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Mischuk’s Convenience the start of big things


It was a milestone occasion on Opaskwayak Cree Nation late last month.
On August 21st, leadership from the community gathered at Mischuk’s Convenience -formerly the Big E-Mart- to celebrate the fact the current owner, Rhoda Beardy, had paid off a loan to purchase the store.
The completion of the loan payments however aren’t just your typical repayment. Rather, it is the start of a move by Paskwayak Business Development Corporation, the business arm of OCN, to put business into the hands of community members.
“What we have done recently is we’ve adopted a procurement policy, meaning any goods or services that Opaskwayak buys in the future, we want band members of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation to start up those businesses. Whether they’re cleaning businesses, landscaping businesses, products, services, you name it; we’re going to start building the Cree economy of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation moving forward. This is the first example of that future success,” said OCN Onekanew Christian Sinclair.
PBDC began the process of moving the business to an individual in 2015 and Beardy became involved in 2016. On July 22nd, Beardy made her final payment for the business and now owns it outright.
“To be able to take over a business, to be able to take on that risk that was under PBDC... you were one of the first to take that initiative and take that chance and it’s been proven to be very successful,” said Sinclair. “That success now translates into a better quality of life for her and her family.”
Mischuk’s has grown since Beardy first took over and now employees two full-time staff as well as summer staff and a casual position.
“I am whole heartily appreciative of our community members who support Mischuk’s not only from Opaskwayak Cree Nation but members from the Town of The Pas who come the six kilometres,” stated Beardy, who also credited reinvestment into her business at the expense of not paying herself as well as the support of her family as other measures which were instrumental for the success of Mischuk’s Convenience, which is open 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day.
Sinclair added he would like to see similar future moves done to help bolster the business environment for OCN.

Trent Allen