Two years ago, Northern Lights Fauxmagerie opened its doors to provide Timmins residents with tasty vegan options. The downtown business quickly became a favourite, cooking up healthy, delicious lunches and dinners.
Owner Rocsi Carr always had a plan to do more. In a relatively short time, she and her staff have grown the business.
“We are now grocery, production and an eatery,” she said. “It is really evolving here.
“It’s all very unique items. We’re the first vegan grocery in Timmins. We have gluten-free, plant-based, keto-friendly, we have our cheeses, we have our eatery here with two different specials every week.”
While Northern Lights Fauxmagerie is the go-to spot for vegans, it was never meant to be exclusive.
“We’ve seen everyone from every walk of life. We don’t want to exclude someone,” Carr said. “Someone may need help because they need less salt, or they want to eat better, or they just want to have a wonderful experience.
“You look around here, there are so many tastes and textures to try and we’ve tasted everything, so we can tell you it’s good.”
There are many popular items in the store area.
“In the grocery section, we have our cheese of course,” she said. “A lot of things you see here are Canadian, some are Ontario, some are Quebec. There are a few items we have to get from the States, just because they are the top of the line and they (producers) have a really good compassionate view of the world.”
There is a wide variety of prepackaged food available such as pasta, non-dairy milk, beverages, vegan meats, non-dairy cheese and butter, snacks, sweets, desserts, sauces and baking.
“We have vegan honey. It’s made from apples. Some people who can’t eat honey can have this.
“There are ready-made meals and (plant-based) burgers. We have (plant-based) chicken drumettes. People seem to like everything.”
Carr moved to Timmins and is glad she picked the city as a new home and the place to start her business.
“I came from the big city and had a lot of exposure to vegan and plant-based,” she said. “What we get is for everyone. Whether you are vegan or plant-based or the traditional way of eating, we try to have something for everyone.
“Not everyone who works here is vegan, so they are able to share things that they like and we turn them into plant-based. It’s about wellness —mind, body and spirit.”
Items can be ordered online and delivery is available.
She is excited about the growth in Northern Lights Fauxmagerie’s production of non-dairy cheese and is looking to have it sold in other stores.
“We have actually increased our production of the cheese,” Carr said. “Now that things are opening up again (from the pandemic), we’re getting people from all over.
“We’ve been getting our name out there online and through social media, Google, Yelp, Instagram and we’re about to do a TikTok as well. We are growing.
“To be a business you need a problem and you have to be the solution to serve all."
She has developed an extensive line of non-dairy cheeses.
“We have our Spirulina Blu, which is made from sea algae and we have dill garlic and chives, we have chipotle and lime — this was spicy, and the next will be a smoked chipotle and lime, so we’ve redone this one,” she said. “There’s white cheddah almandine, we have extra sharp orange cheddah, we have Suisse Ementhaal — this is a new one, it’s a marble.
“We usually have a parmafaux and a Chevre style Herbes de Provence. We make some types of curds that we’re going to sell locally. I’ve heard that its very comparable to dairy. We have some other things coming up as well.”
When Northerners hear of cheese curds, their minds immediately think of poutine.
“We do have a poutine now,” Carr explained. “I’ll say it is slightly better for you. We don’t deep fry, we home fry it. We have the potatoes, we use yellow potatoes until the local white potatoes are available, our curds and then we have two types of gravy. We are planning on having some flavoured poutine shortly.
“We wanted to have something you didn’t have to deep fry, that can give you the same comfort level as poutine but didn’t have all that excess salt and fat. It’s a little bit healthier. We have small regular and family-size. It’s been a big seller.”
Even though they are kept busy with production and the grocery section, there is still a good-sized menu available for takeout or there.
“We’ve got a great team of amazing ladies working here,” she said. “It’s enjoyable.”
Carr marked the two-year anniversary of the business on July 21. She is not surprised by the success of what many first saw as a radical idea for Timmins.
“We have this intent of going forward and serving the community,” she said. “It’s in all of our hearts, it’s like breathing.
“We’ve had two floods and the (COVID) lockdowns, but we’ve never shut down and had lots of help.
“With all the love and support we’re received, I’m not surprised. This is an amazing community.”
Northern Lights Fauxmagerie is located at 89 Cedar St. S. in Timmins and can be reached by phone at 705-221-1755. It is open Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit their website or find them on Facebook.