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Jeremy Tremblay, right, and Melissa Boivine say kids have been their best customers, thanks to the wide selection of candy and chips J's Munchies stocks. - Jeff Kolaohok/NNSL photo

Set for a new era

Northern News Services

Coppermine (Feb 14/05) - After being on the scene for more than a year now, the people running J's Munchies in Kugluktuk are planning to leave the community in the summer.

Jeremy Tremblay and his girlfriend Melissa Boivine have built the store's business up steadily based on one simple idea: Give the people what they want and they'll come to you.

"We stock a lot of candy and chips that they don't sell at the Northern or Co-op," said Boivine.

"Our best customers are kids."

It's not just their products that make them popular with the younger set - it's also a matter of location.

J's Munchies, or Tremblay's Store as it is known by many in the community, is actually part of the couple's home. As such, it's in the residential part of town and easy for children to walk to.

That location also means the shopkeepers can keep it open at times when the other stores in town are closed. Monday to Thursday it's open from 7 p.m. - midnight, Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. and on holidays they're often the only shopping option. On New Year's Day, for example, J's Munchies was the lone store open and eight cases of pop were sold, said Tremblay, adding he also went through most of the chips he had in stock.

That one day meant $900 in the store's till - far more than usual.

Tremblay's Store is set to add some new products in the coming weeks, too.

"We're going to start selling bullets, gun cases and things like that," said Boivine. "We asked people coming in what they wanted and this is what they told us."

When the couple does pull up stakes, Tremblay's mother Naomi - a teacher in the community - plans to take over running the store. It won't be a huge change, mind you, as she was the one who actually helped found and run the store back in 1998.

While leaving opens up new opportunities, Boivine said she'll miss running the business.

"It's not like a regular store," she said. "It's quieter and you can get to know the people."