Tim Hortons has opened doughnut shops in Fort Knox, Kandahar and Manhattan, but the company is now turning to a part of Canada it has long neglected, Iqaluit.
It plans to open three kiosks in the Nunavut capital next month, making the iconic coffee shop chain a truly national operation with stores in every province and territory. Tim Hortons has more than 3,000 stores across Canada, including Yellowknife and Whitehorse.
"You could say it's overdue," said Nick Javor, senior vice-president of corporate affairs. "If we can be in Kandahar, why can't we be in Iqaluit?"
The tiny community - population, about 7,200 - has certainly been clamouring for a Tims. The mere rumour of a store opening last year prompted a front-page story in the local newspaper. And it's not uncommon for passengers on flights to Iqaluit from Ottawa or Montreal to carry boxes of Tim Hortons doughnuts.
Mr. Javor said the company spent three years studying logistics and looking for a local partner. It plans to team with The North West Company, which runs a general store, gas station and convenience store in the city. Tim Hortons will set up a kiosk in each location and run its bakery out of the general store.
Locals will have to pay more for their coffee and muffin than other Canadians. Coffee will range from $1.79 for a small to $2.39 for an extra-large, compared to $1.14 and $1.55 in southern Canada. Mr. Javor said the prices are reasonable given the challenges supplying Iqaluit, whose location on Baffin Island is about 2,000 kilometres north of Ottawa.
The city "is not going to be the home of the $10 cup of coffee, that's for sure," he said.
The chain also wants to avoid the fate of the Subway outlet in Iqaluit, which closed several years ago after the sandwiches became too expensive - as much as $26 each.
David Ell, the city's deputy mayor, welcomed the company's decision to finally set up shop in Iqaluit. "It took a while," Mr. Ell said Tuesday. "We get left out of everything. There are a lot of things we don't have that [people in the south]have."
Mr. Ell said he is among those who regularly bring stacks of Tim Hortons' doughnuts and coffee back from trips to Ottawa. "I get a dozen or a couple of dozen before I get on the plane," he said. "I think it will be good to have it here."
Iqaluit has been a tough place for fast-food chains. There is one such outlet left in the city, a combined KFC-Pizza Hut - but it has a limited menu.