Hay River man puts ‘Cash and Carry’ bus project on hold

Cash and Carry bus
Mike Sharpe's bus, pictured in November 2014.
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Hay River’s Mike Sharpe says his “Cash and Carry” bus won’t be returning this spring.

Sharpe has operated his former Edmonton transit bus, dubbed “the ultimate food truck” in a Maclean’s magazine feature, as a mobile grocery store since last summer.

Having ripped out the old seats, the 41-year-old stocked the bus with cheap food from big box stores in Alberta, then sold the good at knockdown prices to northern communities.

Read: Maclean’s magazine profiles Mike Sharpe’s bus

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However, Sharpe now says the bus won’t be returning for the foreseeable future.

“Cash and Carry will not reopen this spring. Sorry to all those we wanted to serve,” Sharpe wrote on Facebook on Friday, saying he couldn’t afford to run the bus alongside other expenses.

“We’re hopeful that after a year or so we will be in a position to restart.”

Sharpe has long been frustrated by his inability to secure a licence to operate from a parking lot in Hay River.

In December last year, the town council said Sharpe’s ambition to use the Hay River high rise parking lot as a base was in violation of local by-laws.

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At the time, Sharpe said the bus would not be a viable proposition in the long term unless that ruling changed or a solution could be found.

“We tried several times … but, without a lot, were unable to get our local licence,” Sharpe wrote on Friday.

“But we will reopen. That’s a promise.

“We need the local cheap food, not profits first, and we’re trying – so don’t worry. Some day, we will reopen.”

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