In the North, you must be adaptable; that is the reality in remote communities in Canada’s Arctic. You will find many people who become experts in more than one field as they expand their businesses to fulfill the needs of smaller populations. In the case of a company called Jago Services, based in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, it began as a plumbing, heating and electrical company in 2007. Jago Services continues to provide these essential trades to the construction industry, but the owners saw the need to expand. The Company grew to include services for general contracting, equipment rental, and then with financing it received from Atuqtuarvik Corporation, it opened a bed and breakfast called Umingmak Lodge.
Wilfred Wilcox and Ruth Niptanatiak-Wilcox are the husband and wife team who own Jago Services and Umingmak Lodge in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut. They learned early on that establishing partnerships and fostering relationships are the keys to success when it comes to running an effective business. It was partnerships that helped their company get established and prosper. In saying this, they never forget that their inspiration for starting the business came from recognizing the opportunity offered in the ever-growing region and territory as well as the drive and push from family to try something different. They were also inspired by Atuqtuarvik Corporation’s former CEO who said, “Companies don’t pay loans, it’s the people in the company that pay the loans.” This quote reminds them to never lose sight of the importance of their employees to the company.
Today, Jago Services employs fifteen people, with half being Inuit, while Umingmak Lodge employs two full-time staff and two part-time staff. Customer service is important in the service and hospitality industry and the Wilcoxes emphasize that their staff plays a significant role in contributing to their business success. Their staff works as a team and are known for giving quality customer service through their friendliness and ensuring a comfortable and homely atmosphere at the Lodge. From time to time, the Lodge staff expresses their gratitude to customers by providing them with homemade meals such as turkey dinners or roast beef, which raises their experience up another northern-hospitality notch.
When reflecting on the success of Jago Services and Umingmak Lodge, the Wilcoxes are optimistic about the future of their business and Cambridge Bay. They see the big picture as a positive one. Wilf says with the pride we have in our young people and their ways of carrying out the advice of elders, “there is no doubt we will be in good hands presently and in the future. The young people know how to listen and will guide things in their own way to continue strong growth in our communities and Nunavut.”