After sitting dormant for an entire year, the Norquay Grocery Market, located on Main Street in Norquay, has reopened with a new owner and fresh vision.
Business owner, Won Lee, from Edmonton, spent two years driving through communities around the entire province before settling on the purchase of his first grocery store in Pelly. After a full year in business, the Pelly Grocery Market is now thriving. Lee reported that the Pelly location sales are up nearly 150 per cent and he has decided to expand with the opening of a second location in Norquay.
“People tell me they love the fresh baked bread we make in house,” explained Lee on a phone interview with The Kamsack Times. “They also love the quality of the produce we bring in.”
Getting the store ready for opening was not without its challenges. Lee first had to deal with a flooded basement, a broken freezer, and had to install new pipes.
“It has been a lot of work,” said Lee. “But I have seen such great success with the Pelly store, I truly believe the Norquay store could be just as good.”
To make his businesses successful, Lee has made the difficult decision to live and work away from his family in Edmonton.
“My wife and two children still live in Edmonton,” explained Lee. “It takes me nine hours to drive home. I have not been home since November, and before that, it was March.”
Lee said that his children are happy in Edmonton with their school and friends and he didn’t want to disturb that lifestyle for them.
“Sometimes my wife will drive to me and stay for a few days,” said Lee. “We make it work. It won’t be like this forever, but it is what I need to do to support my family for now.”
With the two stores keeping Lee busy, he says he doesn’t have time for much else.
“My life is pretty boring,” admitted Lee. “I don’t drink, smoke or gamble. I am an early bird. I’m typically up at 5:30 and by 6:00 a.m. I am heading out to check on both stores. I work and I rest, and that’s about it.”
The Norquay Grocery Market sells freshly baked breads, fresh produce, dairy products and tobacco, among other general grocery items. Lee hopes to open a deli in the near future and looks forward to servicing the Norquay community with all of the goodies that the Pelly customers have come to love.