Coffee talk with Elisapee Sheutiapik

Café owner has learned a lot about residents’ concerns over a morning cuppa joe



Elisapee Sheutiapik has a good idea of the big issues in Iqaluit and what residents want city council to do. That’s because customers tell her daily when they come in for a cup of coffee at her Grind and Brew Café.

“Having a coffee shop, I hear everything,” Sheutiapik said, sitting at a table at the beach-front coffee shop.

“There’s been such an uproar with how the city’s been running,” she said, referring to the fact many residents were disgusted when council rejected a development proposal to build a 48-unit apartment building in June.

After hearing so many complaints about city council’s decisions, Sheutiapik decided to run for one of the two vacant seats on council. With all the insight she’s gathered from her customers over the years, she says she could bring residents’ priorities to the table.

“I’m a person who listens, absorbs it and then goes from there,” she said.

Having grown up in Iqaluit, Sheutiapik also believes she’ll be representative of long-time Iqalungmiut. The 37-year-old was born here and raised by her grandparents, Josephee and Ningeogapik.

Sheutiapik spent most of her working career as an employee with the Government of the Northwest Territories. For 12 years, she worked in various departments as an administrative officer and finance clerk.

She moved to Ottawa for a while, working for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., then transferred back to Iqaluit.

In 1997, after saving enough money, she became co-owner of the Grind and Brew Café. Just this month, she became full owner of the business, which consists of two coffee shops.

This is Sheutiapik’s first time running in a municipal election.

Having spent the past five years managing her own business, Sheutiapik is keen to see city council do more to help other small businesses.

She would also like to help improve life in the community. Sheutiapik wants to see council focus more on Iqaluit’s youth by spending more money on recreation facilities. As the parent of a seven-year-old, Sheutiapik sees a lack of activities for young people in Iqaluit.

She also thinks council should consider building a halfway house for troubled youth, similar to the one that used to exist in Apex.

The youth’s perspective is so important to Sheutiapik that she wants a youth representative to sit on city council.

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