A second Tim Hortons franchise has opened in the Northwest Territories, only this time it’s not in the capital city.
The Salt River First Nation has opened a location beside the Petro Canada gas station on a piece of land it owns in Fort Smith.
Allen Stanzell, CEO of the First Nation, says the restaurant first opened its doors on Dec. 28 but will hold a grand opening on Sunday at 6 p.m.
“I think the response has been very, very good so far,” he told Moose FM. “It’s been overwhelming, I think the community is happy there’s a venture like this happening in Fort Smith.
“For most Northerners, when they go south, Tim’s is on their list of places to go and Fort Smith is no different. To have one in the town itself, I think people will take advantage of it for sure.”
Since the Petro Canada gas station opened over a year ago, Stanzell said the idea of opening a Tim Hortons nearby has always been a possibility.
The Fort Smith franchise is the first to open in the territory outside of Yellowknife. When all is said and done, Stanzell says as many as 15 people will be hired to run the restaurant.
And because the popular coffee franchise is situated on land owned by the Salt River First Nation, income it generates will make its way back to the First Nation.
“It’s about the responsible use of First Nations funds, invested in a way that will provide returns to the band,” said Stanzell.
“The income from any business operation will funnel back to the First Nation and we can use those funds for member benefits or programs that will help.”