Hay River will be getting a new retail store in a couple of months.
A Great Canadian Dollar Store franchise is being launched in town by Catherine Hill, the store’s sole owner and general manager.
Hill said it will be the first Great Canadian Dollar Store in the NWT.
“So it’s pretty exciting,” she said of her new endeavour.
Hill has been pleased by the community’s excitement about the store – including online chatter – even before it opens.
“I think the town is going to be very receptive to the business,” she said. “I think the Great Canadian Dollar Store will have something for absolutely everybody and I think that this is a business that the town will love and enjoy and accept.”
Hill described the Great Canadian Dollar Store as an extreme value discount operation.
“We like to be able to offer products at a low cost to our customers to the best of our abilities,” she said.
The goods for sale will include household items, toys, gifts, cards, crafts, beads, quilting materials, party supplies, beauty products and more.
Hill, her husband and their family have lived in Hay River going on two years, and when she arrived she found the community to be a place where she wanted to open her first business.
“Opening a dollar store has been something that has been on my radar for a number of years now,” she said, adding she first needed to find a place where she wanted to raise her children, settle down and call home.
“I didn’t want to start a business somewhere where I didn’t see long-term,” she said. “So when we moved to Hay River, we completely fell in love with the community and the people and the water and the lifestyle. And it was just Hay River was home. So I felt more comfortable to then go on to pursuing my dream of opening a dollar store.”
Gerry Russ, national president of Great Canadian Dollar Stores in Victoria, welcomes the new store in Hay River.
“We’re excited to be opening our first store in the Northwest Territories,” he said. “We currently are in Whitehorse in the Yukon, but we are not in the Northwest Territories.”
Russ also welcomes Hill to Great Canadian Dollar Stores.
“We were very excited to have somebody with so much of a great outgoing personality and who really has a passion for retail,” he said. “So we were very excited to have Catherine contact us.”
Russ said he is planning to come to Hay River for the grand opening of the new store.
Mayor Brad Mapes is pleased to see a new retail story opening, noting it is good for the economy and will bring more jobs to town.
“It’s great for our town to see someone that puts an investment into our community,” he said.
Mapes also said it’s impressive for someone relatively new to town to show such a commitment to the community.
Hill has enlisted the help of a relative from her native Newfoundland to help manage the store.
Her cousin Darryl Joyce and David Bennett, who will both co-manage the store, arrived in Hay River a few weeks ago
“We love it. It’s exciting,” said Bennett of Hay River. “It’s a very nice, very warm, welcoming community. We see long-term definitely.”
Joyce has also found the town welcoming.
“We went through all the provinces,” he said of a week-long drive from Newfoundland. “And I tell you when we got here this felt most like home.”
The two co-managers are also looking forward to helping to launch a new business in the community.
“It’s definitely exciting,” said Bennett. “It’s new, it’s growth. Growth is always a positive thing.”
The Great Canadian Dollar Store will be located in a little less than 4,000 square feet of the former True Value Hardware Store in the Wright Centre.
Renovations – electrical work, walls, shelving, painting and more – are underway to get ready for the store’s opening.
It is hoped the store will open at the beginning of May, said Hill. “But it’s not set in stone yet. Everything has to kind of line up just right.”
She has been working for a year on preparing to open the store.
Hill noted her background is as a bookkeeper.
“I’ve helped run companies before,” she said, adding owning her own business is the next step for her.
While she has hired two co-managers, Hill intends to be involved in the store as the owner and general manager.
“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on that people don’t really realize,” she said, explaining that includes a lot of ordering and bookkeeping.
Altogether, she expects her new store will create five or six jobs, but that number might increase during busy seasons.