It’s the end of an era at the Sarnia Farmers’ Market.
After a 25-year run, Frank Kap said goodbye last month to Kappie’s Korner, the booth at the Ontario Street market known for its produce, honey and flowers.
Dozens of long-time customers stopped by to wish him well.
“A lot of tears, a lot of hugs, a lot of good wishes,” said Kap, 75. “It was an emotional day for us, absolutely.”
After four years of battling colon cancer and three major surgeries, Kap decided to call it quits and leave the business he took over from his father in 1994.
He and daughter Noelle Kap ran the booth, supplementing its maple syrup, honey and flowers from other producers with produce grown on his two acres at Telfer Road.
Kap’s father was a Dutch immigrant who opened a stall at the market more than 60 years ago, stocking it from a small farm plot on Errol Road East, about where Sweden Street is located today.
When the downtown market where Frank Kap’s dad got started was destroyed by the famous tornado of 1953, the vendors quickly formed a co-operative and bought the current site on Ontario Street.
After 158 years, the Farmers’ Market remains one of the city’s oldest institutions.
Poor health has forced Kap out of the business he loves, and his daughter and long-time sidekick didn’t want to continue alone, he said.
“The sweet part is that we found this couple, who I know will do extremely well, and they will carry it on for years to come.”
Retired school principal Sean Keane and wife Debbie have been his go-to honey producer for years. They have no plans to change the name, Kap said.
“Noelle and I were extremely pleased to have those two people take over. They had a real interest in what we did. I know for a fact they will probably improve and expand it even more.”
“It all came together beautifully.”