“Don’t even,” laughed Silu Autut when asked how many calls he was getting in the second week of January.
On top of starting grocery deliveries, his Rankin Inlet cab company was also distributing the Kivalliq Inuit Association’s Covid gift cards to just about everyone in town.
His phone was ringing off the hook and Facebook filling with messages, but he still found a few minutes to debrief with Kivalliq News on how the current lockdown and first year in business for Silu’s Taxi was going.
“KIA approached us on Thursday. They wanted everything distributed for Friday. I was like, holy smokes.”
He got up at 6 a.m. the next day and wasn’t done until 3 a.m.
“It was overwhelming,” said Autut. “It was challenging. But we got it.”
He started Silu’s Taxi last February with two drivers. Now he’s up to seven and a mechanic.
“Business is really good,” said Autut. “Our first lockdown, we really didn’t have any clue of what to do, so everything was limited.”
But the second time, he had a much better understanding of the landscape. The major players and stores in town needed his delivery services, so he picked up lots of new business, from grocery deliveries to gift cards.
He has 14 vehicles in total now, with 10 running.
“I’m extremely happy of what we could give to our community,” said Autut. “Everybody needs our service, and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The only thing he’s lacking is his own shop, which is his next goal for the business.
Staying open every single day and keeping the vehicles maintained and ready for the road has been the most challenging part of the venture, and it’s taken a huge bite out of his personal life.
“I miss hunting. I miss camping. I miss my friends too,” he said.
Autut is thankful for the community’s support of his company, and he tries to give back with draws and prizes.
“We appreciate doing business for the whole community,” said Autut. “I want to thank our community and especially our staff for working this hard with me.”