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A taste of Europe

A dozen small businesses joining Pineridge Hollow to create The Village

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Your next European experience might come just outside Winnipeg’s borders.

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Your next European experience might come just outside Winnipeg’s borders.

At least, that’s Jan Regehr’s hope.

European flea markets were top of mind for Regehr when she planned The Village, her new business venture near Oakbank.

The brick-clad strip of buildings near Pineridge Hollow (Regehr’s restaurant and event hub) will host eateries, retailers and a grocery store filled with local products.

A sheltered farmers market holds fort in the back. Five kilometres worth of trails wind through trees on the property.

European flea markets were top of mind for Jan Regehr when she planned The Village, her new business venture in Oakbank. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

“We’re really focusing on experience,” Regehr said, adding she wants The Village to bring “simple outings that really, really actually nurture us”.

She envisions someone visiting the farmers market before taking a yoga class in the forest — there will be a studio for such activities — or grabbing a beer at a restaurant, then heading outside to listen to a band playing.

“Just seeing that sort of experience happening is what I’m most excited about,” Regehr said.

It’s been a long time coming, she added.

Regehr began Pineridge Hollow 30 years ago. Pre-pandemic, the popular event venue would host 40 to 60 weddings annually. People ate at the restaurant more than 107,000 times in 2019, according to Regehr’s data.

Pineridge Hollow sat on six acres of land near Birds Hill Provincial Park. Regehr dreamed of a concept like The Village for over a decade, but she didn’t have enough space.

She said former Rural Municipality of Springfield councils were unwilling to allow her more land. But, current politicians granted her wish last November: she bought 12 acres and is leasing another 25 from the municipality.

A total of 12 companies are taking space in the new market strip. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

The total investment in The Village, so far, is roughly $5 million, Regehr said.

It wasn’t an open casting call, getting businesses to join the new venture, Regehr said.

“They’re really carrying that message of Pineridge Hollow, which is really that heart of hospitality,” she said. “It’s different when you’re leasing… We’re new at this, we’re just figuring it out, but we know we’ve found some really great partners.”

She contacted groups she believed fit Pineridge Hollow’s values. Ultimately, 12 companies are taking space in the new market strip.

Empty Cup Collective will open shop, as will Nuburger and Hildegard’s Bakery. There will be an antique store, a plant retailer. Teekca’s Boutique, which sells Indigenous goods, will open its fourth location.

“It’s quite exciting,” said Marilyn Tanner-Spence, Teekca’s Boutique’s owner. “It’ll be a different target audience, so that makes it a little more challenging.”

The partnership came accidentally. Tanner-Spence ate lunch at Pineridge Hollow and began chatting with Regehr, who was working. Teekca’s Boutique came up, the two exchanged information, and soon, Tanner-Spence had an offer to join The Village.

“We have such a rich culture of Aboriginal history, and opening there will actually let people see that we can… own businesses and run businesses, and then show some of our culture,” Tanner-Spence said.

She returned to Pineridge Hollow several times before saying yes to the 1,200-square-foot space. She wanted to learn the demographics. The customers are largely young, sophisticated and active, Tanner-Spence said.

Hildegard’s Bakery joined “fairly early” in the project, according to co-owner Dave Newsom. The bakery supplies Pineridge Hollow.

“We want to be able to connect people to where their food comes from,” Newsom said, adding some bakery ingredients are grown near The Village.

Hildegard’s will have a space connected to The Farmer’s Kitchen, The Village’s grocery store.

“We’re… much more excited about this than a random standalone location in a strip mall or something, which really isn’t us,” Newsom said.

He called The Village “tangibly local.”

Katrina Klassen, vice president of Pineridge Hollow (left) and Jan Regehr. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

The Farmer’s Kitchen will offer Manitoba-made products, according to Regehr, who owns the grocery. Her farm — which has orchards, vegetables and pork, among other things — will be a supplier, as will other farmers. Some possibilities include Oakbank-based Wild Earth Farms (who sells beets and potatoes to Pineridge Hollow) and Steinbach-based Nature’s Farm.

“We do hope to get more small farmers on board,” Regehr said.

Regehr also owns The Village Square, a place for beer and food, and the studio workshop. Cooking, canning and writing will be among the classes offered, Regehr said.

“(The Village is) going to create more jobs, help create a more thriving economy in Springfield, and we always want to see that, having employment opportunities in the RM,” said Mayor Tiffany Fell.

Pineridge Hollow held a job fair last May. It hired roughly 20 people for its restaurant and The Village. Others in The Village, including Hildegard’s Bakery, also collected resumés.

An official launch will happen next Friday.

This phase is just the beginning, Regehr said,

Guests can book forest rooms and tents for celebrations. Chefs will be available to cook meals over outdoor fires.

Regehr envisions a skating trail. In a few years, she’d like to erect an inn and spa.

“You can really feel like you’re at an escape,” she said.

The Village was originally planned to open in spring, but construction delayed the process.

gabrielle.piche@winnipegfreepress.com

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Reporter

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.

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