Located off Highway 3 in Brocket, Alta., the Piikani Travel Centre started welcoming shoppers on Friday, following more than a year of construction and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The centre is meant to serve as an additional store for locals, as well as a pit stop for travellers.
Not only does the store provide tax exempt cigarettes & fuel, convenience store necessities and an Indigenous-themed restaurant, but they also buy and sell art.
Fiddler, who is the operations manager at the Piikani Travel Centre, says those passing through the area are welcome to stop by, regardless of where they’re from. He adds highway signage can be confusing regarding who is allowed to enter the area.
Employing a couple dozen staff, the store is currently operating seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fiddler says the centre has a maximum capacity of eight people in the store at a time to accommodate COVID-19 protocol.
Due to the pandemic, a grand opening could not be held for the centre, but staff are looking forward to having finishing touches complete before holding such a celebration in a safe manner.
“There’s still a few things the store is going to be going through, like in the spring next year we’re going to be paving our parking lot and the entrance off the highway,” he said. “Right now it’s just gravel.”
Fiddler adds their most popular items so far have been the bannock doughnuts.