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Grand openings in three communities
North West Company expands in Hall Beach, Pond Inlet and Clyde River projecting 94 more jobs will be going to the communities

James Goldie
Northern News Services
Monday, September 28, 2015

September has been a month of grand openings for one chain of stores in Nunavut, following a significant investment in the region by its parent company expecting to bring a total of 94 new jobs to the communities.

This year the North West Company invested $11 million toward the expansion of three of its Northern stores in Nunavut, which celebrated their grand openings this month. The stores are located in Hall Beach, Pond Inlet and Clyde River.

"We're excited to unveil our new Northern stores," Christine Reimer, vice-president of sales and operations at The North West Company, stated in a news release.

"Our new stores showcase our commitment to growing with Nunavut and actively working to meet the individual needs of each community."

The retailer's expansion will mean hiring more staff.

The company is projecting employment increases of 22 workers in Hall Beach, 38 workers in Pond Inlet and 34 workers in Clyde River.

In Hall Beach, the new store features 5,000 square feet of retail space, including expanded refrigeration cases.

The Pond Inlet store now spans more than 10,000 square feet providing space for increased general merchandise and new space for the store's existing financial services and post office. The new Clyde River store is roughly 6,400 square feet.

All three new facilities will now feature Tim Hortons franchises including beverage counters in Hall Beach and Clyde River; a beverage counter and baked goods in Pond Inlet along with an expanded selection of meal options.

According to Derek Reimer, director of business development, the stores did have soft openings prior to the official grand opening ceremony.

"The main projects we were completing were the food service elements," he said, referring to the baked goods and beverage counters.

In Hall Beach and Clyde River, the old stores have been converted into warehouse space which Derek says will ultimately mean savings for customers.

"We can increase the amount of warehouse space we carry over the winter and that we bring up on sea-lift, which ultimately will result in ... savings because of the lower-freight costs associated with those products," he said. "So I think consumers will benefit from that which we're pleased with."

Derek said he anticipates a drop in prices on products like canned goods, pastas, sugar, flour and other basic staples because the stores will be able to stock up on these items thanks to the additional storage space.

"The retail prices of those products will be lower as compared to products that have to be airlifted in for example," he said.

Derek said that these expansions are just the beginning, too.

"This is phase one of a larger expansion and investment plan we have in Northern Canada and in Nunavut. So there's going to be additional expansions and/or new stores in communities in Nunavut in 2016 and beyond," he said.

The company plans to invest "in excess of $150 million" in Northern Canada. Derek said that over the next 12 to 18 months the company hopes to initiate or complete work in up to six Nunavut communities.

"We're pleased to have successfully completed this initial phase, but there's obviously a lot more to be done and we're excited about that and hopefully can bring this same customer experience to other communities in Nunavut," he said.

- with files from Karen K. Ho

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