Local entrepreneur Chris Trail is proud of his new business, The Cork & Barrel

The Cork & Barrel

One of a number of new openings in Bloomfield

Way Up West | by Jan Cox

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I recently visited a new homebrew shop, a new bar and grill, a wholistic, fitness, yoga and health studio and revisited a newly renovated Asian shop. Where was I you ask? Bloomfield—up west! And yes, things are booming.

Owner of The Cork & Barrel Homebrew Shop, Chris Trail, had been working out west. “We got tired of the ‘out west’ life. I should say, the ‘not having a life’ lifestyle,” he told me. “Since I was a teenager, I wanted to own my own business.” He was drinking some craft beer out west and had made up wine kits. But it’s an expensive endeavour. Chris went on to say, “I started my own little brewery at home, and really liked experimenting and the production side of things.”

There was no shop around the West Prince area when they returned to the Island. The closest one was Summerside. Chris did his research, exploring different options. It led him to Bloomfield. “I see Bloomfield as a bit of a hub now. We’re just off the highway, so this location brings together the three communities of Alberton, O’Leary and Tignish, he said. “There’s excellent traffic and with new businesses popping up and the grocery store here, the support has been excellent.”

Chris has only good things to say about the owner of the Bloomfield Mall, Blair Horne. “He has been excellent to work with, so supportive and helpful.” Chris is proud of his shop and knows his decision to locate in Bloomfield was the right one for his new store.

Another new tenant in the Mall is Mike Perry. Mike has opened several restaurants in the Summerside area. In the spring he took over and extensively renovated a large eatery and bar, now called, Uncle Mikes Upwest. Mike said, “I saw a need in the area for our type of restaurant. It’s a close knit community, and growing all the time.” The family owned restaurant features daily specials, a great kitchen and live weekend entertainment. Mike also sang the praises of Mall owner, Blair Horne—Mr. Horne is Bloomfield’s “Good Will Ambassador.”

Just across the highway from the Bloomfield Mall sits the newly expanded Sari Sari store, (The everything Asian store). Once operating from her home, owner Ruby Lubigan has built a separate shop on her property. “So far the store is doing very well. I am so thankful for the support of the community around the west prince area, the Canadians and immigrants around here. I have more (stock) now compared to where I was before. I have a few Mexican products now, as you know, there are a few Mexican workers and a few Indians working in the seafood industry here,” Ruby told me.

Starlene Harris, BScN RN, RMT, CYT, first opened her business from her home in O’Leary. “I knew eventually I wanted to make my way to the Bloomfield location. Bloomfield is central, it is the halfway point between North Cape and Summerside. My clientele are from all over Prince County,” she said. As Wholistic, Fitness and Health, (Massage Therapy & Yoga) expanded, Starlene explained, “I found myself needing a lot of square footage with good parking. We will be expanding again in January, offering more services and needing more space. This location allows for that expansion. Support from my existing clients has been fantastic!”

It seems Bloomfield is on the map!

Jan CoxWay Up West
Jan Cox

My partner and I moved to the island from Ottawa in August 2003. We quickly became avid fans of "The Buzz". I would search out the monthly read at the liquor stores of West Prince! I retired in June 2015 and found myself one afternoon, on a weekday no less, outside The Buzz office in Charlottetown. I met Peter and the gang and after singing the praises of the publication, suggested they needed a voice from West of Summerside. Me and my big mouth - three years later I am still writing "Way Up West" every month and it has been a joy. It's a win win - I get to work with a wonderful group of people at The Buzz and I am thrilled to be meeting folks from up west and area.