Flying Dust First Nation is looking at bigger and better opportunities with an expansion project currently underway adjacent to the local ice rink.
When all is said and done, Snipe and Celly Sports Excellence – the sporting goods store located within PineRidge Ford Place – will grow into a 6,000-square-foot retail outlet while the arena itself will be adjoined to a brand new training facility.
“The store will have an upstairs portion for retail space as well,” remarked manager Clay DeBray. “As for the other new portion, it will feature an indoor walking/running track, two batting cages for baseball along with a pitching facility, we’ll have a golf simulator, and a wide-open gym concept along with change rooms, showers and a concession area.”
DeBray went on to say the growth of Snipe and Celly Sports Excellence resulted in the need to create more space.
“The addition of a training centre will allow for members of both communities, Flying Dust and Meadow Lake, to be able to stay physically fit,” he added.
Work on the project began several months ago, but an official completion date has yet to be determined.
“We have the walls and the roof all done and insulated,” DeBray noted. “The next phase will see the floor poured, following which the electrical and plumbing will be installed. As for when it will be done? That is the toughest question right now. Because of COVID-19, a lot of equipment and other things we need are back ordered. It’s one of those things where we’re trying to get it up and running as soon as we can.”
DeBray said the focus of the project has now shifted to having the store done first.
“The training facility will come afterward because the majority of the work will be on that side whereas the store will have more of an industrial look to it,” he said. “It’s hard to set a date in stone, but it’s coming along at a good pace. My personal goal is to find a way we can bring our inventory that’s currently in our lobby and bleacher section into the new store by Christmas, and to have the training portion completed by spring. If we’re in there sooner, the greater it is.”
According to DeBray, it’s Flying Dust First Nation leadership’s goal to have Snipe and Celly Sports Excellence become the largest sporting goods retailer in northwest Saskatchewan.
“We’re still pretty young in this business,” he said. “I started it three years ago and we have been part of the Sports Excellence group for less than a year. By building partnerships and bringing in more communities to benefit from the services we offer, and to achieve the goal set out for us, we need a bigger retail space and to bring in more product.”
One such community partner is Canoe Lake Cree First Nation.
“This means a lot to us because now we won’t need to travel all the way to Saskatoon to get the proper hockey equipment for our kids,” remarked Canoe Lake chief Francis X. Iron. “It saves us about 300 kilometres in extra gas and mileage to go all the way to Saskatoon.”
Iron also said it’s important for First Nations to support other First Nations.
“It’s proper for one reserve to help out another reserve in terms of allowing businesses to succeed,” he said. “We give our full support, 100 per cent, to what Flying Dust is doing. It will help all the northern communities.”