Bayside Convenience: One Building – Several Vocations
In Kanesatake, Mohawk entrepreneur, Gail Nelson is the proud owner of Bayside Convenience, a business that started out as a carpentry workshop and is now a convenience store.
In 1995, Gail Nelson and her husband purchased existing furniture manufacturing company “Meubles Soka”. Of course, at the time, the building included multiple pieces of equipment and was set up as a carpentry workshop wherein the couple, which incidentally also owns a construction company, produced bedroom furniture. In the early 2000s, the workshop was extended to add a space dedicated to producing chairs. But the couple moved away from this last venture because the amount of work was significant and complicated.
Approximately three years ago, Gail and Larry decided to convert the space used for painting into a convenience store. Larry, who’s been a construction contractor since 1999, ponders retirement and because he’s very active and wants to remain so, he’s looking for a project that will keep him busy. That being said, a convenience store is the perfect opportunity for the couple to work together for years to come and potentially hand over to their children.
The store holds various food items, coffee, T-shirts designed in Kanesatake, handcrafted pieces produced by community members, and many more. Recently, the building’s section that was dedicated to manufacturing chairs has been converted into a garage where the couple’s son offers oil and brake changes as well as tire installation and balancing among other things. Because he also works fulltime for his father’s construction company, the garage is open to community members on weekdays from 3:00pm to 7:00pm and on Sundays.
Currently, in the existing carpentry workshop, Gail is still building small pieces of furniture that are primarily for orders that stem from Larry’s renovation projects. Seeing as only a door separates the store from the workshop, Gail is free to work on her furniture projects when the store is quiet. Eventually though, she wants to sell off the carpentry equipment allowing for the space to be freed up and used for a new endeavour. For example, Gail is considering a kitchen where she would offer take away meals because there are no restaurants in Kanesatake. The property where the convenience store is located is quite large so there’s plenty of room for all the couple’s future projects!
In the near future, customers will also have access to fuel, a project that both owners have wanted to accomplish for quite some time now. Several steps have been undertaken but things being what they are, the project is taking more time to come to fruition. Nonetheless, the fuel tanks should be installed in the coming months. The store is handled by Gail with some help from her sister in-law when needed and is open everyday from 5:30 am to 9:00 pm. Gail hopes the addition of the gas pumps will increase their sales, which would allow her to hire an employee or two. Because the business is located on a provincial highway that runs the entire length of the community of Kanesatake and is used by many tourists during the summer, business for Bayside can only get busier and better!
To follow this company’s news, we invite you to visit their Bayside Convenience Facebook page.
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