Lo­cal mar­ket of­fer­ing cus­tomers the con­ve­nience of fuel.

Lo­cal mar­ket of­fer­ing cus­tomers the con­ve­nience of fuel

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY JULIE COLLINS jcollins@cb­post.com

“I hear it on a daily ba­sis from cus­tomers who say they are so happy we’re here. It’s a lot of work, but we made the com­mit­ment when we opened to pay at­ten­tion to the feed­back from our cus­tomers.” Owner Noelle Christie

Rec­og­niz­ing the needs of their cus­tomers has helped Noelle Christie and Michael Mac­Don­ald grow their small busi­ness.

Fuel pumps are the new­est ad­di­tion to Noelle’s Coun­try Mar­ket in Balls Creek, which opened in July 2012.

“We knew right off the bat that we would have to be more than a con­ve­nience store if we were go­ing to sur­vive,” said owner Noelle Christie, who man­ages the day-to-day op­er­a­tion of the coun­try mar­ket.

Self-serve gas pumps were a part of the orig­i­nal devel­op­ment plan for the prop­erty, which has quick ac­cess off High­way 125.

The process took over a year to com­plete and the pumps were in­stalled and ready for busi­ness in April 2016.

“Even with the bak­ery, the pre­vi­ous four years were a strug­gle. But it’s a to­tally dif­fer­ent busi­ness with fuel,” Christie said. “There is quite a lot in­volved be­fore you even get ap­proval, but it has paid off. We are a lot busier now, things are look­ing much bet­ter.”

Michelle Mof­fatt, who lives in Cox­heath, loves the con­ve­nience of be­ing able to stop for gas on her way to work in North Syd­ney.

“It’s also im­por­tant to sup­port lo­cal busi­ness in our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Noelle’s Coun­try Mar­ket has four full-time staff and Christie ex­pects she will have to add ad­di­tional staff lead­ing in to the busy sum­mer sea­son.

“We have cus­tomers from all over — Glace Bay, New Water­ford, Whit­ney Pier, Bois­dale, Bras d’Or for ex­am­ple who stop in for baked goods, a bite to eat if they are on the road and now they can stop in for fuel,” said Christie.

“You have to sup­port it to keep it and for us, we are so glad that peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate our ef­forts. I hear it on a daily ba­sis from cus­tomers who say they are so happy we’re here. It’s a lot of work, but we made the com­mit­ment when we opened to pay at­ten­tion to the feed­back from our cus­tomers.”

She’s float­ing the idea of adding a food truck to the prop­erty in the spring.

“Our home­made pizza is re­ally pop­u­lar, but it would be nice to of­fer cus­tomers ac­cess to a larger menu.”

Christie, who worked at the Balls Creek Con­ve­nience Store when she was 16 years old, said for as long as she can re­mem­ber there has al­ways been a store at that lo­ca­tion.

“It’s a big part of the his­tory of this com­mu­nity. The build­ing had been va­cant for some time be­fore we pur­chased the prop­erty,” she said. “We have other lo­cal busi­nesses in the area that sup­port the mar­ket, which is a big help as well. We al­ways want to grow and for­tu­nately have great staff that is on the same page. We are al­ways try­ing to bring new things to our com­mu­nity. It’s hard work, but hard work pays off.”

JULIE COLLINS/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Noelle Christie of Noelle’s Coun­try Mar­ket in Balls Creek takes a break from clear­ing snow to chat with reg­u­lar cus­tomer Michelle Mof­fatt.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.