It was an exciting day for quite a few stakeholders on Friday, Nov. 20 as Neyaskweyak Group of Companies (NGCI) had the grand opening of “TacoTime” in Ermineskin, the first ever restaurant of the franchise on a First Nation reserve in Canada.
The fast food outlet also makes history in that it is the first in Maskwacis of an internationally known restaurant chain and the first and so far only one on Highway 2A between Red Deer and Edmonton.
Trent Blind, chair of the NGCI Board of Directors said the idea of opening a TacoTime outlet at their gas station on the highway was conceived about a year ago and after a quick negotiation process was turned into a reality. He added that their franchise agreement with TacoTime would remain in force for 10 years and the business would employ some 25 Ermineskin residents on a permanent basis.
Blind said, together with the gas station, they had invested a total of about half a million dollars for the project.
Steve Nickersen of TacoTime, vice president for franchise development, said they were happy to see their first outlet on a First Nation reserve in their 37-year-old operation in Canada. He said they provided training for the staff under their agreement with NGCI.
After Mountain Cree band performed an honour song and speeches were made by dignitaries, including Ermineskin Chief Randy Ermineskin and Montana Band chief Daryl Strongman, the ribbon cutting ceremony completed the grand opening with participants enjoying free tacos.