(Photo: Portage La Loche community members Jules and Cecilia Jolibois shop at the newly adapted Northern store, a few days after the Northern Food Store burned down)
When the Northern Food Store in Portage La Loche, Saskatchewan was destroyed by a fire, The North West Company responded quickly to ensure community members still had access to groceries to feed their families.
No one was injured in the fire, which broke out late on April 24 due to an electrical failure, but the building was completely destroyed.
“We would like to thank the first responders for their efforts in controlling the fire and are grateful that all of our employees and customers are safe,” said Michael Beaulieu, Vice-President, Sales & Operations at The North West Company.
The 5,500 square-foot store offered a full assortment of everyday essential grocery item to community members. Luckily, Northern also operates a 13,800 square-foot general merchandise store and pharmacy in the community on a nearby property. In response to news of the fire, North West immediately went to work, modifying this second store to accommodate a large assortment of grocery items previously offered at the food store.
La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre was thankful for how quickly the company responded to the situation.
“By the next day they already had a plan in place,” he said. “They’re executing that plan, they’ve got things in motion, so things are really progressing.”