Zoe Mack

Zoe Mack
Copper's Corner Community Store

NW-IACE Graduate

Zoe Mack, a graduate of the NW-IACE Program, is embracing the next step in her entrepreneurial journey and founding her business Copper's Corner Community Store as a way to provide connivence shopping in her community.

There is a strong need for a convenience store in Gitaus; Zoe explains that "the closest grocery store is 19.5 kilometres away." Arranging rides to and from the store "can be difficult for members of the community," not to mention costly. Copper's Corner will be an accessible community hub and one-stop-shop for basic household grocery and specialty items. Zoe also plans to create a space in Copper's for a café section that community members can use to unwind and relax.

Zoe will offer a pre-pay credit system, discount offers for repeat customers, free store swag, and promotions on family food packs to develop good relationships with the local community and make shopping more affordable. She explains that those living in her local community "believe in personal relationships and word of mouth publicity," which is why she will frequently ask for customer feedback on product stock and pay attention to their needs and preferences.

To reach more customers and serve community members that are not mobile, Zoe will offer a delivery service within Gitaus with a flat-rate fee. Cooper's will be located on Zoe's property and housed in a building with full equipment, fridges, and a cash register. She is looking to hire store staff, a bookkeeper and a janitor in the near future.

Unlike other convenience stores, Copper's will provide nutritious and sustainable meals. Zoe has noticed that "in most rural communities, it's hard to have a healthy food initiative," she hopes to offer premade vegetable packs and other quick and healthy snacks as an on-the-go option. She also wants to include family-sized food product packs that make shopping easier on large families.

During the I-ACE program, Zoe has developed a plan to market her store leading up to its launch. She will create a Facebook page to share updates and promotions for Copper's Corner and develop Facebook ad campaigns with an engagement objective. In addition to social media marketing, Zoe plans to capture the market by delivering "weekly flyers and distributing them throughout the 87 homes in the community." She will also secure a promotional spot for Copper's Corner in the community newsletter and look into renting road signs.

Zoe conducted a small survey to assess the demand for a general store in Gitaus and found that 40% of people indicated that they would shop weekly, 12% daily, and 15% would shop once or twice a month. In creating Copper's Corner, Zoe will contribute to her community and more frequently interact with her neighbours in a welcoming space. She plans to launch her business in the Summer of 2021. We at the I-ACE Program are proud of Zoe's hard work and perseverance in setting up Copper's Corner, and we are excited to see it launch!

Like Zoe, hundreds of other Indigenous entrepreneurs have graduated from the award-winning Indigenous Advancement of Cultural Entrepreneurship (I-ACE) program. This program allows future entrepreneurs to gain the skills and mentorship needed to launch their venture and contribute to their community with confidence while aligning with Indigenous values. The I-ACE program is possible because of our partnering regions, organizations, institutions, and faculties' collective efforts.
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