Ryan Shank – ‘The Colonel Sanders of the North’

Shank has been making grocery runs for around 30 people, with the number of customers steadily increasing. (Supplied by Ryan Shank.)
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Lots of people have taken up new projects during the pandemic.

Ryan Shanks’ project earned him the nickname ‘The Colonel Sanders of the North.’ 

“I’ve lived here in town for about 12 years now before the pandemic me and a lot of people would make monthly trips down High Level or like Grand Prairie to do really big grocery shopping.”

Ryan Shank

Even with the cost of fuel considered, Shank says people would still save money.

But COVID-19 meant people couldn’t just pop across the border anymore. 

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The trip from Hay River to High Level, shown on Google Maps. Shank meets his Alberta friends halfway, on the Alberta/NWT border. (Screenshot from Google Maps.)

Shank came up with the solution: he would take people’s orders at work, have friends from High Level and Grand Prairie pick them up, then meet him at the border. 

Among the most popular items is buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

“It’s actually pretty gross, my last order was like $1,700 worth of chicken.” 

Ryan Shank

Shank also delivers boxes of groceries to people’s doors. 

He started off with 16 people making orders, but has seen that grow steadily.

“My phone has been going off every two minutes. Whether it is somebody wanting to put in an order, or I’ll read down to some random messages like from Ottawa, Vancouver, Halifax, telling me that what I’m doing here is great.” 

Ryan Shank

For his delivery on December 20, Shank delivered toys, groceries, and most likely, buckets of KFC to more than 60 households.

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