Moose Cruise

Dana Cooper is hungry for local business news.

Hello my honeys! How’s the summer treating you? And don’t ask ‘what summer’, I saw you out and about in your shorts last week. Doesn’t everyone look so different now? I was drinking beer on a public patio just last week, and thinking how exciting is was to see people not just without their coats, but in sandals, and t-shirts, and summer dresses! Suddenly, there’s a point to buying nice clothes, and I don’t just mean so we can show up all those people who come off the cruise boats in their foul-weather gear…

Since 1985, the ch-ching factor from the cruise industry has been growing. According to St. John’s City Council’s Cruise Ship Committee, the 2006 economic impact was $2,409,000, and the estimate for 2007 is $2,142,000. That’s a fair sized chunk of change, but wait until next year. There are already 22 cruise visits booked, and a conservative estimate puts the economic impact at $3,572,000.

From the minutes: “It is anticipated, however, that the numbers will significantly increase for that year, if the early booking trend is any indication.”

Woohoo! Thars gold in them thar pine-clad hills!

Who among you staunch and stalwart Scopefans remembers Bacon Tour ‘06 — when Diana Daly and I went in search of local bacon, combing the city from Windsor Lake to Ward 3, but found nothing but pork riblets?

Well, I’m still keeping a sow’s ear to the purse, if you know what I mean, and recent reconnaissance missions have uncovered some exciting butchery-related info.

Been to Bidgood’s lately? No? Well, get going. It’s a mecca of moose burgers, caribou steak, game sausage, and oh my goodness, don’t even get me started on the pot pies. There’s moose, seal, rabbit… If it’s sunny, you’re sorted for game meat on the BBQ. If it’s raining, you’re covered with a pie in the oven.

Loves it.

I do love the takeaway places around my house, but it was time to branch out.

This past Tuesday, I ventured over to Toya International Market and Specialty Store, on the corner of Cookstown and Lemarchant Roads. Their sign said “Island Jerk Flavas” and as I skeeted in the door just before they closed, I was certainly ready to experience the taste of the islands, preferably in the form of takeout-rice-and-stuff, ASAP. Standing at the cash register, starving, and dying to start eating right out of the bag (but far too polite to do so) I chatted with Mercy Oyet, the owner and operator.

Mercy started out in March of 2006 with a home-based business, focusing on the African community, and the success of her booth at the annual Multicultural Women’s Association fair and a steady customer demand for food and foodstuffs led Mercy to move to a commercial location, which is where we find her now. The Lemarchant Road store is doing well so far, on the grocery side especially. Toya Market carries a variety of hard- (or otherwise impossible) -to-find African, Indian, Middle Eastern and Latin American groceries. Their takeaway and delivery foods are one of the lesser-known dinner options in the downtown area, and are certainly worth a go (says my stomach, full of jollof rice and jerk chicken twenty minutes later.)

“Try a bit of something new and different,” says Mercy, “give it a shot and see.”

That’s it for me this fortnight and the next, I’ll be away until the following issue. Take care of my city while I’m gone, and try not to burn down any more pizza joints, okay?

Dana Cooper, Girl Friday
Send yur business news our way at