Lo­cal busi­ness of­fers gro­cery shut­tle ser­vice

Ja­son This­tle of Pre­ci­sion Au­to­mo­tive help­ing peo­ple with­out trans­porta­tion fol­low­ing North­mart fire

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY THOM BARKER

A com­mu­nity-spir­ited busi­ness has stepped up to help Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay res­i­dents with­out ac­cess to trans­porta­tion get their gro­ceries fol­low­ing the Sept. 15 North­mart fire.

“Peo­ple are very shocked, to say the least, and ev­ery­one’s kind of on edge, ’cause there’s lim­ited gro­cery shop­ping al­ready and North­mart had a lot of house­hold items and cloth­ing, so it is a re­ally big hit,” said Jenny Seaward, com­mu­nity and youth di­rec­tor for the Sal­va­tion Army.

She said the ma­jor­ity of the Sal­va­tion Army’s clients are lo­cated in the val­ley, so most of them did go to North­mart — par­tic­u­larly those who don’t have ve­hi­cles.

“We have a food voucher pro­gram that they would get the choice to go to North­mart or Co-op, so now the Co-op is their only op­tion,” she said.

Ja­son This­tle of Pre­ci­sion Au­to­mo­tive said he first learned of the prob­lem on Face­book and wanted to do some­thing about it.

“I no­ticed that some peo­ple on there were say­ing the town should put a ser­vice on to help the peo­ple who don’t have any means to get (to the Co-op),” he said. “We own the car (ren­tal) agency here, so we’ve got enough ve­hi­cles in our arse­nal here that we can help out a lit­tle bit.”

With en­cour­age­ment from town coun­cil, they de­cided to run a shut­tle Mon­days, Wed­nes­days and Fri­days — and de­mand was im­me­di­ate. He said on the first day, Sept. 21, they ran six or seven times, and by noon on Sept. 24, had al­ready done an­other six trips.

Seaward has been re­fer­ring peo­ple to the shut­tle ser­vice.

“(Ja­son is) so will­ing, and he’s been here in min­utes,” she said. “I’m sure he is very busy, but he’s been very ac­com­mo­dat­ing. We’re very thank­ful for him.”

Su­san Lyall, of­fice man­ager at Ter­ring­ton Co-op, said they have no­ticed an uptick in busi­ness since the fire, but she had no way of telling how much of it was due to This­tle’s shut­tle. Nev­er­the­less, she com­mended This­tle’s com­mu­ni­ty­mind­ed­ness.

“We all think it’s a won­der­ful thing, and we ap­plaud him,” she said.

For his part, This­tle down­played his ac­tions.

“We’ve been here seven years and peo­ple’s been help­ing us out, so we’re just giv­ing back,” he said.

He said they would con­tinue to run the ser­vice as long as North­mart is closed.

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