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Coffee and doughnuts to go

Yellowknife's Tim Hortons store will be closed for renovations but the head office promises the store will reopen with or without a new owner

Tim Hortons drive-through employees April Kokoska, left, and Carmen Jeannotte. Renovations will be finished at Yellowknife's Tim Hortons store on Aug. 31. - Thorunn Howatt/NNSL photo

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 29/01) - The end of August will mark a new beginning for Yellowknife's Tim Hortons franchise restaurant.

"I want to make sure everyone understands that we will be re-opening the store after the renovations are completed," said company spokesperson Patti Jameson.

After a rough summer that included previous franchisees giving up ownership and a forced shut-down by the health inspector, the doughnut shop will be closed for a full make-over.

Potential franchisees have been offering up the $400,000 that it takes to buy into a Tim Hortons shop.

The company is confident that a new owner will be in place within the six weeks it will take to complete the renovations.

"We've had a number of folks that have shown interest," said Jameson, who explained the company requires potential owners to meet a wide range of criteria, including management skill and financial stability.

But Jameson admitted Yellowknife restaurant owners face a number of roadblocks.

"Certainly the pressures of the shortage of labour in Yellowknife played a role in our previous franchisee deciding to get out of that business," said Jameson. She noted that Northern employee wages are higher in Yellowknife than many other parts of the country.

"The franchised operators pay whatever is the going rate depending on the market. They're going to pay whatever it takes," she said.

Yellowknife's isolation -- caused by the slow construction on Highway 3 -- is also a factor, producing freight costs higher than in other Canadian locations.

"Shipping is a challenge," said Jameson.

And shipping costs will undoubtedly rise with the territorial government's proposed introduction of new commercial trucking permits. But Jameson remained adamant that the store will re-open this fall.

"We're anticipating four to five weeks unless there are unforseen delays," she said. "With or without a franchisee that store will reopen."