The owner of a vacant factory in Souris is hoping his asking price for rent will buy some jobs for his struggling community.

Reg Chapman is offering the keys to the building for just $1 in the first year. But the tenant has to create local jobs in return.


Reg Chapman shows off the main floor of the factory. (CBC)

"I'm offering somebody to come and create some employment," he said. "If we can do that, it would be great for the area."

The factory was once home to Buttercup Dairy, a business that operated in Souris for decades. The space includes 3,500 square feet on the main level, with more room upstairs.

The former dairy has been vacant for more than a year.

Chapman, a longtime entrepreneur, decided a few weeks ago to advertise on the popular classifieds website Kijiji to see if he can give the community a boost.

"The space is here, why not use it?"

Town backs the plan

The town of Souris said Chapman's offer is innovative.

But the old dairy isn't the only vacant building in the area. Nearby, the former fish plant also sits empty after Ocean Choice closed its doors.

"I do not see Ocean Choice operating again as a fish processing plant," said Mayor David MacDonald. "There's simply too much capacity."

MacDonald is hopeful Chapman's creativity will spark interest in the area.

Chapman said he's had several inquiries about his factory, but so far, no serious bites.