One person’s junk is another person’s treasure

Empty shelves at gas bar leave Iqaluit food bank stocked



The Toonoonik gas bar is officially out of the grocery business – and that’s a windfall for Iqaluit’s food bank.

Once part of the now defunct Toonoonik co-op hotel and restaurant, the gas bar, situated near the airport, is undergoing a makeover. And the food bank is getting all of its hand-me-downs.

Nick Carter, regional manager for Arctic Co-op, emptied his shelves into the back of a pick-up truck and ran the loaded vehicle across town, where empty food bank shelves were waiting.

The items were sold to the food bank at about one-third the cost, much to the delight of vice-chair Marje Lalonde, Carter said.

“I was sweet-talked by the lovely Marje,” he said. “Of course, it was no contest for me. It was nice to see the shelves [at the food bank] packed. And Marje was quite ecstatic.”

The food bank shelves were piled with enough items to last eight weeks, said Jennifer Hayward, the food bank’s treasurer.

“It was a very generous donation, and the kind of support we need from the community to maintain what we do. We open every second Saturday, so it will last us eight weeks in total,” Hayward said.

“It was such a variety of stuff, too, which is really good.”

The seed was originally planted in Carter’s brain when he ran into Peter Irniq, the food bank’s chair.

“I happened to be talking to Peter prior to the May general meeting and he asked if we had any extra stuff. I said ‘Have I got a deal for you!’ Carter explained.

“We made a monetary agreement that’s very good for them, and still leaves them with the extra money to buy other stuff. Unfortunately for us it’s a one-time shot. Once it’s gone it’s gone.”

Inventory like soap and hand cream are being delivered to the women’s shelter in Apex – something Carter has done before. When the Toonoonik hotel shut down, its furniture and accessories where sold at rock-bottom prices to the women’s shelter and the homeless shelter.

Carter will be restocking his own shelves in the near future. He has decided to turn the gas bar into what it really is – a corner gas and convenience store.

Equipped with a cappuccino machine and oven, the newly revamped Toonoonik gas bar will offer mostly snack lunches like pizza buns and hamburgers, candy bars, pop, chips and gum – the usual junk food fair, Carter explained.

“We’ve got sort of a good market out there with the airport staff. We have coffee on for the guys and hot pies, stuff like that.

“And, people travelling may have two or three hours on the ground and they’ll come over just to take a walk and stretch their legs.”

Eventually Carter may add small souvenir carvings and pins, depending on what the new co-op intends to offer once its new building is constructed.

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