Business growth fuels Pikwakanagan

Mark Jones

PIKWAKANAGAN Regular visitors to the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation near Golden Lake, will have noticed the recent flourishing of new businesses.

For Nathalie Corbin, the growth started four years ago when her husband’s family started Pikwakanagan Fuels. It was the second gas bar in the small community, joining Kokomish Cafe and Gas Bar, which was founded in 1998.

Selling fuel is a very competitive business. Having two gas stations in a small community off Highway 60 was a challenge.

Corbin said, “It was definitely tough in the beginning with the gas station. There’s a lot of small family dynamics, emotions and stuff like that.”

Corbin, who gained broad business experience in the hi-tech sector in Ottawa, with skills in customer service, electrical engineering and marketing, had helped with the business plan for the new gas station. The success of the business took the family by surprise.

Cars poured into the community.

With the growth of traffic, Corbin said, the company desperately needed more room, for warehousing and to consolidate office space.

“We had a home office, an office in our cottage, an office in my mum’s house. There were offices everywhere.”

The company acquired land opposite Pikwakanagan Fuels and built the largest two storey building that was practical on the lot, with a footprint of 30’ x 120’ and included a large retail space, with parking.

“When the building was finished, we weren’t sure what we were going to use the retail space for,” Corbin said.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the December 19, 2018 Valley Gazette or subscribe online.

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