AULD’S COVE: Irving’s original Big Stop location is undergoing a facelift.

Originally built in 1974, Auld’s Cove has been the home to Irving’s oldest road-side pitstop where they have been serving their dedicated customers for over 40-years.

“We’re excited to begin work next week on a new big stop location in Auld’s Cove,” Tyler McLaughlin, Irving’s director of retail sales and operation said in a phone interview last week. “In addition to upgrading the Big Stop, this expansion project will include improved amenities for our professional drivers, along with a larger convenience store and restaurant, and a Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation outlet on site.”

Part of serving customers for over 40-years, McLaughlin said, is not only thinking about the past, but also working toward the future.

“We work hard to be the retail destination of choice for the travelling public, and we certainly appreciate the support of our valued customers,” he said. “Being a proud member of the community in Auld’s Cove over these many years, we’re looking forward to investing in this location, in this community for a great future ahead.”

The current structure in Auld’s Cove will be demolished to make room for the newer, bigger location but McLaughlin notes there won’t be too much interruption for their services.

“We’re going to remain open during the construction with a temporary convenience store to serve our valued customers,” he said. “There may be periods of time during the project where we may have to close in order to accommodate construction on site, but we’re going to work hard to keep these periods to a minimum.”

Photo by Grant McDaniel
In addition to upgrading the current Irving Big Stop in Auld’s Cove, the expansion project will improve amenities for drivers, create a larger convenience store and restaurant, and will feature the addition of a Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation outlet.

Irving has sent out an advisory notice to all of their customers advising them of other Irving locations where they’ll be able to meet their fueling needs.

The restaurant, driver amenities, and the Irving 24 truck parking lanes are not available for the duration of the construction, with the diesel card lock scheduled to re-open mid-November. The convenience store will re-open October 2, operating out of a temporary trailer on site.

Professional drivers are on the road away from home a lot of the time, and to assist with bridging that gap, Irving will be offering increased amenities to their professional drivers once re-opened.

“We have a driver’s lounge where they have comfy chairs to sit in to try to have a home away from home, we have WiFi that enables them to leverage technology to Facetime their family and friends,” McLaughlin said. “Then we have hotel caliber showers and restrooms, so they can shower and look after themselves just like they would if they were at home, or at a hotel.”

Along with improving the professional driver amenities, increasing the size of the restaurant and convenience store, the new development in Auld’s Cove will be the site for a new 3,800 square foot NSLC outlet.

“This is going to be a full NSLC store, it’s what we call a select store, it’s going to have more than 500 of our top-selling products and then we’ll also be featuring local products as well,” NSLC communications advisor Beverley Ware said. “As well as chilled products, you’ll be able to get chilled wine, chilled beer, and chilled coolers and ciders.”

The NSLC is always looking for gaps in their network, and when they issued a Request for Proposals, Irving was just a good fit, Ware said.

“If you’re looking at the store in the Town of Port Hawkesbury, that’s mainly to serve residents in the community – people living in the town,” she said. “While this store is expected to be more so for pass-through visitors, people who are entering and leaving Cape Breton.”

Ware said the NSLC expects the building will be ready for them in April, and he expects to be open sometime mid-June. Irving is scheduled to have their renovations completed by mid-May.