Construction starts on Island’s first national fast food franchise operation

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Tim Hortons scheduled

LITTLE CURRENT – Construction work is rapidly proceeding on the future Little Current Tim Hortons location at the corner of Manitowaning Road (Highway 6) and Draper Street, and the franchisee says he hopes to officially open Manitoulin Island’s first foreign fast food chain by the start of November this year.

“I’m happy things are going; I’m excited. It’s been a long process and finally everything is a go,” said Denis Lefebvre, franchise owner of Tim Hortons locations in Blind River, McKerrow and Espanola.

Mr. Lefebvre is additionally  preparing to open a Thessalon Tim Hortons which also faced some delays in the construction process due to the pandemic. The setbacks will result in both new locations opening around the same time, making the late fall a busy season for his operations.

Streetwise Holdings is the project’s developer. President Patrick McBane told The Expositor that he is excited to see work progressing in earnest and gave an estimated timeline of 17 to 20 weeks until completion if all continues as planned.

Crews from E Corbiere and Sons could be seen working at the site since Monday, June 15. Mr. McBane said Streetwise believed strongly in involving local tradespeople to work on the projects to keep the local economy strong.

“There’s more than just E Corbiere and Sons, too; it’s been a concerted effort through the tender process to ensure that there’s local trades involved from building to surveying,” he said.

Mr. Lefebvre said coming to Manitoulin Island was exciting for the company and he was happy to bring some of Tim Hortons’ benefits to Islanders.

“We’re going to do what we do in every community across Canada, offer our great products and great coffee and support community initiatives. We’ll be taking part in Camp Day, smile cookies, Timbits hockey, Timbits soccer and helping to raise money for places like the food bank and the hospital,” he said.

By his estimates, the Little Current Tim Hortons will employ roughly 30 to 35 people when it opens for business, with three quarters of those employees at full-time status.

Business has been difficult in the last couple of months for Mr. Lefebvre’s other locations during COVID-19 but he said numbers are beginning to pick up once more. Although it will not compare to last summer, he expected to be able to survive the challenging times.

He added that he has already stopped by the site to look at the construction process and was encouraged by the eagerness of the crews to get to work.