Business brisk as Salt River First Nation opens Tim Hortons in Fort Smith

There’s now one more place in the Northwest Territories to get a double-double, as the Salt River First Nation has opened a new Tim Hortons on their reserve land in Fort Smith.

Although the restaurant — attached to the Petro Canada gas station on Salt River reserve land — doesn’t celebrate its grand opening until next week, Allen Stanzell, the CEO of the Salt River First Nation, says the community response has been “a little overwhelming,” with lines a regular occurrence at the new coffee shop.

“Probably a bit busier than some of us on the ground were expecting,” he said. “But the Tim Hortons people that were involved in this aren’t surprised at all.”

The popular coffee franchise — the first Tim Hortons in the territory outside of Yellowknife — was purchased by the Salt River First Nation, and the income will be reinvested back into its own budget.

Based on the number of customers so far, Stanzell says it could be a good investment.

“It’s an institution for Canadians,” he said. “It’s just something we all seem to be proud of, but the response here is indicative of what we all think about Tim’s. So it’s good to see.”

The Salt River Tim Hortons is not the first location of the iconic Canadian chain to have opened on First Nations territory. Tim Hortons franchises have been opened on the Little Black Bear First Nation in Saskatchewan, the Westbank First Nation in Kelowna, British Columbia, and on the Six Nations reserve in Ontario, among others.

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