Yellowknife Inn

NNSL photo/graphic


 Front Page
 News Desk
 News Briefs
 News Summaries
 Arctic arts
 Readers comment
 Find a job
 Market reports
 Handy Links
 Best of Bush
 Visitors guides
 Feature Issues
 Today's weather
 Leave a message



. NNSL Logo
Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Renovations bring improvements

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 3, 2009

LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON - Energy savings and increased product selection will be the benefits of months-worth of renovations at the Northern Store in Fort Simpson.

Renovations that started in the store in early August are expected to finish by mid December, said Les Walford, the store manager.

NNSL photo/graphic

Members of the staff team at the Northern Store in Fort Simpson stand in front of the new produce coolers that were installed as part of renovations to the store's facilities. Employees include, from left, back row: Charles Gargan, Brandon Tonka, Steven Boutilier, Logan McKay, Dwayne Moses, Mary DeBoer and Les Walford; front row: Skyler Tanche, Hans Arnoldt, Jessy Leahy, Betty Ann Villeneuve, Sandra MacKay, Rozsika Tsetso, Atika Sharma and Jackie Norwegian. - photo courtesy of Les Walford

The installation of new energy-saving coolers and freezers will mean reduced power costs for the store.

Previously, every unit had its own compressor. With the renovations all of the units run on a single compressor.

"(We've) already seen a huge savings just on the short time it's happened," said Walford.

Some of the money the store expects to save on its power bills could be funnelled back to customers. Product pricing is based on expenses and energy is one of the store's biggest, said Walford.

By the end of November when the system has been running for a full month Walford said he'll have a better picture of possible changes.

"We're very hopeful we can pass some of those savings onto customers," he said.

More refrigeration units have also added 16 feet of extra freezer and cooler space allowing for an expanded variety and volume of products, said Walford.

One of the biggest problems for the store has been running out of milk and dairy products. The store didn't have enough storage area in the back to meet customer demand, he said.

"Now, with the deeper coolers, we can get more product in and fill those coolers and have the product last longer," said Walford.

"I know it's pretty frustrating for a customer to come in and expect the basics and for us not to have them."

Walford added as long as suppliers, trucking companies and the weather cooperates, the stores will not run out of product as frequently.

Plans are also underway to bring in an expanded product selection throughout the grocery aisles over the next few weeks, said Walford.

The renovations have also brought changes to other areas of the store. The Quick Stop got a new state-of-the-art oven that Walford said does a better job of cooking products including breads, hot deli meals and chickens.

Also, a new preparation table that has coolers underneath is making the pizza making process more efficient and allowing for a better quality product, he said.

Changes around the store have also included a new furnace, roof repairs and the replacement of floor and ceiling tiles where necessary.

In the next few weeks the front entranceway will undergo repairs to make it easier to wheel carts in and out of the store.

Customers have been responding positively to many of the changes, said Walford.

Shopper Tracy Kovalench said she likes the energy saving measures including the motion sensor lights on the freezers.

"I think it's good overall," said Kovalench about the renovations.

While shopping, Sheila Gunderson said she also likes the changes.

The new freezers maximize space and are full to the brim with products, she said.

We welcome your opinions on this story. Click to e-mail a letter to the editor.