If the crowd of people gathered waiting for the doors to open on April 29 is any indication, the new Great Canadian Dollar Store at the Wright Centre is off to a good start.

The people were on hand to see what the store has to offer, but before that they witnessed a ribbon-cutting and heard a few congratulatory messages from special guests.

Hay River South MLA Wally Schumann, who is also the minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, welcomed the store.

“Especially with that portfolio, it’s an honour to be here today to see a new business come to the community of Hay River in particular and the Northwest Territories,” he said. “We’re always beating back the doom and gloom, and when you see positive stuff like this moving forward, it makes us optimistic about the economy and how things are progressing, especially in our community of Hay River.”

Schumann added he thinks the franchise has great opportunity for not just Hay River, but other communities in the Northwest Territories.

Coun. Steve Anderson welcomed the store on behalf of the town.

“It takes a lot of work and effort and long hours to produce what we see here today in this new facility,” he said. “So the employees in this store did tremendous work.”

Anderson said the store will be a great addition to Hay River and the retail landscape of the town and the South Slave.

“I mean let’s face it, Yellowknife usually beats Hay River. Hey, we beat Yellowknife,” he said. “Way to go. It’s great to see this investment in our community.”

Gerry Russ, the president of Great Canadian Dollar Stores from Victoria, B.C., was also on hand for the opening of the chain’s first store in the NWT.

With the congratulations and welcomes extended, Catherine Hill, the store’s sole owner and general manager, cut the ribbon to officially open the store for business.

Once inside the store, shoppers explored the aisles to see what it had to offer.

Yvonne Burke, one of those shoppers, is happy to see a new store in the community.

“I’m excited for Hay River. I’m excited for new business,” she said. “It gives opportunity. It’s a new way to welcome spring. It’s something new.”

Hill said it was a “joyous moment” to have the store open for business.

“Having the store open was exciting,” she said. “And it made be extremely happy to see so many people from the community come out and support our venture.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.