Booster Juice is coming to town.

On Oct. 23, council voted unanimously to speed up the approval process to approve the development permit for the smoothie chain to renovate the former Videoland store on Byrne Road.

Booster Juice received a development permit from city council last month to renovate the former home of Videoland on Byrne Road.
Jessica Davey-Quantick/NNSL photo

One question remains: is this as exciting as fried chicken?

“I don’t know,” said Mayor Mark Heyck, adding rumours of fast food chains have long been a part of the Yellowknife landscape. “When I was a kid, the ongoing rumour for years and years was that Mcdonald’s was coming, Mcdonald’s was coming. I think I was in my late teens by the time they finally showed up, but yeah it is kind of exciting because it provides more variety to our residents and people like variety in their lives.”

Deneen Everett, executive director of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, is sure Booster Juice will get its due share of excitement.

“People get excited when new businesses and new products are introduced into the market and I expect it’ll be very much the same hype for Booster Juice,” she said.

Whether it will be the same furor that greeted the arrival and departure of other chains, particularly fried chicken like KFC, Lenny Burger or Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters, she’s not sure.

“You know what, I’m a vegetarian,” said Everett.

When Mary Brown’s opened on Borden Drive in February, there were lines 20-vehicles deep to get a taste of the sweet, sweet poultry.

Council members raised concerns the smoothies would cause a similar clamor when Booster Juice opens.

“I’d hate to see it as Wal-Mart, Tim Hortons and Mark’s,” said Coun. Rommel Silverio during the October debate. “This is also an access road for the hospital. That’s the only concern I have there.”

City administrator Sheila Bassi-Kellett told council traffic shouldn’t be a concern.

“We do see that the traffic flow could be supported and won’t be too onerous on the Bryne road flow. We will monitor,” she said.

Coun. Julian Morse is excited to juice up, earning himself the title of “Booster Juice Booster” from Heyck.

“It’s exciting to see someone opening a new business in this area, I wish them all the best,” he wrote in an email to Yellowknifer.

Heyck agrees.

“I think it shows that Yellowknife’s economy is strong, that businesses – in particular national and international franchises – have a history of doing very, very well in this market,” he said. “So I think it’s a positive sign for the local economy.”

He’s not concerned another big chain will pull the plug on local competitors.

“In recent years in particular we’ve seen an absolute explosion in the restaurant scene here in Yellowknife, particularly from independent restaurateurs,” said Heyck. “So I don’t think it poses a major concern. We’ve got a pretty good mix of both national franchisee but also a heck of a lot of local, independent restaurants as well.”

A representative with Booster Juice declined to confirm who will run the Yellowknife franchise, adding it’s expected the store will open in early 2018.

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