After 34 years in the family, the 70 Mile General Store is changing hands.
70 Mile General Store co-owner Krista Vieira said she and her husband, Miguel were approached this past January by someone who wanted to buy the store.
“We always had people coming to us saying they want to buy the store. We never entertained the thought because we were not for sale,” she said.
Then, Vieira said, “I don’t know why we chose to see what an offer would look like. We had no previous thoughts on selling but it just felt right from the start. The more we dealt with the new owners, we just knew that this was a good thing”
Krista’s parents – Dale Froland and Diana March – bought the store on May 1, 1987, and, Vieira explained, “we sold May 1, 2021.”
She added all of her siblings worked in their parents’ store while growing up in 70 Mile House. She and Miguel purchased the store from her parents in 2012.
“When we received the offer, we started thinking about what we would do after the store … and mom and dad were 100 per cent on board with selling as they know, all too well, how much work the store is and agree that a change would be good for our family.”
Vieira said after it was known they were going to sell, they got a lot more offers, but “this one felt like it would be the best fit for the community.”
The new owner, Inderjit Nijjar, who is from the Lower Mainland, owns several businesses throughout British Columbia, Vieira explained.
She added Nijjar wants to run and operate the store locally and has hired Miguel’s sister, Marilia, as the store manager. Lee Lundy is the operations maintenance manager and is living in the house at the store. The 12 staff members also kept their jobs.
READ MORE: SMAC extends opening hours
“They are 100 per cent hiring locally. Everybody kept their jobs. Nobody got laid off or fired. That was big for us,” she said.
“Through the sale of the store and working with the new owners, we have a very tight working relationship. I will continue to be a part of the store. They understand and respect the small town aspect of the community.”
Vieira said there will be some changes such as upgrading the gas pumps. “We’re very excited for what they’re able to bring [to the table] and what they’re able to offer.”
She said she wanted to make sure she was passing the store onto the right people as the store has been in their family for 34 years and means a lot to her family and the community. She also feels like the store is her “baby” since the rebuild after the fire in January 2010. Building, growing and watching the store become what it is today.
“This is very scary yet an exciting time for us and we are looking forward to new adventures with our family.”
Vieira remembers her dad saying, “it’s the community’s store; we just pay the mortgage.”
Noting their girls Hannah and Makayla are 11 and 13 now, Vieira said it will be nice to spend some time with them before they are out of the house.
“I can’t believe that I was pregnant with Hannah when the store burnt down, it just doesn’t feel like that long ago.
“Basically, it just kind of happened and we decided that it was time for a change.”