Market shines local light on Avenue

Red Barn Market opens on Oak Bay Avenue to an appreciative audience

Scott Travers

Scott Travers

Local garlic was on the menu for Red Barn Market’s opening day on the Avenue, and that’s just a taste of what’s in store for shoppers.

Despite opening a day early with little publicity, the aisles were packed with shoppers getting a first look – and taste – of the locally grown store.

“We’ve incorporated an upscale specialty store with the old Red Barn theme,” says Russ Benwell, one of the Red Barn owners, pointing to the vaulted ceilings, wide aisles and heritage photos.“The feedback on the store has been fantastic.”

At a little more than 6,000 square feet, the fifth store in the Red Barn Market family offers everything shoppers have come to count on, including an exceptional produce section and signature items from the markets’ smokehouse.

There’s the ever-popular sandwich bar – home to mile-high sandwiches – and an ice-cream counter, plus the fully stocked deli counter, with warm items perfect for a quick lunch on the go, Benwell says.

“People really like the convenience of it being in the community. They also like the local offerings and the fresh produce.”

Melissa Hazenboom, owner-operator with Scott Travers, has been with Red Barn for six years, coming to Oak Bay via the Mattick’s Farm store and West Saanich Road. “We’ve had amazing feedback,” she says. “Everyone is pleased we’re here and finally open and looking forward to what we can offer the neighbourhood.”

Hazenboom has built strong relationships with local growers – one reason they can offer local garlic in February – something shoppers have come to expect, along with competitive prices, she says.

Following this week’s soft opening, a chance for the 50-odd staff to get used to the new space, the store invites the community to the grand opening Saturday, Feb. 13, at 10 a.m.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will share ribbon-cutting duties followed by in-store tastings, give-aways, music and more.

Hazenboom encourages customers to let staff know if there’s something they’d like to see. “If you have any suggestions, we want to hear it. We’re building from the bottom up so if we’ve missed something, let us know.”

Red Barn Market will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at 1933 Oak Bay Ave. at Redfern Street next to Home Hardware. For more information visit