When Dave Thompson found out Boyd Campbell was selling Haines Junction’s Village Bakery and Deli at the end of last summer, Thompson didn’t immediately jump to take Campbell’s place. He wasn’t sure if it was worthwhile to continue his lifestyle of working every single day of the summer, just for six to seven months off in the winter. Working there is “not for the faint of heart. You work every day.”
Still, Thompson had been baking at the Village Bakery for seven years, and he wasn’t ready to say goodbye. He leased the business, and says as soon as he submitted for a business license, the word was out.
“There’s not a lot going on here. Everyone was excited when they found out we were opening.”
The bakery is only open from early May to early September, and when it’s closed, it removes one food option in a town with virtually no food options.
Thompson is trying to provide what he can, to make up for the lack of grocery store. He figures his loaves of bread are probably the cheapest in-bakery baked bread in the territory, at three dollars a pop. Thompson says he has a sense that back in the day, way back, the baker provided for the community, he wasn’t there to get rich, he was there to play a role.
“It’s important for me to contribute directly to my community,” says Thompson.
He says he covers his costs, and he wants to save people trips to Whitehorse; so he tries to keep staples in stock, too, like a bit of produce and some eggs.
Along with stocking groceries, Thompson tries to make special dinner items so his regular customers can experience dining variety.
Tuesday night is pizza night, which he says is a big hit. He also barbeques pork for pulled pork sandwiches. Stuffed bell peppers are another dish he’s recently prepared.
Thompson says it’s hard to say if he’s getting new local customers out of his efforts, but he does know people are talking about the bakery, about the bread prices.
He says last year, Haines Junction was removed from the Holland America tours list, and that was a blow to the community. He wants to drum-up more sustainable support for the Village Bakery and Deli, and he says that’s why he’s going old school to provide for the locals.
Along with cheap sourdough, Thompson is opening the mic to musicians on Friday nights.
The Friday night salmon barbeque has been going on for a while now at the Village Bakery. Thompson says this year Boyd Campbell did him a favour and found him bands for the summer salmon barbeque music roster, after all, Campbell’s been doing it for years and has rapport with the Yukon bands. He had no trouble finding people to play.
Thompson is, again, doing something a little different with salmon barbeque night.
“At around five, five-thirty, when the band is eating, the mic will be open for any anyone to play.”
Thompson believes the music scene in Haines Junction is worth exposing, and he expects there will be a demand for a stage, just as there is for a loaf of bread.