Leech Lake Announces Acquisition of Teal’s Market in Cass Lake

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CASS LAKE, MN- After several months of negotiation with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Teal’s Market has publicly announced the sale of their Cass Lake location to the tribe. The store will be rebranded as “Leech Lake Market” and reopen under the new ownership on Friday, October 22, 2021.

“Our family has been part of the Cass Lake community for 79 years, so the decision to sell Teals Market has been and was a very tough decision, but we have decided that it is time to pass the torch.” said Roger Teal, former owner of the Cass Lake store, “The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is a natural fit to carry on.  The Teal family would like to thank our loyal customers and dedicated associates for their support over all of these years which made our success possible”.

Prior to the sale, Teal’s Market operated ten grocery stores in three states (MN, SD and ND) and employed nearly 800 people, according to their website.

The acquisition of the grocery store business will be a new and exciting venture for the tribe, and is in line with the Tribal Council’s goal of expanding tribal business beyond Gaming.

“We are very excited about this next business venture.  This latest acquisition, supported by all of Tribal Council, is just one of many success stories for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.  The purchase of Teals is a milestone in the assurance of food sovereignty for the Band as well as continuing diversification of the businesses which the Band owns and operates.” said LLBO Chairman Faron Jackson Sr.

District 3 Representative LeRoy Staples-Fairbanks adds, “Food sovereignty is about providing for ourselves and safe guarding our most treasured resource which is our people.  Our communities need to know that their government is acting to ensure they will always have access to healthy and sustainable food systems.  Today is a step toward defining our own food systems, and moving beyond the federal government deciding what our people consume.  Today is our day, our future and our new food market!”

Food sovereignty has become a major topic for tribes throughout Indian Country as they work to address disparities in public health outcomes for indigenous people. Issues with food shortages and access were bought to the forefront during the pandemic. Teal’s emerged as a vital partner in the Band’s response efforts, helping to secure items for the monthly food boxes that were distributed to families in the area. That partnership strengthened the existing relationship between the two entities and when the opportunity arose to purchase the store, the Tribal Council acted quickly and diligently to secure the business.

Approximately 80 employees with the Teal’s organization will now come on board under the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The rebranded Leech Lake Market will operate under the Band’s business side, which includes three casinos (Northern Lights, Cedar Lakes and White Oak), Shingobee on the Bay, Leech Lake Express convenience stores and Leech Lake Supply Company. This acquisition further cements the Band’s position as one of the area’s top employers and economic driving forces.

Teal’s Market will be closed for inventory and transition all day on Thursday, October 21, 2021. It will reopen for business as Leech Lake Market at 7am on Friday, October 22, 2021. Operating hours will be 7AM to 9PM, open 7 days a week.

The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony from 12PM to 1PM on Thursday, October 21, 2021 (604 Lyle Chisholm Dr NW, Cass Lake, MN 56633). The event will include a blessing, drum group, speakers and refreshments will be served.

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