Tim Horton’s confirms move to Iqaluit

Three kiosk locations opening Dec. 3


A Tim Hortons logo designed for use in Iqaluit, with a translated slogan appearing in syllabics.

A Tim Hortons logo designed for use in Iqaluit, with a translated slogan appearing in syllabics.

It’s official. After years of hopeful rumours, Tim Horton’s is coming to Iqaluit.

On Dec. 3, Canada’s dominant coffee-and-donut chain is opening three kiosks in town and a bakery to supply them, although the selection offered at the outlets will be initially limited.

“We’re going to walk before we can run,” said Nick Javor, Tim Horton’s senior executive vice-president of corporate affairs.

Javor said Iqaluit’s outlets will serve only the baked goods and hot drinks for which the chain is so famous.

“Soups and sandwiches will not be a part of this at first,” he said.

The bakery will be in Northmart, Javor explained, supplying a kiosk in the same location and others at the Quickstops on Apex Road and Inuksugait Plaza.

Northmart’s parent company, the North West Co., began negotiations for a Tim Horton’s franchise more than two years ago, said Michael McMullen, executive vice-president of retail for the North West Company.

Air-travellers with boxes of donuts from Ottawa airport’s Timmie’s are a frequent sight on flights to Iqaluit.

McMullen said it was this which made the idea of a Tim Horton’s in Iqaluit seem so logical.

Javor said Iqaluit will be the northernmost Tim Horton’s outlet in the world, and only the second to be served by air — the only other being the Canadian Forces airbase in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Prices will be around 50 per cent higher than the Toronto standard, with a large coffee going for $2.39 instead of $1.55 and a single donut at $1.49 instead of $0.99, McMullen said.

That reflects the high cost of shipping the ingredients here.

The baked goods are prepared in central Tim Horton’s company locations, flash-frozen, and shipped to locations such as Iqaluit, where they are baked again with their glazing and served fresh from that second bake.

At first, the plan was to establish a full-size Timmie’s restaurant, similar to those found in southern Canadian towns of Iqaluit’s population size, but Iqaluit’s poor infrastructure and high labour costs convinced the company to go in another direction.

“You don’t want to create the negatives of congestion and poor traffic flow,” McMullen said.

McMullen said Tim Horton’s presence in Iqaluit will create the equivalent of five full-time jobs, mostly through upgrading some part-time Northmart staff to full-time.

The job of manager for Iqaluit’s Tim Horton’s is already filled —Arviat’s former Northern Store manager Katie Inukshuk is already in Oakville, Ontario undergoing six weeks of orientation and training on Tim Horton’s procedures, McMullen said.

The grand opening on Dec. 3 will be two days of celebrations and charity fundraising events, McMullen said, but declined to say who will be participating because they haven’t finalized the agreements.

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