About Us

Senior Management:

Louise (Desmarais) Champagne, Coordinator, Management Team; President of Neechi Foods Co-Op since its inception 27 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.

Gilbert Kohlman, Meat & Grocery Manager; highly experienced senior butcher and meat industry specialist; former rancher.

Kelley Hyatt, Food Services Manager & Head Chef; former restaurant manager at Oak Hammond Marsh conservation site; extensive background in cost accounting.

Jade McIvor, Operations Manager of Neechi Niche arts store; gallery curator and events planner.

Russ Rothney, Financial Manger & Promotions Coordinator; previously Community Economic Development Manager, Assiniboine Credit Union; Treasurer since Neechi’s inception.

David Kerr, Accountant;  former senior cooperative business officer with the Province of Manitoba and chartered accountant; specialist regarding cooperative financial and business structures.

Dennis Champagne, consultant, plant systems and information technology; background in power engineering and computer engineering.


Board of Directors:

Louise (Desmarais) Champagne, President

Candace Irvine, Vice-President

Jade McIvor, Secretary

Russ Rothney, Treasurer

Lorissa Flett

Sherry Yellowhead


With the opening of Neechi Commons at 865 Main Street, Neechi has greatly expanded its North End tradition as a well known Aboriginal grocery and specialty store. It is truly a community store, based around the principles of an Aboriginal owned and operated worker co-operative. Neechi Foods is open to the public seven days a week. We are well-known for our oven-fresh bannock, fresh and frozen wild blueberries, wild rice, local fruits and vegetables, Manitoba-caught fish, specialty jams, hand-crafted moccasins, Aboriginal artwork and children’s books. The new Neechi Commons offers a neighbourhood supermarket, restaurant, fruit and vegetable courtyard and arts store. Previously price competitive with most supermarkets, Neechi now offers the highest quality and lowest meat prices in Winnipeg.

Neechi Foods (Neechi meaning friend/sister/brother in Cree and Ojibwa) started regular store operations at Neechi Foods Community Store at 325 Dufferin Avenue at the beginning of 1990. Neechi  features a wide variety of economically priced Co-Op label grocery items and offers city-wide delivery. Neechi staff always have been sensitive to the health and well-being of neighborhood children and continues to subsidize a “kids only” fruit basket at the old store. For health reasons Neechi has never sold cigarettes, although tobacco is sold for ceremonial purposes.

Neechi is the recipient of Heritage Winnipeg’s Special President’s Award  for 2015 for the heritage restoration work done at Neechi Commons. Neechi is the 2013 winner of the Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award from the Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba.

Neechi Foods Co-Op Ltd. is a member of the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation, the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce and Food Matters Manitoba. Neechi is a purchase partner of Local Investment Toward Employment (LITE) and is both a purchasing and a supplier partner with Winnipeg’s Social Purchasing Portal.

Neechi brochure 2012: Brochure Sept 2012

3 Responses to About Us

  1. maggieg says:

    Beautiful store, people, restaurant! Very impressive. Food at the restaurant is absolutely delicious. Thank you for this wonderful place in our community.

  2. Calvin says:

    What a great accomplishment for the First Nations people.

  3. Ariane says:

    I’m so proud of this huge endeavor that the Indigenous community has founded and built in the heart of one of Winnipeg’s historically rich neighborhoods. A huge thank you and congratulations for serving the neighborhood and to all of those who made this place successful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s