Staking out a future: Thompson adjusts as mining industry slows – by Brett Purdy (CBC News Manitoba – November 28, 2017)

Vale still largest employer in Thompson but other industries helping develop diverse economy

Rajinder Thethy has put almost $750,000 in his carwash business in Thompson, Man., and it’s investments like his the northern city is banking on to help stabilize — and build — the economy as the local mining industry slows.

Thethy, who has lived and worked in Thompson for 22 years, originally built the carwash with some partners back in 2004 as a side gig. He was a professional accountant at the time. But in January 2016, he decided he wanted a major career-and-life change and to be more devoted as a business owner.

“I know what the Thompsonites need so for me to stay here and expand my business just made perfect sense,” he said.

Financial assistance from the community’s economic development fund was instrumental in being able to redesign the business, Thethy said. After upgrading the automatic drive-thru car wash to the tune of $250,000, he expanded and added a convenience store and detailing bay.

It’s a big commitment in a mining city that is routinely being staggered by cuts and closures in that industry. Thethy knows his own business might not skyrocket in that economy but is confident there is enough support from outlying regions to keep his carwash healthy.

Thompson has about 13,000 people but the region’s population is estimated to be over 60,000 once all the neighbouring communities are linked to the city through the winter roads network.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent comfortable but for me to grow my business it was essential that I made this investment,” Thethy said. “Thompson has so many good stories with businesses coming in and being successful so I want to be … one of those good stories.”

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