A popular eatery and café, Slocum and Ferris is one of the oldest businesses in Canada's oldest farmers market. It was founded in 1895 by George W. Slocum and John D. Ferris, who left Queens County, New Brunswick to become produce merchants in Saint John. Both were of Loyalist agricultural background, with the Ferris family coming from New York and the Slocums from New England. The partners maintained links with the farmers of the Saint John River Valley, who sent them produce downstream by riverboat. Slocum and Ferris did not buy the goods outright, but took a commission, calling themselves "commission merchants". In the second-floor office above the shop there is still a folio-size ledger from the 1910s recording the firm's transactions in fine cursive script.
John D. Ferris
George W. Slocum
By the mid 20th century, Slocum and Ferris had become a small grocery store, selling spices, canned goods and "fancy groceries" to complement the butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers who then dominated the City Market. In this period, the store began to sell dulse, the deep purple dried seaweed harvested on Grand Manan Island.
In 1989 Slocum's came under current ownership of David Forestell & Sherrie Boyd, who transformed the business and menu into what we know today. For 32 years they kept up its legacy as a retailer and provisioner, with a wide selection of local maple products, confections, teas and preserves. And, of course, dulse!
In January 2021, Joanna Killen & Corey Dugas, entrepreneurs and long time fans of Slocum's assumed ownership of the business and plan to continue the 126 year old legacy of the business. Slocum & Ferris will be baking their own scratch bread & baked goods and will be offering an increased selection of take home meal options as well as take out & delivery.