A slice of town life
Sooner or later everyone goes to Mac's

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 11/97) - Mac's News is a small world that everyone who has spent any time in Inuvik has visited at one time or another.

"It's a very entertaining place," said owner of the convenience store, Paul Komaromi. The former mayor of Inuvik described his working hours as "morning, noon, and night."

Mac's is open seven days a week, from nine in the morning to midnight. As part-time worker Laurie Vehus said, "Everybody comes in here sooner or later."

The variety of customers is one of the benefits of working at the store, said Komaromi. "People like working here, because you meet all kinds of people -- it's a really social atmosphere."

With two schools not far away, kids make up a large proportion of Mac's customers. Business, particularly at the "candy buffet," is brisk during most weekday lunch hours.

As owner, Komaromi is responsible for making order of the chaos. But it's a responsibility that works both ways, from banning on the one hand to babysitting on the other.

Kids are banned from the store only in rare and extreme cases such as shoplifting or fighting. Komaromi has photos, taken from the Drum, of youngsters who have stepped over that line, taped to the counter beside the cash register.

"Some of the kids who come in here know the law better than most adults," he said. "But I've been here all my life, so not many of them give me grief."

Vehus noted that the clock, until just recently, was purposely set 10 minutes fast to make sure kids got back to school on time.

For some, Mac's is a home away from home and, though they don't want it to get around, employees at Mac's have been known to serve up a free hot chocolate or two to children who have come in on a cold winter's night.

Asked if she encounters any trouble working until midnight Saturday night Vehus said, "You can, but it doesn't happen that often. Generally, people who come in here are pretty good, and the kids are good too."

Komaromi said there's a number of funny stories he could tell, "but not many of them for the paper."

He recalled one time, when he made a convenience store "faux pas."

"A man came in and asked for condoms. We sell packs of six and a dozen, so I asked 'small or large?' He turned bright red, and so did I."