This is the story of Terry Gallagher and his roadside market on Hwy#20 in Fonthill
Terry Gallagher used to knock on doors selling fresh fruit when he was six along with his brothers Ron, Alex, Pat, and his father Alec. While they were peddling the fruit Terry's mother and sister Sheila stayed at home to take care of the farm and home. The fruit was produced on his parents farm on Haist street back in the 1950's which is now a subdivision in Fonthill.
In 1972, Terry Gallagher purchased property at 346 Highway#20 not far from his family's farm. He then started his own farm while he was employed at GM in St. Catharines. At that time he decided to open up his roadside market which the public could come to him for their fresh fruit and vegetables. As the business grew from there he started to expand to inside the market and turned it into a full line farm market. Than in 1984 he decided that it was too much with GM, farming and the market. Therefore he leased it out to others for 10 years, while he concentrated on farming and GM. But he found that he really missed it.
When he had the opportunity to take the store over again, he didn't hesitate. The first thing that Terry and Dee did when they took the store over was re-arrange all the shelving and displays to look just like he had it back in 1984 when he left the business.
In 1995 Terry retired from GM to focus completely on the farm market. Dee retired from work in 2005 also to focus completely on the farm market. They have made many improvements and added various new lines of product over the years to their store. The Markets major products available are produce, firewood, jams, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, a garden centre and Christmas trees.
The season, which begins in April and extends until the end of December, entails early mornings to collect shipments and staying open late to catch out of town commuters heading back home. Even in the winter, they aren't completely off duty. They supply firewood all year long to many customers.
Of course, some things have changed. We are now in a fast paced environment now and there is more competition. Terry has noticed that shopping habits aren't what they used to be. While people use to buy in bulk, they now buy in very small quantities. Many people come almost daily, and buy only enough for the day's consumption. Which is fine by him because the customers than have the freshest produce they can get.
The key to success is providing what the customer wants, he says. Whether it's fresh fruit, flowers or firewood for the campers, being adaptable has kept the couple in business.
So while they used to rely on their own farm produce, they now rely on many farmers locally and from many areas in Ontario. They are a big supporter of our Ontario farmers. Without our farmers here in Ontario, Gallaghers wouldn't be as successful as they are today. All of Gallaghers suppliers have the best quality available. The fact that Terry has to leave for Toronto at 1:00a.m. to get the best selection doesn't bother him a bit. In fact he claims the highways are quite peaceful at the hours he is on the road. Terry wants only the best for his customers.
Many people in Terry's position would consider retirement. After all, he put in 36 years at GM, while he continued to farm and run a business. Why would he continue to run the store 7 days a week, regularly hitting the highway hours before dawn?
"I can't see me doing anything else," he explained. As long as there are people wanting farm fresh foods on the dinner table, Gallagher will probably be right there selling it to them. Terry can't foresee a day when he closes down the store - he's been doing it too long. "I started off six years old peddling fruit on my parents farm. It's kind of in the blood," he says.
Dee & Terry Gallagher enjoy operating their business, supporting their Ontario Farmers, and appreciate all of their customers support. We have many loyal customers in the area that we would like to thank.