To view the Neechi flyer that is in effect until May 22 please click on the following link: flyer 2013 05 16 (Use the return arrow to return to the website.) All flyer items, plus a lot more specials, apply to in-store shopping at Winnipeg’s Neechi Commons, 865 Main St. at Euclid Ave., three blocks north of the CPR tracks.
Neechi Commons will be closed on Victoria Day Monday, May 20. However our corner grocery at 325 Dufferin Ave., a few blocks west of the Commons, will be open from noon until 5 pm.
Come ‘n Eat now offers all-day breakfast. On weekdays the restaurant and catering open at 7 am, with a 6 pm closing time. Saturday hours are from 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday hours are from 10 am to 5 pm. A complete listing of the hours of operation for the Commons as a whole is provided on the Contact page of this website.
A highly successful Grand Opening of Winnipeg’s Neechi Commons was held on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. In addition to the Grocery and Meats Departments and the Three Sisters Fruit and Vegetable Courtyard, the beautiful new facility at 865 Main Street now features Come ‘n Eat Restaurant, which is dishing up wonderful breakfasts and lunches, and the lovely Neechi Niche Arts Store and Gallery, which showcases awe-inspiring Aboriginal art work, star blankets, books, jewelry, moccasins, other crafts and art supplies. Work is proceeding on the development of the Specialty Foods Boutique, the Fish Market and The General Store. A couple of second floor offices, next to a Conference Room and close to Come ‘n Eat, are still available to be rented out. Store hours are listed on the Contact page of this website.
The jam-packed Grand Opening included greetings from community organizations, music and dance performances by students from David Livingstone Elementary School, R. B. Russell Vocational High School, Fubuki Daiko, and the Aboriginal School of Dance, and a reading by Beatrice Mossionier, renowned author and co-manager of Neechi Niche. Greetings from the Government of Canada were conveyed by the Honourable Steven Fletcher, from the Province of Manitoba by the Honourable Kevin Chief, from the City of Winnipeg by Councillor Ross Eadie, and from the Manitoba Metis Federation by President David Chartrand. Other well wishers at Neechi Commons on Grand Opening day included Chief Donovan Fontaine from Sagkeeng First Nation, representatives from Arctic Cooperatives Ltd., the Manitoba Cooperative Association, Credit Union Central of Manitoba, the Aboriginal Centre for Human Resource Development, the federal Urban Aboriginal Strategy, Local Investment Toward Employment (LITE), The Jubilee Fund, the Manitoba Cooperative Loans and Loans Guarantee Board, Assiniboine Credit Union, Me-Dian Credit Union, the United Way of Winnipeg, SEED Winnipeg, various neighbourhood organizations, individual investors and customers.
Residents of Manitoba may qualify for a 30 % provincial tax credit on purchases of Neechi Class “A” Investment Shares. The credit can be used starting in the tax year in which a purchase is made. Class “B” Investment Shares are designed for investment corporations, foundations, businesses, other types of organizations, and individuals who do not qualify for the Manitoba tax credit. Please see our Investment Shares page for details.
1. Neechi Commons is a community business complex that is being developed in Winnipeg on a 50,000 sq. ft. lot that straddles north Point Douglas on the east and Lord Selkirk Park on the west. These and other surrounding neighbourhoods in the ‘north-end’ and south of the CPR tracks face tough social and economic challenges. Neechi Commons is deliberately being developed in this part of the city to foster neighbourhood revitalization and to provide economic opportunities for Aboriginal youth and other area residents. At the same time the site is very well situated from a commercial standpoint.
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2. About 60 new jobs will be created in the neighbourhood supermarket, restaurant, bakery, produce courtyard, Aboriginal arts store, and specialty boutiques, with hiring priority given to residents of adjoining neighbourhoods.
3. A large percentage of the jobs will go to youth. Neechi Commons will offer a direct alternative to street gangs and to dependency on income assistance.
4. Neechi Commons will include a strong staff development program that will emphasize team building and the enhancement of personal and community self-esteem, as well as job-specific skills.
5. Employment and training opportunities will compliment local high school programs and vocational training institutes.
6. The operation of a neighbourhood supermarket at Neechi Commons will fill a neighbourhood void by restoring and expanding wide-ranging and economical food services.
7. Neechi Commons will promote healthy foods and lifestyles. Neechi Foods Co-Op is already known for promoting healthy eating and healthy living. The existing grocery operation on Dufferin Ave. was the first grocery store in Winnipeg to not sell cigarettes (although providing tobacco for ceremonial purposes) and has been subsidizing fresh fruit for neighbourhood children since it began operations over 22 years ago. The cooperative has been honoured nationally, at a meeting of the Canadian Diabetes Association, and locally, by the Reh-Fit Centre, for its diabetes prevention work.
8. The produce courtyard, farmers’ market, restaurant, and other components of the Commons, will have a strong focus on locally harvested and processed foods in order to promote healthy foods and environmental sustainability and to support farmers, pickers, fishers, ranchers and food processors in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario.
9. A specialty foods boutique will promote ethnically diverse foods, local specialty food suppliers, and cross-cultural interest and respect.
10. Neechi Commons will include an Aboriginal arts centre that will serve as both a retail outlet and as a gallery for First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists, artisans, authors, illustrators, singers and musicians. Neighbourhood schools will be invited to showcase their students’ artwork and to participate in workshops, performances and presentations at the Commons.
11. Aboriginal artists and performers of all ages and representatives of diverse ethnic artistic traditions will also be invited to participate in daytime and evening events, as mentors and as performers. Appreciation of cultural diversity will be a constant theme.
12. The planning of Neechi Commons included a formal Integrated Design Process that included a lot of community input.
13. Neighbourhood anticipation of the opening of the complex is very high. The Commons is expected to make a vital contribution to community pride in adjoining neighbourhoods. It also will contribute to positive self-esteem within the wider Aboriginal community and in Winnipeg as a whole.
14. Neechi Foods Co-Op is an owner-operated business incorporated as a worker cooperative. This means that employees have the opportunity to become business owners and entrepreneurs; an opportunity that most of them otherwise would never get.
15. The cooperative membership structure ensures community based ownership whereby neighbourhood families are effectively represented in the control of the enterprise.
16. Investment Shares are being offered to the general public as a means of helping to finance Neechi Commons and as a way of encouraging broad community stakeholder participation. These Investment Shares are not sold for speculative purposes. Modest returns are projected but the big pay-back is community economic development. The cooperative retains the right to redeem shares that are no longer needed.
17. Neechi Commons is expected to be a cornerstone for the revitalization of commerce along Main Street north of the CPR tracks. In recent years this area has descended into ‘skid row’ status. Accordingly, the opening of Neechi Commons is of vital interest to the North-end and to the city of Winnipeg as a whole.
18. The Neechi Commons project has included very deliberate restoration of the heritage character of two attached buildings at Main and Euclid. They were built in 1903 and 1904, respectively, and designed by the prominent local architect, J. H. G. Russell. Historically this site has been a prominent north Main landmark housing a wide variety of commercial businesses.
19. Neechi Commons will build on the fruits and vegetable legacy of the California Fruit Market which operated at the same location in recent decades and on the legacy of the famed North End Farmers Market which operated across the street in earlier decades.
20. The building showcases geo-thermal heating and cooling and has received Green Globes certification.
21. The governments of Canada and Manitoba have recognized the unique social and economic potential of Neechi Commons by investing in the project with infrastructure stimulus grants that have helped to offset construction costs. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the United Way of Winnipeg have provided funds for the development of staff training and support systems . The Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Centre, First Peoples Development and the Manitoba Métis Federation have all agreed to contribute to initial staff development costs. The Province of Manitoba is also prepared to help with staff development and has approved Neechi’s Investment Share Offering for inclusion in the Community Enterprise Development Tax Credit program.
22. Some 50 residents of Winnipeg have helped with business planning and development on a volunteer basis through participation in on-going Neechi Commons work groups. In all, well over 9,500 volunteer hours, equivalent to five years of full-time work, has been invested in the project because of its unique social value.
- For more information about Neechi Commons please go to our ‘Neechi Commons’ and ‘Investment Share Offering’ pages.
PRESS RELEASE: March 8, 2012
An inner-city cooperative is inviting the general public to buy investment shares as a way of promoting “economic healing”. Today Neechi Foods Co-Op launched its first Investment Share Offering. The purpose of the share offering is to help raise capital needed to complete the development of Neechi Commons Community Business Complex at 865 Main St., Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Investment Shares are being sold to the general public, marking the first time that any cooperative in Manitoba has offered shares to non-members as well as to members.
Residents of Manitoba will be eligible for the Province’s 30 % Community Enterprise Development Tax Credit on share purchases of up to $30,000. These Class A Shares are modestly priced at $100 per share to encourage broad public participation. Class B shares, which sell for $1,000 each, are geared to organizations and to individuals who do not qualify for the provincial tax credit.
Neechi is hoping to tap into the growing public interest in socially responsible investment (SRI), whereby monetary returns are balanced with social and environmental benefits. Neechi’s president, Louise Champagne, emphasized that, “investing in Neechi Commons is not about chasing speculative cash gains”. “Instead, it is about investing in a down-to-earth business that projects large community benefits alongside relatively modest financial returns.
It is expected that Neechi Commons will open this summer, helping to bring badly needed revitalization to Main Street north of the CPR tracks and to adjoining north-end neighbourhoods. It will feature a neighbourhood supermarket, a fruit and vegetable courtyard and farmers’ market, cafeteria restaurant, specialty boutiques, a bakery and an Aboriginal arts centre. About 60 jobs will be created, drawing heavily on local area residents in a part of town that has one of the highest urban unemployment rates in Canada. Many of the jobs will go to youth. “It is high time that dignified and meaningful jobs start replacing street gangs”, says Champagne. “Economic balance and self-reliance in Aboriginal communities have been undermined for a very long time. We hope that Neechi Commons will be part of the economic healing that is needed to support personal and social healing.”
Neechi Foods Co-op is incorporated as a worker cooperative, owned and operated by its staff. A cooperative business model is in line with the primary values of sharing and community that anchored Aboriginal economies for thousands of years. The worker coop model gives people the opportunity to be in charge of their economic destinies as business owners, as well as employees. Because it is the workers who make up the membership in the co-op, the number of members is small compared to most consumer co-ops, where the membership consists of customers. This is one of the main reasons that Neechi’s shares are being offered to non-members as well as to members. Neechi’s existing store at 325 Dufferin Avenue has been in operation for over 22 years. It is particularly renowned for its bannock, wild blueberries and smiles.
The Neechi Commons facility is a make-over and expansion of the old California Fruit Market premises. Now close to 90 per cent complete, it includes geo-thermal heating and cooling and already has been awarded Green Globes certification for its high environmental standards. Project costs for Neechi Commons include property acquisition, construction and opening costs totaling over $7 million. Neechi’s business plan projects $1.5 million in share capital. Both the provincial and federal governments have provided substantial capital grants to help cover construction costs and Assiniboine Credit Union, The Jubilee fund, the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, co-op members and other individuals have provided credit to advance the construction. “Now we need public support to complete the long-term financing required to make the Commons a success”, says Champagne. “Neechi” (often spelled “Niji”) is an Ojibwa and Cree term for friend, or sister or brother.
For further information about the share offering please click on our Investment Share Offering tab.
We are holding a press conference at 325 Dufferin Avenue on Thursday, March 8 at 9:30 am to launch our public investment share offering to help raise capital for Neechi Commons.
(This is the first time that a cooperative in Manitoba will offer Investment Shares to the general public – i.e. to non-members as well as members.)
We’re very excited about this new venture! Keep your eyes out for further information!