Mar 4, 2010
Shopping for a store in Nunam Iqua
By ALEX DEMARBAN
A Yukon River village is close to having its first grocery store in more than a year, a move that will help local residents who snowmachine over risky terrain or fly to nearby communities just to shop.
The two men behind Laav’kaq LLC, which means “store” in Yup’ik, said they brought the local tribe into the venture in hopes that profits can benefit everyone in the village of Nunam Iqua.
“I’m 37 years old and there’s no sense in making all that money,” said investor James Adams. “I think it’s more of a community opportunity here.”
The store will provide local jobs and the tribe can invest its share of earnings in new ventures or dividends to tribal members, said Adams, the tribe’s council president.
Adams came up with the store idea with George Owletuck, Adam’s step-brother and a village consultant originally from Marshall, an upriver community.
The company plans to buy groceries from Carr-Gottstein Foods at low rates, which they’ll pass on to customers, Owletuck said.
The last hurdle is inking a lease agreement for a building in the village. Options include the old store or the high school, Adams said.
Hopefully, that won’t take longer than 60 to 90 days, Oweltuck said.