Neechi Commons Community Business Complex is now open and on its way to becoming a major focal point for commerce and development in Winnipeg’s North-end.
The building’s two storeys and basement provide 30,000 sq.ft. of commercial space on a total lot size of almost 50,000 sq.ft.
Neechi Commons will include a neighbourhood supermarket, produce courtyard, cafeteria restaurant, bakery, fish market, a specialty foods boutique, Aboriginal books, arts, crafts, music and clothing, a seasonal farmers market, and hardware.
Click here for a full overview of the Neechi Commons project (with photos):
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Who is providing technical support?
Neechi Foods and a sister cooperative, The Northern Star Worker Co-op (www.northernstar.coop ; email@example.com), have a not-for-profit management support arm, Collaboration Co-op Development Services Inc. The Collaboration Co-op has a service provider pool of very dedicated and experienced professionals with relevant technical skills, experience in the retail food sector and a strong grasp of cooperative business models. Through the Collaboration Co-op over 50 people worked on the business planning of Neechi Commons, mostly as volunteers, over the past three years. In addition, talented new staff are now on board. The following people are current members of Neechi`s Management Team or are continuing as advisers following project work group leadership roles:
Terry Thompson, special advisor to Neechi Management Team; former Senior Business Development Manager with Arctic Cooperatives Ltd, which supplies retail merchandise, hotel, restaurant, cable, fuel and shipping services and management support to Canada’s largest network of Aboriginal co-ops.
Louise (Desmarais) Champagne, President of Neechi Foods Co-Op since its inception 23 years ago; recipient of the Cooperative Achievement Award from the Canadian Cooperative Association and the Worker Co-op Merit Award from the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation; initiator of Payuk Inter-tribal (housing) Co-op; and co-chair of the Winnipeg Native Child Welfare Coalition that created the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Canada’s first urban Aboriginal child and family support agency.
David Kerr, former chartered accountant and senior cooperative business officer with the Province of Manitoba; widely regarded as Manitoba’s leading technical expert on cooperatives.
Beatrice (Culleton) Mosoinier, co-manager of the ”Neechi Niche” arts store and cultural centre; celebrated Aboriginal author.
Arlea Ashcroft, co-manager of the arts store and cultural centre; talented artist and gallery curator.
Rhian Brynjolson, artist, illustrator and teacher; coordinated the arts store/centre work group.
John Schillinger, Neighbourhood Supermarket Manager; previously Retail Manager, Leaf Rapids Consumers Co-op; former owner, manager and accountant overseeing gas bars and providing newspaper and ad distribution services.
Talia Syrie, Food Services Manager; award-winning owner of the Tallest Poppy Restaurant.
Russ Rothney, General Manager and Neechi Commons Project Manager; previously Community Economic Development Manager with Assiniboine Credit Union.
Iain Brynjolson, Produce Manager; Food for Folks organizer; former supervisor at the The Forks produce store.
Nanette McKay, coordinated the Foods Services Work Group; passionate chef; seasoned community development worker.
Lisa Anderson, Senior Human Resources Consultant, Investors Group, and former Manager of Employment and Diversity, Assiniboine Credit Union.
Dennis Champagne, computer engineering, and Information Technology Consultant with Neechi Commons.
Christine Merasty and Frank Parkes, Staffing and Staff Development; multi-sector personnel, managerial, and administrative backgrounds.
Simon Hall, Chartered Accountant.
Blair Hamilton, Dungannon Consulting, a leading Cooperative Development consultant specializing in employee run businesses, and co-op housing development officer with SEED Winnipeg, a prominent, not-for profit community economic development agency.
Dennis Lewycky, labour, communications and community development specialist, and Executive Director of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.
Wins Bridgman, Marcella Poirier, Director and Managing Director, BridgmanCollaborative Architecture.