Proud Yukoners want to shop Yukon – but sometimes it feels hard to do that. With so many of our goods and services being provided by companies on the Outside, it often feels like we’ve got no choice but to shell out to the big boys. For those who prefer to shop in their own backyard, however, here are four Whitehorse-based businesses owned by your friends and neighbours.
What: Blackbird Bakery
Where: 2237 Second Ave Unit #130
Who: Kayla Morrison
Listen to the following sentence: You can have pumpkin cheesecake with caramel butter pecan streusel topping.
If for that reason, and no other, you should walk into Blackbird Bakery, you will be met with a literal smorgasbord of pies, cakes, cookies and other toothsome delights. Even if they should be out of that cheesecake – a real possibility, as it sells out fast, says owner Kayla Morrison – you wouldn’t leave disappointed.
The cakes and pastries at the bakery, Morrison says, are not made with any one European tradition in mind, but rather reflect a desire to use real, wholesome ingredients: butter, eggs, cream, high quality chocolate.
“We make old-fashioned (desserts, which) ideally reflect North American Canadian food – because we do have a food culture in Canada and... it has many things to offer,” says Morrison.
What: Itsy Bitsy Yarn Store
Where: Horwoods Mall
Who: Sophie Jessome and Yann Le Roy
Why: Fabulous fibres
Itsy Bitsy actually used to occupy the same space in Horwoods Mall in which Cultured Fine Cheese now resides. At the time, it really lived up to its name – the shop was miniscule – but it has since grown both in popularity and size. Still at Horwoods but having expanded into a new and very attractive open concept store, Itsy Bitsy Yarn Store offers fibre fanatics a variety of specialty yarns and other knitting and crocheting equipment. They specialize in “high quality, natural fibres,” says Jessome, such as wool, because acrylic fi bres are “actually a type of plastic.” Itsy Bitsy also carries its own house-brand of hand-dyed fibres under the name Pseiso and has a selection of locally-sourced fibres, such as local alpaca wool and Yukon-dyed wools.
“We always try to source our fibres as ethically as possible,” she says.
What: Cultured Fine Cheese
Where: Horwoods Mall
Who: Larra Daley
Why: Cheese. Serious. Cheese.
Do you crave camembert? Blush for brie? Grin for gouda? Chime in for cheddar? Then you should walk on in to Cultured Fine Cheese and order yourself up a wedge of something delicious. Owned by local Yukoner Lara Daley and her husband, this quaint and neatly-arranged shop offers cheeses from British Columbia and Quebec as well as traditional cheese from Europe. The cheeses from Quebec are particularly interesting, Daley says, because they are often multi-generational enterprises producing unique craft products.
There are no local cheeses because the amount of locally produced cheese is so limited.
“We wanted to focus on local (cheese), but BC is as close as we can get,” she said.
For real cheese lovers, Daley recommends the cave-aged Gruyere.
What: Feed ‘em Fish
Where: 4194B 4th Avenue
Who: Harry and Genny Rietze
Why: Fresh seafood caught by friends
Salmon is delicious; it’s a science fact. The fact that these local fish mongers are actually Alaskans – not Yukoners – doesn’t change the taste of their wares one bit.
Hailing from sea-kissed Haines, this sweet couple used to run their business out of a trailer, but have since expanded to a fixed location on at 4th Avenue and Oglivie Street. Their shop features halibut, salmon, shrimp and crab from Haines. The fish that comes from Haines is all sourced from seven commercial fisherman.
“It’s (bought) off the dock from the fisherman,” says Genny, adding, “my dad is one of
The shop also features oysters, mussels and clams from Vancouver and will soon be getting in lobster from Halifax.