'We're super excited': First Nation-owned grocery store near completion in Fort Chipewyan

The grocery store in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. is getting closer to opening, with the store’s building taking shape and residents giving suggestions for what they want to see on the shelves.

First Nation hoping to hold a soft opening in July, with a grand opening later this summer

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's grocery store is nearing completion in Fort Chipewyan. The community hopes to have its soft opening in July. (Submitted by Michelle Voyageur )

A new grocery store in Fort Chipewyan, Alta., is getting closer to opening. The store building is taking shape and residents are giving suggestions for what they want to see on the shelves.

This week, elders and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation community members met with an official from the Loblaws supermarket chain. 

"We're super excited," said Michelle Voyageur, a band councillor in the community. "Our mandate is to address food security and provide access to healthy food. Our model isn't necessarily profit-driven and that's exciting."

Voyageur used fresh bread as an example of a product people want to see at the store. 

Fresh bread every day would make a difference for many in the community, she says. Bread usually sells for about $4.50 at the Northern Store but the community grocery store hopes to have it available for about two dollars. 

The shelves in the grocery store will soon be filled with healthy, affordable food that people want to eat, explains Michelle Voyageur, a councillor with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. (Submitted by Michelle Voyageur)

People in Fort Chipewyan have been upset about food prices in their community for years. The new store owned by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation would help alleviate that, Voyageur said.

She said a store manager was hired recently and has since moved to Fort Chipewyan. They're in the process of hiring another 15 people who will work at the store.

The store itself is also coming together though there's still a bit of work that needs to happen before it's finished.

The store's soft opening is expected to happen in mid-July and a grand opening and celebration will happen later this summer.