First thing: We shop equally at both. We don't buy into the "I like this one better" rants we hear. So, put your gloves away for now . . .no judgements here!
These are the two Grocery/Department Stores of Iqaluit. They have your everyday grocery needs like Dairy, Fruits, Vegetables, Meats, Breads, etc etc. Both are generally in the same area and are equally essential in your survival!
The last thing you need to do is try to price shop or pretend one is cheaper. This isn't the south . . . there aren't price wars. There are clearances and sales just like anywhere else, but everything is relative to your individual needs. If you eat a lot of cereal and it's a few dollars cheaper at North Mart, well, obviously you'd find North Mart more appealing. Both have electronic stores, have kitchen and housewares, and both have distinct differences that make for them to be equally important.
We've found that there are pros and cons to each.
Definitely the bigger of the two. It's also seems to be a little bit newer. We've found that all produce and meats are much, much more fresh and the expiry dates are a little more trustworthy. It's an easier place to shop and the aisles are more organized in a standard grocery store format so, it's easier to maneuver around. We do our big shops here and find that it's a great one-stop-shop. They have a lot of stock for a lot of items and their frozen meat and fresh produce sections are far superior to that of Arctic Ventures.
They have a clothing section, kids toy section, electronic section, fishing section . . . it's basically the closest thing you'll find to a Wal-Mart in Iqaluit.
They don't have music playing out front . . . we'll get back to that in a moment.
This is where you will find all things P.C. (Presidents Choice) and a lot of things you won't find at North Mart. This is why there are so many strong opinions on which store is better. Ventures has been here longer and has a lot of local items as well. We found their selection of Kitchen/House wares to be a better quality and a better selection. Ventures has a Source (By Circuit City) . . .North Mart has a tiny electronics section with staff that aren't specialised in the electronics field. The Source has a great manager with a great staff. All the cables, games, phones, batteries and essentials you need and they'll order just about anything in for you. Also . . .they have GUITARS AND GUITAR STRINGS. This is huge for musicians.(Like I said, they have great management)
They have a Video Rental area as well as a gift shop/shoe store/book store on the upper floors. We sent home some very interesting souvenirs for family members and even picked up some much needed new shoes.
Another huge perk is their bakery. They do fresh bread, pies, and other baked goods fresh daily. We've enjoyed these delicacies on a few occasions, in fact, I'm eating a piece of fresh apple pie as I type.
The Ventures Music:
Ventures plays this horrendous, annoying, brutal, torturous, deafening, flat-out makes you want to kill yourself-music in the inner doors of their entrance. It's a preventative measure for loitering but, it is the loudest and most awful sound you've heard in a while. It's hard to explain . . . you just have to hear it for yourself. You don't hear it unless you're near it and YES, they shut it off after they close but, it's amazing how many people walk in with their fingers in their ears, let's just put it that way.
So there you have it . . . every one's got an opinion and each opinion has a preferred store. Like we said, we shop regularly at both and enjoy both equally. They offer a lot of items that are the same and a lot of brands that are the same but, they have different niches. We suggest using them both to their fullest. If you ever have any specific questions for us, don't be afraid to ask.