Arctic Buying has maintained its focus and determination to live up to its handle as Amazon of the North, and it’s put the company reputation on the line to help deliver the tools badly needed by front-line workers in the ongoing battle against Covid-19.
The venture is also ensuring it’s prepared to shift gears when the challenge of Covid-19 is met and business life returns to normal.
Arctic Buying has been in business for the better part of a decade; building a sterling reputation across the Kivalliq and beyond for its ability to pick up just about anything and everything, and ship the goods to just about anywhere.
The company can take care of furnishing clients with all their Northern needs – accepting, amalgamating and forwarding parcels to their final destinations, often at less cost than other methods of delivery.
Rather than opening a retail outlet, per se, in Rankin Inlet and competing directly with local merchants, CEO Tara Tootoo-Fotheringham said the company prefers adhering to its tried-and-true tradition of supporting existing Northern operations. By placing its two-person head office in Rankin Inlet, Arctic Buying acts as the eyes and ears for the local business community in the south at Arctic Buying’s Winnipeg distribution centre.
Tootoo-Fotheringham said Arctic Buying conducts business in the North by listening to people, hearing what they need and want, and having its distribution office amalgamate those needs.
“We currently have nine people in Winnipeg involved with overseeing and fulfilling that process,” said Tootoo Fotheringham, “and, also, having previously operated both a bed and breakfast and restaurant in Rankin Inlet – that allowed me to better understand what food items and other goods could help with the issue of food insecurity by being accessed in the south and made readily available and affordable there.
“The unwanted introduction of Covid-19 has meant that, as a business, we’ve had to adapt very quickly to a changing situation with no previous experience of any kind with a pandemic that pushes us like this, both personally and professionally.
“We, definitely, are having to wait a lot longer to get things, and we’re having to source products from places we’ve never accessed before because some of the businesses we were dealing with are no longer open or their hours are staggered, so that negative impact has made it a challenge for us to run business as usual.
“We’ve also had to diversify to do our part against the virus – stepping into a medical area that we’d only previously dabbled in – sourcing masks, gloves and gowns because people see us as being the ones first able to see these items and confirm they’re legitimate.
“We just accepted the rush delivery of two thermometers from China in order to confirm they’re acceptable to a customer needing 2,000 of them.
“We’re putting our name on the line to ensure these items are legitimate and accessible in the fight against Covid-19.”