Interview With North West’s Manager In Training: Patricia Lee Grant


Patricia Lee Grant is a highly qualified Store Manager. Present in this industry since she finished high school, she has worked for years with great names such as Walmart and Zellers. Now, she’s training to become a store manager for The North West Company Inc. .



The North West Company Inc. is a Canadian multinational grocery and retail company with stores in Western Canada, Northern Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and several other countries and US territories in Oceania and the Caribbean.

The company’s history is rich. In the early 1700s, the French controlled much of the area now called Canada. Because of this, their traders had a large and powerful fur trading network. After the conquest of New France by the British in 1763, the French traders founded the North West Company (at the time headquartered in Montreal city, British North America). The only financial threat was their competition with an English company called The Hudson Bay. This competition led to impacts of various kinds. The fur trade created conflict which increased tension between the British, French and the Aboriginals. The beaver population was on the edge of extinction, while the interior zone of Canada was getting explored and numerous fur trade posts were being built.
In the year 1821 the two companies merged into the Hudson’s Bay Company. The enterprise continued growing in power, first under the name of Fur Trade Department and then the Northern Store Division of Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1987, this division got acquired by a group of investors and in the 90s it was relaunched as The North West Company. Now it’s a publicly traded company, composed mainly of the old HBC Northern Stores Division and the Alaska Commercial Company, which, as the name suggests, manages the Alaskan operations.



On 2014 the North West Company Inc. had:

  • 4,921 employees working in Canada
  • 1,726 employees working in its international operations in Alaska, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean.

6,647 employees in total.

The North West Company Inc. also holds a record, being the largest employer of Aboriginal people in the business sector.

Subdividing their stores in Canadian and international operations, and also in the banners they work under, this is the complete list of their activities:



  • Northern (122 stores) – Northern Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon,
  • NorthMart (6 locations across the Canadian Arctic territories, excluding Yukon Territory and in Manitoba) – Cross Bay, Manitoba, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and Hay River & Inuvik,
  • Northwest Territories
  • Quickstop (5 locations)
  • Giant Tiger (31 locations in Western Canada; operated under franchise from Giant Tiger Ltd.)
  • Valu Lots (1 location)
  • Solo Market (1 location)
  • Price Chopper (1 location; purchased from Empire Company)
  • North West Company Fur Marketing (2 locations)
  • Crescent Multi Foods – distributor operating in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and northern Ontario
    Inuit Art Marketing Service
  • North Star Air – Cargo and Passenger airline based in Thunder Bay, Ontario.



  • AC Value Center (30 stores in Alaska)
  • Quickstop (3 stores in Alaska)
  • Cost-U-Less (13 stores in American Samoa, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Sint Maarten, and the US Virgin Islands)
  • Island Fresh Supermarket (1 store in Guam)
  • Pacific Alaska Wholesale – distributor based in Anchorage




(This Twitter profile is a fan page Patricia Lee Grant created and dedicated to the country singer Codie Prevost’s)



Official website




The North West Company

The North West Company 77 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB
Canada R3C 1A3
(204) 943-0881

General Inquiries –
Community Support –
Media –
Investor Inquiries –
1 (204) 943-0881 or 1 (800) 782-0391
Healthy Horizons Foundation –
Healthy Horizons Marathon –
Career Opportunitiesclick here

The North West Company International offices

Anchorage 550 West 64th Avenue, Suite 200
Anchorage, Alaska USA

Bellevue 3633 136th PL SE Suite 110
Bellevue, Washington USA



1. Good morning, how are you?

I am fantastic, had a great night with friends, tired but great.


2. In the past you’ve worked as a store manager for Walmart and Zellers, and now you’re training to become a store manager for North West. Until you’ll finish the training, what is your current job title in the company?

I am called a MIT which is a Manager in Training


3. What made you decide to stop working for Walmart and Zellers, and to later start working for North West?

Walmart, I did not like the direction the company was going. Zellers was different. The owner of Hudson Bay Richard Baker decided he would sell the leases of the Zellers properties to Target which is a big American company. The ones Target did not want just closed. All Zellers went into liquidation. The last year of operation I managed two stores at one time.


4. What are the tasks and duties of a store manager?

It would be shorter to say what doesn’t a store manager do. The main function of a store manager is to make profit for the company. I am a manager that leads by example. I have never asked one of my folks to do something I have not done my self. That includes taking out the trash. You are responsible for everything that happens within your four walls. You need to make money and control expenses. You need to at least have a understanding of every roll in your store. You need to be a fantastic problem solver.


5. What kind of training do aspiring store managers have to go through exactly?

Well, me, I started at the bottom with Walmart being a part time stocker, which means I stocked the shelves. I wanted to move up because before I had kids I was a store manager for a small company called Evans and Kirk which became Wilsons which over time was bought out by Grand and Toy. I had worked hard there and was the youngest store manager they had in Canada. I became a department manager for Walmart and learned everything I could. I became a Assistant manager for them. They have a training program for that. Then over time a co-manager and then store manager. I worked for Walmart for 9 years before I received my own store.


6. In your opinion, what does it take to do this job?

It is a very stressful job. You need to be a great problem solver. You need to be willing to give up your own time to help your store succeed.


7. As a store manager, do you have to travel often? If yes, what are the places you’ve been traveling to because of this job? You have to travel for training or meetings depending where you live. I am from a small town outside of Ottawa, I have been flown several times to Toronto for both meetings and training with Walmart. I have travelled to other cities with Zellers for meetings as well. When I was given my first store with Walmart I moved to a place called Digby Nova Scotia to open a brand-new store. Taking on the position of MIT with the North West Company it has taken me far from my home to a remote place called Pukatawagan, Manitoba.


8. If I may ask, what is the highest annual income you’ve ever earned a store manager? And what is the lowest?

This company ism different for pay because you also have a house, food and utilities allowance. I was lucky enough to once be part of that $100000 plus club with my pay and bonus. However, an “average” pay I have received as store manager would be $73000. Bonus can change with the company and how you can obtain them so I guess it’s safe to say that. The start salary isn’t nearly as high though. Starting a new position always pays less at first, for example my start salary while training has been at $43000, only to climb up later.


9. What are the pros and cons of working as a store manager?

I get a Huge sense of pride being a store manager. I enjoy meeting people and training folks. When the store succeeds so do you. It requires a lot of your time that you must be ready to give. There are many hours that I have worked and not been paid for. You do not always have to move as I have.


10. How is your experience with North West Company so far?

It has been very good. It started by flying in a small plane for the first time. That was very different. I did not know what to expect coming to a remote community such as this. The company explained everything to me and showed me movies on the communities were like. But you still wonder. I live in a house they provide me. The place is absolutely beautiful. When it rains you need boots as there is a ton of MUD. The store is located just outside of a Indian reserve. The reason I came was to witness a different culture.The store is great. The store is not only a general merchandise and grocery store but is also is the post office, Gas station. The bank, the income tax place. It is sort of the center of the community.


11. If you could change anything about this company, would you change it? If yes, what would you change?

I would change the number of times we receive our freight. We at present only receive it by train once a week. We end up out of stock on a lot of items.


12. Do you co-work with someone?

There are other key folks that I work with every day that also live where I do. My main contact is the store manager Lisa. She is my source of information for my training program.


13. What is North West’s main goal as a company?

It would be to service small remote communities.


14. Do you know what are North West’s plans for the future? If yes, can you tell us or is it a professional secret a store manager must keep?

Nope have not been with them long enough.


15. When did you first have the idea of working as a store manager?

My first thoughts of becoming a store manager started when I was young. About 18 years old.


16. How did you start working toward this career goal?

I finished high school and did not know what direction I wanted my life to go in. I found a job and thought I would work for a bit and decide what I would do with my life. I worked hard and became store manager and I never looked back.


17. When did you have the chance you’ve been waiting for/when did your career start?

It all started as a teenager when I took on the job with Evans and Kirk. Becoming a store manager for the large box stores was more work but I love learning so I just worked hard and had to prove that I could do the job. It sometimes was tough but I persisted.


18. Are you satisfied with this kind of job in general?

Yes I do enjoy it. I love to learn and then teach I others what I know. It may be a lot of work and hours but I do enjoy it.


19. What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to follow the same career path?

Do not take on this challenge if you want a 9-5 job. I have worked over night, and every holiday there is, you need to be committed.


20. What is your main goal in life?

I guess the same as most people to be successful, enjoy my great family.


21. In your opinion, what are the most important things in life?

Guess I am not living that right now because I believe it is family and friends…


22. Do you have any dreams (both related and unrelated to your job) you’d like to achieve?

I want to successfully become a store manager with this company. Work for them for a few years then retire back home near Ottawa. I also do a Twitter page for a Canadian county singer by the name of Codie Prevost. (@CodieFans) My goal is to grow this page and help him. I want to meet him one day. There are so many talented folks I have met by doing this page. It is a fantastic pass time for me living alone with just my dog for company right now.

23. What are your projects for the future?

When I have had my fill of being a store manager I just want to be a wife, mom, grandma, sister, aunt and friend. Go back home and enjoy everyone and find time to relax at my trailer.


24. Who are the people whom have inspired you the most?

I think a person by the name of Curtis Olson that works for Giant Tiger now but was the person that promoted me to store manager in Walmart. Also in the same time frame Rod Fleming who was my store manager at the time I was given my first store. He also is with Giant Tiger now.


25. Is there anything else you’d like to tell the world?

How about I now have a new friend named Nick that I met because he did a interview on my singer… lol
My new adventure has taken me away from my family but understanding a new culture is something I always wanted to do. I still have my health and if I was ever going to take on this adventure it was now or never, You need to have the support of your family to do something like I have done. I have the best family in the world! Yes I miss them all but I keep myself busy. Thank You Nick


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