Thunder Bay – LIVING – Starting Tuesday May 11, you can bring a bit of the Hoito home with you. The Finlandia Co-operative of Thunder Bay is relaunching its fundraising campaign to help get the Hoito restaurant open again with a new Authentic Hoito Pancake mix and a pop-up merchandise store.
“It’s been a long winter but we’ve kept at it” says the Co-op’s interim president, Paula Haapanen. “The renovations that need to be carried out on the space are quite extensive, so in order to be in a position to make that happen, we need to add to the initial funds raised.”
Product development has been happening over the past few months in partnership with Big Lake Pasta. “We started with the original pancake recipe from one of the former Hoito head cooks but that recipe is meant to make batter for hundreds of pancakes. Andrew Murchison, the owner and chief pasta maker, has been an enormous help to find the right balance so that the pancake will taste and feel like the one you get at the restaurant. We’re sorry we missed Mother’s Day but hopefully, it was the last one without having access to a Hoito pancake” Haapanen states. The packaging has also a hand up from TBXI Xerox, who sponsored the first batch of 2000 labels in support of the fundraising efforts. The pancakes will be available at local retailers, such as Maltese, Westfort Foods, George’s Market and Dawson General Store, starting Tuesday. The Co-op also hopes to have it available through Amazon soon so that Hoito fans living further away can order the mix.
In addition, the Finlandia Co-operative of Thunder Bay has opened a temporary pop-up merchandise store through Sportop, to introduce the Hoito’s new logo. Haapanen says “it’s a nod to the old iconic images of the Hoito, with the looped square (St. John’s Arms or Hannunvaakuna) and the slightly curved lettering from the Hoito sign around the entrance to the restaurant. This lovely logo was designed for the Co-op by Kurt Albert of Great North Graphics” The pop-up store has all of the typical items one might expect – ball caps, t-shirts, sweaters, mugs and more. The store will be open until Father’s Day. Once it closes, items will be available for pick-up about two weeks afterwards. “We can’t preorder the merchandise because we have nowhere to keep it. So until we have our own space, Hoito supporters can order directly from our online store setup by Sportop” explains Haapanen.
One burning question is when will membership sales be available for sale. “We are still working on some final touches for the Co-operative, but if all goes well, we should have shares available in the early summer.” claims Haapanen.