By Brenlee Coates
Neechi Commons, a community-owned restaurant, supermarket and artist market in the North End, just celebrated its second year of operation.
Receiving the Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award last year, positive response surrounds the co-operative that gives hiring priority to Aboriginal youth and area residents, while helping to foster the neighbourhood’s economy and revitalization.
The concept itself is a noble one, but a hard one to put into practice.
General Manager Frank Parkes has been fielding questions about inner-city hiring from all over the world since guiding the organization through its successful preliminary years.
The business complex, located at 865 Main St., is deliberately positioned in a community that faces tough socioeconomic problems and barriers of employment to offer them opportunities.
Since opening, some 50 jobs have been created, with most of the jobs being granted to people who live a stone’s throw away from the building.
Many of the community members face challenges with literacy and numeracy, many have addictions issues prevalent in their families, some have intellectual or physical disabilities, and some are even transitioning out of homelessness.
But every person who walks into Neechi Commons has the chance to secure employment. Continue reading Creating opportunity in the North End