The Blood Tribe Economic Development department and committee performed a groundbreaking ceremony on the south side the Kainai Industries building on October 15, 2015, in preparation for the Kainai Food Market slated for its grand opening next year. Prior to the ceremony, elder Bruce Wolf Child offered a prayer while Camille Russell, Norbert Blackwater Sr., Harvey Sweetgrass, Corolla Calf Robe and Kainai Jr. Princess Michelle Eagle Plume were seated as head table guests.
Rob Crow, Director, Economic Development, said the project required careful planning in preparation for the launch of the business venture.
“We began the project in 2014, but its been in discussion for many years,” he said. “We went through our survey and we had three main questions in mind: one, if the need for a grocery store exists; the second, if the members would support it, and three, if a grocery store would be a social and economically viable project. So, based on our feasibility study and business plan, everything came out with a resounding yes.”
The planned Kainai Food Market will be housed in a 12,000 sq. ft. building on 1.5 acres of land that will be easily accessible to the main highway. The Grocery People, a subsidiary of the Federated Co-op, are the suppliers and will offer food items and products including: meat & deli, fruit and vegetables, bakery goods, dairy, groceries, household goods and personal care items. The Kainai Food Market will employ four management personnel and up to 20 full- and part-time employees.
Blood Tribe Councilor Al Blackwater shared in the festivities of the planned grocery store.
“We have over 12,000 members and we want to be able to capture that market, rather than going off the reserve,” he said. “We want to welcome our neighbors surrounding the Blood reserve to shop at the Kainai Food Market too.”
Among the partners in the initiative are Blood Tribe Chief & Council, Economic Development, Government of Alberta Aboriginal Relations, Vision Quest and The Grocery People.
After Economic Development committee members and Blood Councilors Myron Eagle Speaker and Frank Black Plume shared their comments, the groundbreaking began with a traditional ceremony to mark the beginning of another era of tribal investment.
The Blood Tribe Economic Development will host an open house on October 29, 2015, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Kainai Multipurpose building to discuss project updates, contract opportunities and other relevant topics.
See more in the next issue of Tsinikssini