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Home News Sturgeon Lake FN-owned business turns a year old

Sturgeon Lake FN-owned business turns a year old

Sturgeon Lake FN-owned business turns a year old
A young visitor gets her face painted during the Tipi Gas and Convenience one year anniversary celebration on Tuesday. -- Photo by Marjorie Roden.

Tuesday saw the one year birthday for Tipi Gas and Convenience, in the former Lucky’s Bar location across from Saskatchewan Polytech.

The all-day celebration included live performances, a ton of raffles, free food, and celebratory one-day-only discounts on merchandise in the store, owned by Sturgeon Lake First Nation.

How do the Sturgeon Lake board of directors and store management feel about Tipi’s first year of operation?

“It’s in a booming spot,” said board member Patrick Felix.

“We’ve got Cornerstone, right next to SIAST, the fair. We’re promoting new jobs for First Nations’ people.”

“I agree. I think it’s a great location and there’s definitely a need for it in this area” said Blake Bear, part of the Tipi Gas and Convenience store management team.

“It’s helped the community out so much. We have people from every different band working here. We have people from Buffalo [Narrows], we have people from Pelican [Narrows], from Muskoday, from Sturgeon [Lake]. It’s been really good to help the urban Indigenous community, just to give people job opportunities and stuff like that. It’s been an awesome thing going on.”

Also present at the celebrations was Lake Country Co-op. Representatives from the Co-op store were barbequing free hot dogs for everyone present at the event. P.A. Bottlers was also handing out small bottles of soda to anyone present as well. 

Bear added, “I am a Lake Country Co-op employee (as well), so it’s been awesome to be a part of this and get the opportunity to be a part of this program, and just learn the ins and outs of running an urban Indigenous gas bar. It’s been a great partnership and I’ve been really appreciative to be a part of this.”

The number of Indigenous-owned gas and convenience stores in Prince Albert is increasing, the most recent being the new Cree-Land gas opening in the West Flat. The team at Tipi said it’s a great development.

“I definitely wish them good luck,” Bear said. 

“Any opportunities for the Indigenous community here is great, and I’m glad they can help people out as well, so I wish them nothing but good luck and success for them.”

“More jobs for First Nations in the city of Prince Albert is better,” Felix added.

A part of the live entertainment was an outdoor performance by local country legend Chester Knight. He was happy to be a part of the celebration.

“I feel really fantastic because I grew up in Muskoday until I was about 6. Actually, when I was 4, I used to dance at pow wow, at the [Senator Bird] arena that used to be there, so t’s nice to come back to this town.”

Supporting local artists is another part of Tipi Gas’ mandate, according to Felix.

“It’s all local Native art,” Felix said. “That’s what Tipi does. Somebody does beadwork or ribbon skirts. Tipi just likes to help out all First Nations’ people.”

“Even though we aren’t directly employing those people, it’s such a great opportunity because we let people sell what they’re good at,” Bear added.

“We give these people an opportunity to make money off of that and to earn a living and capitalizing on that, so that’s another great aspect of this business. It’s allowed us to help artists.”

As for the future, could the business expand to include garage service along with gas sales?

“I don’t believe I’m authorized to speak about that,” Bear chuckled.

Felix said, “There’s so much opportunity, you know. Already, we’ve got full capacity in the buildings right beside us. Sturgeon, we’re doing good. 

“We’re doing our part in Prince Albert and trying to stay active and promoting jobs.”