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JBLM neighbors staying strong

Operations at market boost lives

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When you stop at a convenience store or gas station, you don't often think of your money giving back to anything beyond a gas company. However, Nisqually Markets has locations throughout the South Sound, and funds do more than buy gas and candy bars.

Founded as part of the Nisqually Indian Tribe's Retail Initiative in 2011, the stores bring income to the Nisqually Tribe and function to bolster the tribe in more ways than one, from offering employment to giving back to community programs. Located against Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Nisqually Markets also serve as a great gas or lunch stop for base employees or residents

"The markets are the Tribe's way of diversifying the income needed to remain a self-sustaining and productive member of the Thurston and Pierce County communities," said Nisqually Board of Economic Development CEO Bob Iyall. "Having stores that provide service to our neighbors on JBLM was always a major consideration. We maintain a clean environment, sell products at a discount, and make customer service a priority."

There are currently five Nisqually Markets stores, which are primarily located in and around Olympia and Lakewood. The shining stars of the markets are two full-service convenience stores that stand out as some of the nicest convenience stores you'll ever see. They're located at 12820 Yelm Highway SE in Olympia and 11741 Pacific Highway SW in Lakewood. At the Yelm Highway location, you can expect to find gas and the usual array of gas station snacks, but also cold deli foods made fresh each day, and made-to-order Skipper's and Cooper's Chicken in the hot case. The Lakewood location also has cold deli foods and Skipper's. The stores also stock Native products like smoked salmon and seafood from the Tribe's Seafood Marketing Program.

Nisqually Markets also has a drive-through and walk-up Nisqually Express, located at 10324 Martin Way E. in Olympia; RezMart Fuel, located at 12827 Yelm Highway SE; and a tobacco outlet, located at 2107 Marvin Rd. NE in Lacey.

"The revenue from the markets gives back in many ways. For example, the convenience of groceries and good on-reservation jobs, and (the) pride it brings to the members is success.  The buildings are beautifully built and blend well into the community," said Cynthia Iyall, Nisqually- Economic Development retail manager.

"Nisqually Markets provides employment opportunities for tribal members and other Native Americans," added Bob Iyall. "Currently, about 30 percent of our employees are Native American. Our Nisqually Reservation Store is a place community members and tribal employees frequent for lunch from our quick-serve restaurant. Tribal members have hosted car washes to raise money for youth baseball teams, and our sitting area provides free coffee to tribal elders. Off-reservation stores provide a familiar place for tribal members to shop when away from home."

Impressively, these five locations bring in about 10 percent of the Nisqually Tribe's total income, and the stores hope to double that in the next 10 years. The Nisqually Tribe creates a budget each year based on its needs at the time, so income from the stores may also go toward improving roads and buildings, elder and youth programs, or even health and education programs.

Watch for Nisqually Markets to continue to expand. There are plans to expand to Frederickson and possibly to a location on Steele Street, near the north end of JBLM, and even in the area around Marvin Road and I-5.

For more information about Nisqually Markets, visit

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