A new Whitehorse-based business will soon be sending out unique tastes of the Yukon straight to people’s doorsteps each season, no matter where they are in Canada.
Possibly the first of its kind in the territory, the Yukon Bonanza Box is a subscription-based service that, for $159 per box, will send out a care package of goodies to subscribers every three months, with the first round of boxes scheduled to ship in June. Subscribers can expect six to eight items per box that will be kept secret until delivery, but are promised to be a mix of art, food products and useful objects sourced from local artists and producers.
The business is the brainchild of Whitehorse resident Deborah Turner-Davis, who, in January, brought the idea to life after a “serendipitous conversation” with Jennifer Tyldesley, the founder of local cocktail bitters maker Free Pour Jenny’s.
“The idea came into my head, as ideas do, with no obvious source about a year ago, perhaps a little less, and it bounced around inside of my brain for quite a long time,” said Turner-Davis, who herself is the founder of Yukon spice shop The Twisted Gourmet as well as the co-chair of the Fireweed Market Society.
“So many people come to the Yukon and can’t forget this place and so many people move away from here and never get it out of their systems and want to come back and visit, and I think the Yukon Bonanza Box is a wonderful opportunity to keep a bit of the Yukon with you no matter where you go.”
Subscriptions for the Yukon Bonanza Box officially launched April 18, and, as of April 20, about 45 out of 150 boxes had been claimed. So far, the majority of subscribers are Yukoners purchasing boxes as gifts for people living Outside, although, Turner-Davis said, there was at least one subscription scooped up by someone in Prince Edward Island.
Tyldesley said she and Turner-Davis chose to space out the boxes to every three months — June, September, December and March — instead of a more conventional monthly service in order to take advantage of the seasons and to avoid putting too much strain on producers.
“I think in the Yukon, our lives revolve around the seasons and I think doing a seasonal box just made sense. It made sense from a perspective of, sort of capitalizing on the different art that’s being made and things that are being created at different times of the year in the Yukon,” she said.
‘“And also, we didn’t really want to launch a monthly subscription box. We do have a lot of artists in the Yukon but we didn’t want to overdo it. So it makes each box really special, to have it four times a year.”
Both Tyldesley and Turner-Davis said they’ve had no problem finding products to fill the first round of boxes or upcoming ones, and that all the artists and producers they’ve approached so far have been enthusiastic about the idea.
“One of the wonderful things, I think, about the boxes (is) it’s a win-win situation,” Tyldesley said. “It’s a win for those producers because they are accessing 150 different households that, maybe those people in those households didn’t know about that beautiful product that was being made here in the Yukon, and it’s a win for the recipients because they get access to these treasures from the North and things that were created in Yukon … pieces of art, things they can eat and things they can use.”
Turner-Davis agreed, adding that once the boxes are shipped, the list of products they contain will be posted to the Yukon Bonanza Box website along with links to the creators’ stores so subscribers can purchase more items directly from them, if they wish.
“I think that’s the best part of this whole process, is being able to help build that bridge for small producers in the territory to larger markets and people they may not have had access to before. I think that’s really, really good for all of the producers that will be part of the boxes,” she said.
The business partners were tight-lipped about what the first Bonanza Box would contain, only confirming that the box itself is about the size of a large shoebox, that it would contain eight items, that the items have already been picked out and that more than one of the items would be edible.
“It’s very nice,” Turner-Davis teased.
Yukon Bonanza Box’s working list of artists and craftspeople in the territory is so extensive, she added, that there are already enough products to create new boxes without repeating items for “years.”
“Yukoners are amazing — the production, the ideas, the products that are available… We won’t run short of ideas anytime soon,” she said.
The deadline to place an order for the inaugural Yukon Bonanza Box is June 1. Subscriptions can be purchased at yukonbonanzabox.com.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org