Company’s grocery deals befuddle Rankin Inlet residents

North West Company's grocery marketing strategy confusing, but good news, for some Rankin Inlet families.
Some consumers in Rankin Inlet are puzzled that the North West company is competing with itself. (CBC)

 A Winnipeg company is offering to ship groceries to Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, at southern prices and with minimal freight costs.

One customer is thrilled with the deal, but a little confused, because the company offering the deal is owned by the same people who run the Northern Store.

"When I mention it to my family or friends, like, they're shocked," said Tracey Lindell.

Lindell can't believe the deals she's getting from Valu Lots, a subsidiary of the North West Company based in Winnipeg.

She says four litres of milk cost $5, two pounds of carrots cost $1.69, and with the Nutrition North subsidy, it’s just $20 for freight, with no packing and no delivery fees.

"You can get pretty much everything you can buy at the northern store, for a lot cheaper," she said.

For three months this winter, Valu Lots offered free shipping on all Level 1 grocery items such as produce or milk which qualify for the highest Nutrition North subsidy.

"It does seem a little odd from the outside that we're offering two different ways of doing it, but there are other people doing it so we felt that we should also have an offer in the market," said Pat Jacob, who is with the North West Company and in charge of Valu Lots.

Jacob said so far, they have fewer than 25 customers in Rankin Inlet. He said they don't expect a lot of growth because it's much easier to go to the Northern Store than to order groceries from the South.