In a recent PumpTalk post, I mentioned how local Petro-Canada owners don't just operate a gas station, but are important contributors to their communities – among other things, they build playgrounds, inspire local immigrant women to become entrepreneurs and donate their time to charitable causes.
This community aspect of Petro-Canada stations is especially evident in sites that are First Nation owned and operated. The Ochapowace Nation recently opened a new Petro-Canada location in Pilot Butte, SK. It is the 30th First Nation owned and operated site in our network - something we are very proud of.
One of our long time First Nations sites is owned and operated by the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc (TteS) Band, in the Kamloops area of British Columbia. The Kamloops Indian Band Development Corporation (KIBDC) partnered with Suncor to convert an existing gas station to the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada in 2012. The Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada has been a very successful business, winning Kamloops Chamber of Commerce 2014 Aboriginal Business of the Year.
I had an opportunity to discuss with Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, the Tk’emlups chief, how the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada fits into her band's economic and community plans.
Q. What were the goals when you set out to open this station?
A. We knew that we wanted an investment that would maximize its return as well as provide a growth opportunity. We also wanted to provide employment opportunities for our membership. Partnering with a recognized fuel brand like Petro-Canada helped us build a strong relationship with TteS band members.
Q. How does the station fit into your economic development plan.
A. We want our business investments to generate revenue that we can re-invest into new business opportunities for our members. The Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada helps provide that revenue. Our economic plan also calls for opening businesses that meet tourism needs as well as creating employment opportunities for band members. The Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada fulfills these aspects of the plan. The TteS Petro-Canada, boasts astounding numbers during our PowWow Event, serving thousands on a daily basis.
Q. What has this station meant to the community?
A. Band members are proud to be employed in our businesses that have relationships with large corporations like Suncor and Petro-Canada. Plus, they are proud of the community ownership of a successful business that has won awards through the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce as well as the BC Achievement Foundation who named it Community-owned Business of the Year in 2016. Also, the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada gives our indigenous youth entry-level employment opportunities to help them succeed in moving along their career path.
Q. Is there anything else that you would like us to know about your Nation and/or the business?
A. We are pleased that Petro-Canada respects our culture by creating initiatives for indigenous people. Whether it is through indigenous bursaries or contributions to a cultural park, we are happy with these programs that promote strong relationships between our membership, indigenous people and Petro-Canada. Regarding the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada in particular, all revenues are utilized for growth and for programs and services that are offered to TteS membership. We are very proud of the legacy it is creating.
Thank you, Kukpi7 Casimir, for taking the time to share the success of the Tk’emlúps Petro-Canada and the positive impact it is having on the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc (TteS) Band!
- Rose R.