Iqaluit legion sees 35% drop in sales after beer and wine store opens
Cabs adjust to different peak periods, RCMP sees no change in calls for service
Fewer people are walking through the door of the Royal Canadian Legion in Iqaluit since the beer and wine store opened six months ago.
- Iqaluit's beer and wine store opens today
- Iqaluit's beer and wine store sells 10% of its projected yearly sales in first 4 days
Sales dropped 35 per cent between September and the legion's end of year in December.
"We just actually never figured it was going to have this much of an impact on our establishment," said Chris Groves, president of the Royal Canadian Legion in Iqaluit.
Cabs busier during the day
Caribou Cabs has also seen a change in business.
"We need more drivers now [in the] daytime rather than nighttime, before it used to be the opposite," said Michel Gilbert, co-owner of Caribou Cabs.
"Everyone is more busy [in the] daytime. They all go to the liquor store, so cab drivers are busy picking up there instead of nighttime at the legion or bar."
Historically, Caribou Cabs would run 20 cabs at night and about 17 during the day. Now the company runs 20 during the day and between 15 and 17 at night, depending on the day.
George Hickes, MLA for Iqaluit-Tasiluk, said he hasn't received any complaints, but he has heard some anecdotal feedback.
"A few cab drivers have mentioned that they don't have as many violent incidents in their cabs, they don't have intoxicated people going from place to place looking for bootleggers," he said.
"So to me that's a positive sign and one of the positive anticipated impacts of the beer and wine store."
It is still early to understand all of the impacts, he said, adding that data needs to be collected over a longer period.
Little change to RCMP activity
The RCMP has seen little change, according to Cpl. Henry Coman, the V-division media coordinator.
"We've been running the stats occasionally just to see if there has been any changes and no significant changes," he said.
As for the Legion, its organizers are looking at ways to bring people back through their doors. As a non-profit, the Legion's profits go to community organizations and people in need.
"We do have people that we've annually made contributions [to] ... that we're giving advanced notice that we may not be able to assist totally with full assistance this year," said Groves.
The Legion will also lobby the Government of Nunavut to look at wholesale pricing for non profits and other licensees during a pricing review, he said.
"The Royal Canadian Legion has been in Iqaluit for over 53 years and it's going to remain, whether or not we're going remain as big as what we are, or whether we have to scale down a bit."