Margie McMillan and Nora Flynn of Granny Bates. Photo by Sydney Blackmore.

Turning a page

After twenty-three years of providing the children of St. John’s some of the finest tales at bedtime, the children’s bookstore Granny Bates is saying goodnight, and the store owners Margie McMillan and Nora Flynn are going on to other things.

“There’s sadness in terms of all of the people we’ve met over the years, the children and parents, and we’re now getting grandchildren of the customers that came in here,” says Margie. “I’m ready to move on. There are too many things that I want to do and I’d like to have a different involvement in my community.”

In 1986, Margie and Nora were two book lovers that were struck by the city’s lack of good reading material for kids.

“If you couldn’t find a copy of Goodnight Moon in St. John’s, you didn’t have to make up a business plan or do a lot of research to know that there was a need here.”

The pair set up shop at 2 Bates Hill and have been living happily ever after ever since. However Margie does have concerns for the future of the city’s independent bookstores.

“There’s one independent bookstore [for new books]—The Bookery, period.” says Margie. “It’s absolutely appalling that downtown St. John’s doesn’t have a library, and that we as a community have not been able to support an independent adult bookstore. I think people feel that they can buy it cheaper at Chapter’s.”

“I think people working in the community deserve to be supported.”

Granny Bates will be open until the end of September and is offering a sale on the store’s remaining books. Past patrons are welcome to drop in and say goodbye to the store they grew up with.

“If you have a really good children’s book, in 40 years you can give it to your grandchildren,” says Margie. “It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s food for the soul.”

Food planet

Your gateway to the world awaits at the corner of King’s Road and Duckworth Street.

After weeks of piquing the curiosity of passersby the Multi Ethnic Snacks & Eatery catering truck is now serving international breakfast, lunch and supper meals to its hungry public.

The eatery was cooked up by Zainab Jerrett, the proprietress responsible for the benne cake paddies and jerk chicken that sell out each week at the St John’s Farmers’ Market. “We cook from the truck,” Says Zainab. “As I see it, [Ethnic Snacks] compliments the city because it’s becoming more and more multi-cultural.”

Zainab, who is originally from Nigeria, learned the ins and outs of business in St. John’s via her first storefront, African Market Square in the Torbay Mall. She says Ethnic Snacks will allow her and other immigrant women to network and make a living by sharing their passion for cooking.

“There are so many people coming here from so many countries and for a lot of women, they [feel] invisible,” she says. “They are so excited that people like their food, and that they can make some income.”

“The ladies from the different countries prepare true, authentic, traditional dishes from all over the world,” says Zainab.

Some dishes to watch out for include Moroccan couscous, jollof rice, plantains, and curried vegetables.

For Ethnic Snacks catering and menu inquiries, contact Zainab at 726-7666 or e-mail at

Free cake alert
Manna Euopean Bakery & Deli, the bakery that in 2004 held the Guinness World Record for preparing the world’s largest hot cross bun (114 lbs!!?) is turning 25 and wants you to help them celebrate.

“We thought the occasion of our 25th year in business would be the perfect time to say thank you to our customers,” says Manna’s Jonathan Rusted.

On Saturday, September 19th the eatery at 342 Freshwater will be offering free food samples, tea, coffee, and prizes to fellow partiers from 7am to 7pm.

Manna’s new pastry chef Vanya Velinova—formerly of The Vault—will prepare a special birthday cake for the event, and Fergus O’Byrne and Jim Payne will be the afternoon’s entertainment.

For more information, call Manna at 739-6992.

Bug juice
A correction from last edition’s Bug Juice entry (Aug 27-Sept 9): “Bug Juice” refers the name of Neville Button’s earwig control company and not his patented earwig formula. The bait and traps is one service supplied by Button on a monthly basis, and aren’t sold separately.

Call him at 690-7385 if you have questions.

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