Elsipogtog First Nation opens Commercial Centre with Loblaw’s and Pharmasave

November 1, 2016

New revenue, employment and economic development opportunities.

Elsipogtog First Nation, NB (October 28, 2016) – The Usand Group (Usand) offers its congratulations to Elsipogtog First Nation (Elsipogtog) on the grand opening of their new River of Fire Grocery Store and Pharmacy. This has been a long journey for Elsipogtog, who have dreamt for years of opening a grocery store in their home community to better serve their membership. With the closest grocery store located 12km away, Elsipogtog community members had to travel distances to get groceries and prescriptions, leading to increased costs and a higher demand on time to fulfill basic needs.

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With the new grocery store and pharmacy located on reserve, the Band members and neighboring communities are able to save time and money procuring their groceries and prescriptions. Moreover, having the business owned and operated by the Band means that the revenue generated stays in the community.

As Chief Arren Sock notes, “The fact that we are going to grow our own business means over 50 new jobs for community members, which increases their personal wealth and prosperity and also provides new revenue for the community. As the business grows and becomes more profitable, it will allow us to tackle new and exciting social and economic development projects. You can literally feel the positive momentum created by the store opening, and we are already discussing what will be the next step forward for Elsipogtog.”

The Commercial Center financing was arranged in partnership with The Usand Group – a capital firm based in Winnipeg, MB that specializes in Indigenous finance. “So many essential projects, such as this grocery store, are delayed or prevented due to the difficulty in First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups accessing adequate capital.” notes Sean McCoshen, CEO of Usand. “With Elsipogtog, we knew that the need was there, the business plan was very strong, and that if they were just able to get the financing quickly to get the project started, that it would succeed – and clearly it has! So we arranged a bridge loan through Bridging Finance Inc. out of Toronto to ensure they could get the building up and start serving the community.”

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“The financing we provided helped to jumpstart development,” says David Sharpe, President of Bridging Finance Inc and member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. “We could not be more proud to have partnered with Elsipogtog and Usand on this project, and to see Canada’s first Pharmasave owned and operated by a First Nation open to the public.”

About The Usand Group

The Usand Group is a capital firm that secures innovative and customized financial solutions for First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities. Working alongside community members every step of the way, Usand collaborates to find financial solutions that fit the needs, capacity and strengths of each nation. These solutions are designed to enhance the financial and social wealth of the community and create a sustainable path to full participation in the global economy.