Alberni District Co-op has partnered with Tseshaht Market to provide a new and improved gas bar on Highway 4.
Tseshaht Market, which is owned and operated by Tseshaht First Nation, unveiled its new Western Nations fuel pumps earlier this month. Western Nations is a fuel supply program created by Co-op for Indigenous-owned gas bars.
Claudine Watts, general manager for Tseshaht Market, explained that the contract with their previous fuel supplier had come to an end, so the nation put out a request for proposals earlier this year for a new one.
“There were five companies who responded,” said Watts. “[Co-op’s] was the best one.”
Alberni District Co-op owns three gas stations in Port Alberni, as well as a liquor store at the bottom of Johnston Road.
“We wanted to create that partnership with [Tseshaht Market],” explained Dave Heinrichs, general manager of Alberni District Co-op.
“The transition went pretty smoothly. We’re pretty excited about it.”
Although Co-op is providing fuel for Tseshaht Market, customers will not be able to use their Co-op memberships at the store or the gas bar.
“[Tseshaht Market] is still their own entity,” said Heinrichs. “It’s just Co-op supplying the fuel.”
The gas bar had a soft opening on Sunday, Oct. 16, after a four-week renovation period. The new fuel pumps will soon have pay-at-the-pump capabilities, which is new for Tseshaht Market, said Watts.
“It’s been going really well,” said Watts. “Everyone likes the new look we have.”
Tseshaht Market and Co-op held a ceremony on Saturday (Oct. 29) morning, with gift-giving, singing and drumming to celebrate the new partnership.