NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

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

Big enough for the Bay
Community celebrates grand opening of Naujaat Co-op

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 25, 2012

The community of Repulse Bay celebrated the Naujaat Co-op's 44th birthday with the grand opening of a new store earlier this month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Naujaat Co-op board members Denis Kaunak, Mary Tuktudjuk and president Darlen Nuluk, front row from left, and Laimmiki Malliki, Michel Akkuardjuk, Peter Mannik and Simeoni Natseck, back row from left, celebrate the opening of their new store in Repulse Bay earlier this month. - photo courtesy of Lilian Choi

The 8,800 square-foot outlet has the first in-house bakery of its kind in the Co-op's Northern system, new retail exterior entrance and translated signage, wider aisles, a refrigeration system with easy-access doors, expanded freezer and cooler capacity and windows to let in natural light.

Interim financing for the project was provided by the Arctic Co-operative Development Fund, which is the financial arm of Arctic Co-operatives Ltd.

Long-term financing came from the Atuqtuarvik Corp., while the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency provided grant funding in support of store development.

General manager John Kaufmann said the new store is as modern as what you'd find in the south.

He said the store is almost double the size of the one it replaces.

"The community is just tickled pink over this new store," said Kaufmann.

"A lot of people told me it was like they went to sleep in Repulse Bay and woke up somewhere else.

"Our new store's fresh bakery is the only one between Inuvik and Iqaluit.

"It's a pretty exciting time for us here right now."

The former Naujaat Co-op is less than nine years old, but Kaufmann said it was too small the day it opened.

He said even though they knew 5,000 square feet wasn't enough at the time, they simply didn't have the money to go any bigger in 2003.

"I don't want to brag, to be honest, but we've been doing very well at our Co-op during the past few years.

"In fact, we're the most successful Co-op in the North other than Yellowknife.

"We had more than $2 million in net savings this past year and, during the past five years, we've paid back more than $5 million to our members.

"People in the community know when they support the Co-op, they get the money back."

The Co-op operation in Repulse also runs the Inns North Hotel, has the local fuel contract, rents properties and builds houses.

Kaufmann said the former store will be turned into a new enterprise.

He said people don't have the basic knowledge to understand how difficult it is to start a business in the North.

"There's been a void in the community with entrepreneurship, and we've been able to fill that void.

"We're around 500, right now, with our active membership, and we're continuing to grow every year.

"We're also excited about turning the former store into a restaurant and convenience store.

"There's nothing here at all, in terms of a restaurant or convenience store, so there's a need for them in Repulse."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.