A popular local foodie destination was destroyed by a blaze late last week, and now its operators are focusing on the future. Symons Valley Ranch Market housed a farmers’ market along with specialty vendors–a total of 32 small business owners sold from the market.
The fire happened early on the morning of January 26, taking down the longstanding buildings on the site that had been repurposed a few years ago to turn Symons Valley Ranch into a community hub.
Luckily the fire broke out when there was no one in the building, however it was soon upgraded to a two-alarm blaze, according to the Calgary Fire Department. Still, the market was destroyed.
The Symons Valley Ranch’s history goes back to the 1960s, when it was opened as a BBQ restaurant and place for live music. Known for their big parties, the BBQ Ranch added an RV park in the 1980s, according to the Ranch’s website. New owners took over in 2004, and the market launched in 2013.
“We love this place, our vendors and our friends in the community. The impact of this fire will be felt by many local small businesses that operate inside our market and our community,” shared owners Ken and Tracy Aylesworth on the Symons Valley Ranch Facebook page the morning of the fire.
While a supportive fan launched a GoFundMe page, the Aylesworths asked that it be shut down and the existing donations returned.
“We do have insurance so we will get through this,” explain the Ayleworths. “We’d rather ask that if people want to help out that they support our vendors buy purchasing their products at their other locations.”
To that end, Symons Valley Ranch has listed on their Facebook page alternate locations where their market patrons can find their vendors. That post is pinned to the top of their Facebook page, and includes the vendors’ Facebook pages, websites, and addresses or market appearances.
Despite the tragic loss of their market, Symons Valley Ranch is optimistic about their future:
“Please know that we are listening to the many, many generous offers of support and working towards a plan to get back up and running as soon as possible and start the re-building process. Yes we will re-build. We will grow. We will be even better! We are a strong bunch and together we will again become an important destination of the community and city.”