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Waywayseecappo First Nation business celebrates anniversary

Wayway Food Mart has been going strong for 25 years thanks to ‘family’

Aava Cook had a wide smile as she took a seat on one of the rides.

Attendance numbers at the Wayway Food Mart’s 25th anniversary celebration in May definitely showcased how “family” has aided in the success and growth of the business located on Waywayseecappo First Nation.

Store manager, Dan Szwaluk, said over the three-day event, attendance figures were around the 2,000 mark.

“It was wonderful, the weather co-operated despite a 20-minute downpour just as Canuck Amusements of Selkirk opened the gates,” said Szwaluk. “We travelled to other communities including Morden and Winkler, to get an idea of how they make their weekends a success annually.”

The smiles, laughter and dashing from one ride to the next, showcased the passion for the sights and sounds of a midway no matter the age.

“The midway is great through the day, but it’s spectacular at night, thanks to the colourful bright lights,” said Szwaluk, adding owner Bob Mills was great to work with. “Friday night we had 400 people mingling with one another on the business strip just off Highway 45 between Rossburn and Russell. Saturday that figure rose.”

With most of the Wayway Food Mart’s business coming from the family shopper, staff supported by Chief Murray Clearsky and council aimed to find entertainment to thank everyone for their support over the years. In the past, entertainment only appealed to a narrow demographic, so it was felt investment for the 25th celebration needed to be focused on the family and on youth. Organizers were right on the mark, with one of Manitoba’s travelling midways showcasing fun, food and friendship.

Looking to the next 25 years of serving the community and area, future plans for a new store will be put in the planning stages this summer. The First Nation, home to many young people, is in a position to draw on experience and success to prepare the next generation of management and support staff to continue the successful operation of the Wayway Food Mart.

Szwaluk said for that, they have the “family” to thank.

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