WILKIE — Jerel Wood of Wilkie has taken on some big responsibilities in 2022. Wood is part of the partnership that re-opened the Reddi-Mart in downtown Wilkie and he also accepted nomination and was acclaimed Wilkie’s newest council member.
Wood says he moved to Wilkie in 2015, having grown up in North Battleford and attending school at John Paul II Collegiate. Most of his family, dad, nephew, sister and brother-in-law, all live in Wilkie.
“I have worked in retail all of my life, so it was just a natural progression that I would be in the retail business myself one day,” says Wood.
The Reddi-Mart team includes Wood, his sister, Lauralee and brother-in-law Kevin Kropf and, as a group, they say they are excited to purchase the business to further serve the community. He affirmed that when they got the keys for their new business, it was the best feeling ever.
Wood wholeheartedly says the biggest highlight of the business is the customers, right from the day they took over.
The new business owners have made some changes, bringing in a small grocery line as well as more confectionary food. Additionally, they have some ready-made food like sandwiches and hot food served also. They also do what they can to keep engaged in the community, recently hosting a children’s colouring contest at Halloween which resulted in a good response.
“The Red,” as it is fondly nicknamed, has long been a staple of Wilkie’s business community and residents were elated to learn new owners were taking over when former owners decided to retire.
The business has both a website and a Facebook page where customers can keep up to date on latest news and products, including hours of service.
“The biggest challenge for me is going from the employee role to the owner role,” says Wood.
New role in Wilkie's town council
Becoming a new businessowner and adapting to that new role is a big enough task for some folks, however Wood decided he liked being involved in Wilkie. When the opportunity arose, Wood decided he would like to try something outside retail and let his name stand for Wilkie town council.
“I have been interested in how government works for a long while and thought if I can make even a small change for the better, it would be worth the effort.”
Wood says he will try to balance work and council commitments the best he can, and while at times, it may be a struggle, he feels up to the challenge.
“I see a lot of positive in the community. Everyone here is very nice and does what they can to make you feel welcome.”
Wilkie can benefit from a business owner on council as well as someone committed to serving the needs of the community in both business and civic government.