‘It’s next level’: Rare snack pop-up shop opens its doors off Locke Street

“A corner store for steroids.”

This is how Nelson Haines describes his new pop-up Junkies Rare Snack Express.

Located on the corner of Locke and Pine streets, the store is simple aside from the newly installed bright pink signage. You can’t see anything from the outside, but step in the door and your immediate junk food overload.

Snacks not normally seen on Canadian shelves fill the store.

Toasted popcorn with cinnamon. Dippin ‘Dots Cereal Birthday Cake. Looped fruit tarts. Takis of blue heat. Sunkist Berry Lemonade Soda. Sparkling waters with caffeine. And that’s just a small part of the store’s selection.

“It’s the next level,” said Haines, who partnered with Dane Pirro to open the store.

Junkies’ origin story dates back to 2017, Haines said.

The Hamiltonian obtained his passport at an advanced age and began traveling to the United States. There, he tried the snack options and immediately became “addicted.”

“I thought it was really cool,” Haines said. “And I wanted to bring that home to me and my kids, my family and my friends.”

Haines began traveling back and forth across the border more frequently, each time with a different load of snacks and treats. And soon, his coworkers noticed and wanted to buy him snacks.

Seeing an opportunity, the entrepreneur opened Junkies as an online store for a short time. But when COVID first arrived, shipping delays slowed business and it was soon idle.

Brainstorming with Pirro, the pair landed on reviving the snack shop as a pop-up window.

Scheduled to open at noon on Wednesday, junk food lovers will be able to shop in person or order some of their favorite treats through UberEats.

Depending on supply and demand, the store is likely to close and then reopen once they have more stock.

If all goes well, there are plans to bring the store back for the “long term” starting this spring, he added.

“We have fun watching people come in and smile and eat a sandwich they ate years ago,” he said. “Seeing that emotion in people makes all the work worth it.”


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