Entrepreneur Mark Harrison and chef Danny Duchesne know a good opportunity when they see it. In 2003, they went into partnership, purchased The New Dundee Emporium, and brought the neglected building and business to life again. With an eye toward the future, changes they make retain the integrity and honour the history of the premises.
On February 28th, 2004, Mark and Danny were presented with the Heritage Recognition Award for their efforts toward the restoration and maintenance of Wilmot Township’s Commercial Heritage.
In 2006 they were nominated for a junior achievement award
In May of 2007 prepared High Tea for Prince Andrew while he did not eat it on the premises they felt very honoured to have the opportunity.
The Emporium Past
The New Dundee Emporium, now designated by the Township of Wilmot as a heritage building, was built by prominent New Dundee citizen Gottlieb Bettschen in 1887 as the Jubilee Block in honour of Queen Victoria’s Golden (50th) Jubilee. With its fine detailing, the building is a fantastic example of Victorian mercantile architecture.The Emporium today retains many of its original interior and exterior features; the original store bins and drawers (shown above), hardwood flooring, and gas lighting fixtures are still in place.
The building has always housed a store, although Gottlieb Bettschen never operated it himself. He had several tenants including Joseph Clemens, Jacob Kreisel, and Alvin Clemens. In 1910, Herman Kavelman purchased the block and operated the store until 1971.
Since then, the building has changed owners many times, but the store has remained in business for well over a century.