It is officially named the Chippewa Trading Post, but everyone affectionately knows it as The Trading Post or ‘the Post,’ located at 1332 Great Northern Road.
SooToday dropped by to chat with the friendly staff at the landmark store to recognize their service to the community with some of our snazzy coffee mugs.
“We’re a one-stop outdoor store, a shopping centre for people who want hunting and fishing licenses, whether you’re a resident or non-resident, along with our souvenir shop,” said Orest Witiw, Trading Post co-manager.
A self-serve gas station is on site for travellers right next to the Post.
“We carry ammunition for people in the hunting season (but no firearms), we sell canoes, ice fishing shacks, ATV trailers . . . we stock pretty much everything to do with the outdoors,” Orest said.
Tourists from all over the world (and Canadians of course) have stopped by the Post.
“We get people from Europe, just about every state in the United States, travellers going through on Highway 17 from east to west…we just had a crew of guys coming in here from Switzerland, people from Italy, Poland, pretty much the whole world.”
Orest said visitors are amazed by the immensity and beauty of Canada as they travel through.
“They (tourists from Europe) aren’t used to seeing wide open country with not a lot of buildings in it.”
“I enjoy meeting all the travellers that are passing through. It’s different every day, but we have all our local regulars as well, especially when you get into ice fishing season. December and January is really busy, and very busy again in the spring with walleye fishing and the spring bear hunt, then the fall hunt.
“We’ll have dozens of people waiting for licenses, it gets busy,” Orest chuckled.
The Trading Post, it could be said, is the anchor store of Frontier Village, which also includes a host of souvenirs available from The Totem Pole, several eateries offering pasta and pizza, chicken and fish, fudge, nearly 70 flavours of ice cream from the Big Moose Ice Cream Parlour and stylish clothing for men and women from Krush.
The Post is locally owned and operated (for the past seven years by George and Susan Koprash).
The Trading Post is built on what was, at one time, a logging yard.
The Post employs about 12 people (employing more staff in the summer months) and is open year-round, operating seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight throughout the summer, then from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the fall.
“Our location is one thing, but we pride ourselves on our customer service. We make people feel welcome,” Orest said.