of the space to local businesses.
“That gave us more money to put into the grocery store so we could move forward,” he said on Thursday.
He said the community has been extremely supportive of his initiative.
“Everybody in this community is just so warm and welcoming,” said Gourley.
“It’s exactly what you would be looking for when you want to move to the country: a warm, heartfelt people who care to be your neighbours, people who want to see other people succeed and make an essential service come to life in a community that needed it.”
Hillsborough resident Dominic San Pogna is pleased to hear of a local grocery store opening up soon.
“The grocery store, the restaurants, the bakeries…. (Hillsborough) is up and coming!” he said on Thursday.
Though San Pogna moved to Hillsborough from Toronto a few short months ago, he said it already feels like home.
“We moved here early December so it’s a bad time to meet people, but since that time we’ve had people coming in unannounced to introduce themselves, just to say, ‘Welcome to Hillsborough. If you need anything, here’s my phone number.'”
Gourley is thrilled to see the community he loves growing and changing with the influx of residents moving in from elsewhere in Canada.
“I see a lot of that happening and I see a lot of new exciting businesses coming to rural Albert County, which is kinda neat.”