Good news for those hitting the road near Enterprise, N.W.T. — drivers looking for fuel or snacks will now have the opportunity to make a pit stop at a new gas station.
Meika McDonald, one of th co-owners of Gateway Gas, says they hope to have it up and running for this weekend.
She says people seem to be excited to have a gas station again — and one that's much closer to home. The community has gone about a year and a half to two years without one, McDonald said.
"It kind of saves us the extra 70 kilometres … distance to fuel up," McDonald said.
"And I also think the community of Enterprise is excited about having some services too."
Ron Pierrot, a truck driver who is frequently on the road, told CBC it will be a benefit to other fellow travellers who will no longer need to divert to Hay River, N.W.T., to fuel up.
"It's going to be a real benefit to to the North because [Enterprise is] kind of like the gateway to the North, and gateway from the North to the South," he said.
The station will consist of a convenience store along with pumps for gas and diesel. There's also a hotel attached to the property, but it's not ready for opening yet.
"I'm just I'm doing a phased approach. So I'm going to get the gas and convenience up and running. And then I'd like to tackle the kitchen part of that. And then I'm going to tackle the hotel," McDonald said.
They've so far done a few renovations already, including and overhaul of the bathroom, putting up a new sign, updating the lighting and fixing the siding. When it comes to the kitchen, McDonald hopes to be able to offer a small menu.
"It's a long distance traveled to not have maybe a warm food or a fresh sandwich," she said, adding it will be more of a takeout style, since there isn't a lot of room to sit down.
McDonald said they bought the business in January 2020 with hopes of opening it April 1, 2020.
"Just with ... the pandemic and our border, I had to postpone and just really think about my plan for this year," she said.
"I think that northerners are truly stay-cationing and checking out our territory and so I decided to give it a try this year."
While McDonald says she's been in business in Fort Smith, N.W.T., for a long time, she's never run a gas station or convenience store.
"I'm in a bit of a learning curve. And I'm excited," she said.
For now they will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Once they've got more staff they are hoping to increase the hours of operation.