Arviat Co-op sells its retail store

Business had been struggling financially; co-op will continue hotel, food and cable TV services

Padlei Co-op, the local co-op in the community of Arviat, seen here, has sold its retail store. Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. vice-president of stakeholder relations Duane Wilson said it was difficult for Padlei Co-op’s retail store to compete with multiple other stores in the community. (File photo)

By David Lochead

Directors for the Padlei Co-op in Arviat have decided to sell its retail store building,

Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. vice-president of stakeholder relations Duane Wilson confirmed the board of directors received an offer for the building they deemed was good for their members, and voted to accept it.

“That’s the decision the board made and we support it,” he said, adding the sale occurred sometime in the past week or two, he said.

The store, which is about 50 years old, will close sometime in mid-December.

As a retail and grocery store under the same roof, the Padlei Co-op has struggled for a number of years, he said. It’s costly to operate in the North, and sustaining a grocer is dependent on sales volumes.

“It doesn’t take long to dig a financial hole,” Wilson said of operating in the Arctic.

Having three or four competitors in Arviat, which has a population of approximately 2,800, made it that much more difficult to succeed.

“So the co-op has really struggled,” Wilson said.

Last week on its Facebook page, the co-op posted that due to changes “in the upcoming weeks” it could no longer allow customers to charge purchases to their accounts.

Other retail stores in Arviat include Northern Store and Arctic Connections Store.

Wilson would not say who bought the building or what price was paid.

Members of the co-op were notified of the decision Oct. 20 at its annual general meeting, where more than 170 were in attendance, he added.

While he was not at the meeting, Wilson said he understood that members accepted and appreciated the decision the board made.

He said he does not know what each individual employee of the retail store will do for employment but added there’s likely going to be opportunities for them to work in the businesses owned by the Padlei Co-op since there can be an overlap in skillsets, such as administrative work.

The other businesses run by the Padlei Co-op include food service, providing cable TV service, and a hotel.

Nunavut’s other hamlet without a local co-op retail store is Clyde River, while Arctic Ventures in Iqaluit is owned by the other Arctic Co-ops and not the local co-op.


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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Tip of the iceberg on

    These co-op stores see new managers come and go all the time. And that is just the start of the problem: staff seldom showing up, inconsistent hours, products that expired years ago, no stock rotation with perishable goods like milk, poor work ethic, empty shelves, rude staff, the list goes on…

    As much as way love to hate Northmarts, they know what they are doing and do a good job at it too. Co-op should be the first place Nunavummiut go when they need groceries, but the problems extend beyond Arviat and most people seem to skip Co-op altogether in favour of the Northmart.

    Hoepfully they can figure it out, every community in Nunavut should have a Co-op but poor management and Boards that don’t see the reality of what’s hapennning until its too late may be the demise of ACL’s across Nunavut.

    This may just be the tip of the iceberg

    • Posted by Great beyond on

      Tip of the iceberg, not sure what community your from but in my home community the Co-op is cleaner and nicer than northern. Patronage payout every year is bonus that helps a lot too

  2. Posted by inkster on

    Arctic Co-op has failed the members of Padlei Co-op for the past 2 decades. They never listened to the board, staff, or members. Arctic Co-op would never accept any accountability for their continued failure(s). Be honest Arctic Co-op how much input did the local board members really have? I bet it was presented in such a way that they had no decision to make (make this decision or else!!!). Don’t pin this failure on them or the members it was the service federation called arctic co-op that failed them completely.

  3. Posted by confused on

    After Uriel left about 20 years ago it went downhill right away. He knew how to shuffle the prices and make things affordable.

    • Posted by Uriel on

      I managed that store for 7 years and after the second year we started paying devidents When I started there the place was financially in ruins but with a tight reign on things we turned it around We replaced everything That Padlei coop had that was old with new things and built the new store in 1999. But I did somuch arguing with ACL trying to secure things for the coop that they saw fit to get rid of me. I got no support from the local board. They just went along with ACL. We had a hotel manager there that was doing great but ACL got t rid of him after I left ACL was never the support that they should have been I remember David Alglaid was the mayor at the time and was the only one who spoke on my behalf Just a year after I left and the coop was in great trouble financially So finally it comes to this Sad Sad indeed

  4. Posted by Cold bear on

    That’s sad for arviat meaning that they chose not to shop at the 1 store that gives back more than the northern and now its closing down.
    I’m glad our coop is doing well enough to give us back through account points.

  5. Posted by Arctic Connections FTW on

    Arctic Connections is where it’s at! Open until 1AM! Wish we had something like that in Iqaluit.

  6. Posted by Manager on

    I’ve run both stores and can’t compare Northern controlled by Winnipeg and modern systems that control everything if gas goes up prices go up, no manager controls needed plus they lock u into credit at 29.99%. Co-op is 100% dependant on management decisions and 98% of managers fail, try opening a small business in Nunavut and see if u succeed. If the Govt controlled the freight rates they could control the prices plus do away with best before, no more barges we fly everything in, fresher yes but prices go up. Northern has a factory in China for cheap goods they clone, I’m sure there’s no toxicity in the cheap toys they sell. Coops pay living wages and staff get pensions Northern nope. Search NWC ceo wage for an eye opener or have a look at there private jet. More stores should close and people will get there eyes opened.

  7. Posted by Mr. Fix on

    What ever happened to fire the manager system.
    An important business like that should stay in the coop people hands. Cost of some foods are really wild.

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