Barbours Store

Barbour's General Store on King Street is holding is grand re-opening on Saturday. (CBC)

An iconic tourist attraction in Saint John will be re-opening this weekend, the same day 3,500 cruise ship passengers will make a stop in the city.

Barbour's General Store, a staple in the uptown, will open its doors to the public on Saturday at 9 a.m. for the first time in more than a year.

The store will feature a small museum display and Saint John tourist desk. It will also sell local apparel, treats and beverages, including a self-serve coffee and tea bar at the back of the store, called The Exchange Coffee House.

The name comes from a shop that stood on the corner of Prince William and King streets in 1783, said Gilliane Nadeau, owner of Uncorked Tours, who has been a big part in bringing life back to the building.

"I'm discovering a love of history I didn't know I had, and it's neat to be able to connect with the past," Nadeau said.

"The building is almost 155 years old, and there is a lot in there, we could spend days and weeks learning all the stories of the artifacts."

Nadeau will be running her tour business from the Barbour's location, along with five other tour operators. Together, they are turning the store into a tourist hub for anyone looking for information.

Trolley tours, harbour cruises, walking tours, kayaking and spa day packages will be available for purchase at the new tour desk.

"I had always wanted to be in that space since starting my tour company a few years ago, so when I saw there was an opportunity to get in there, I wasted no time in putting together some key partners and putting a proposal in," she said.

"It's been difficult in the past, sometimes, if you're not on a cruise ship, to get in some of these experiences and adventures, so we're closing that gap and providing these experiences to everyone."

The new initiative is a pilot project between Saint John Waterfront Development, the Barbour family and the tour operators involved.

The store's grand re-opening will include samples of Barbour's iced tea, Ganong chocolates and chicken bones, Cape Breton oat cakes and Covered Bridge potato chips.