Local market offering customers the convenience of fuel.
Local market offering customers the convenience of fuel
“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.”
Noelle Christie of Noelle’s Country Market in Balls Creek takes a break from clearing snow to chat with regular customer Michelle Moffatt.