East Coast Catering formerly owned the store, until the band bought half and finally all of the business.
Band Council Chief Simeon Tshakapesh was at the store for the official grand opening on Dec. 2. He said mark-up on many items has gone down by more than half. Where items were marked up between 60-65 percent under the previous ownership, now the items are at a mark-up of 25-30 percent. Any profit from the store will go into the community trust where it will be used for projects in the community.
The Band reached an agreement with a new supplier out of Newfoundland and the stores goods will come directly from Lewisporte from the supplier—TRA Atlantic (Clover Farm).
Residents expressed their satisfaction with the new pricing at the grand opening. Local RCMP officers, who often have food sent in large quantities and stored, said they would start buying more from the local store and rethink buying food from outside the community. The grand opening saw more than 100 community members gather at the store.
The produce looked fresh and the prices were comparable, and in some cases lower ($2.99 for packaged honeydew melon) than in central Labrador grocery stores. Products such as milk and laundry detergent were still a little higher (milk was priced at $5.99 for 2 litres).
At the grand opening of the store, the band had a draw and gave out prizes to community members from winter boots and toys to parkas and a snowmobile.
Chief Tshakapesh said acquiring the store is a positive move for the community and the local economy.