Cashier becomes social media darling

Anyone on social media in Rankin Inlet has likely seen one of Jennica Pissuk’s advertisements for convenience-and-grocery store Arctic Connection.

From her lively and humorous reports on sales and contests, Pissuk has earned many positive comments online, with views on some of her videos ranging into the thousands.

A cashier at Arctic Connection, known to many as AC, she said it all started last Christmas season when the store had a contest to win a flatscreen TV.

“No one really came, so I was like, ‘I should advertise,’” remembers Pissuk.

She posted a video advertising the contest, and it blew up from there.

“That evening, when I finished work, out of nowhere AC got busy,” she said. “So the advertisement really helped. A lot of people came.”

Customers loved it and told her it was something new and different, said Pissuk. As well, the videos help people from other communities remember there’s now an AC in Rankin Inlet, in addition to a location in Arviat.

“People forget about the new store, Arctic Connection, so that’s the reason (I advertise) too,” said Pissuk. “I want to express that there’s an Arctic Connection store and that way it can get busy and sell out here.”

Now the videos have become a regular occurrence, always generating attention online. Store owner Ashleigh Still couldn’t be more pleased.

“We have so many amazing staff that we like to establish such trust to give our employees the autonomy to experiment and pursue their ideas without constant supervision, and Jennica has taken that to such a creative level that we couldn’t be more proud of her,” said Still. “She is joyful, lively, making us amused with her daily positivity.”

Still added that the videos spread the message that it’s good to be yourself and be creative.

Pissuk said she likes to make people laugh and smile.

“It’s something different for others,” she said. “A few people even said, ‘first Inuk in Nunavut to make advertisement.’”

Beyond that, Pissuk said she’s encouraging people to enter the workforce.

“The reason too I advertise is to make work interesting for others, to inspire them to work,” she said. “I would see people posting on Facebook, ‘Where can I find a job? It’s hard. How can I make income fast?’”

For Pissuk, there’s no embarrassment in working in retail.

“I know people are embarrassed to work as a cashier and they think it’s low pay,” she said. “I’ll tell them, it’s better than not getting paid, and at least it’s enough to make a bit of profit.”

Still knows Pissuk and other staff are talented, and she wants to provide a springboard for them.

“You never know what opportunity will come with taking those steps,” said Still about Pissuk’s videos.

She added that as a convenience store, the company is aware its staff won’t be with them forever. She says she constantly encourages students who work at the store to pursue education and other opportunities that come their way.

“As for Jennica’s case, I wish for an amazing connection to come her way where she can take her humour and great qualities she carries to another level,” said Still. “We just want to be a stepping stone for the people who want to work for our company. We always want bigger and better for everyone that crosses our paths.”

Though some have suggested Pissuk get into acting, she’s not in a rush.

“I’m enjoying working here, it keeps my mind busy,” she said. “Few times I wasn’t working and it was getting to my mind and it was getting boring, so I was so happy when the Arctic Connection hired me. It keeps my mind off things.”

Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kivalliq News