What began as a food production space born out of necessity has blossomed into a collaborative retail and culinary creativity hub.
“It’s definitely been a journey, but it’s really rewarding, especially for a small maker,” said Sydney Oland, owner of Yukon Chocolate and founder of Yukon Food Provisions.
Yukon Food Provisions, located in the old Fred’s Plumbing showroom in the industrial district, is the new home of four business owners who cook and create together.
Oland opened the space for her business late last year and, finding the location to be too large for her operation, began seeking like-minded entrepreneurs to share the space. She runs Yukon Chocolate, Yukon Ice Cream and Yukon Noodles out of the space.
|Sydney Oland, owner of Yukon Chocolate, launched Yukon Food Provisions as a collective working space for multiple food retailers. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)|
It wasn’t long before Anne’s Dumplings, Daddy’s Donuts and Landed Bakehouse came on board.
Each of the four businesses primarily work in one of the space’s three corners and the mezzanine. At the front of the showroom is a small retail area where clients can pick up ice cream, dumplings, donuts, noodles, fresh bread and feature items. The shared space has allowed all four businesses to grow.
“A lot of small food businesses don’t have that type of start-up money — so we were pooling our collective resources to get more space, and more equipment. We all needed to expand our businesses,” Oland said.
All four enterprises are fairly new on the scene, within a few years. Anne Huang of Anne’s Dumplings launched her business in the Food Provisions space last December after taking an entrepreneurship course at Yukonstruct.
“I first started selling dumplings at the Christmas markets and that was kind of baptism by fire, because that was crazy, I didn’t expect there to be so much interest in dumplings,” Huang said.
“I’ve been very grateful to Yukoners for supporting local and being so interested in my culture, and a food that I consider a huge part of my life.”
Launching Anne’s Dumplings out of Yukon Food Provisions has lended Huang support as a new business owner.
“It’s nice to bounce ideas off other business owners … it’s the most creative, supportive atmosphere. It’s just nice to have people who support you, and have your back and best interests in mind. And you have their best interests as well,” Huang said.
The shared space has offered opportunity to collaborate. Each weekend, Yukon Food Provisions has posted feature items on it’s social media accounts that utilize multiple in-house skillsets — things like donut ice cream sandwiches, mac-and-cheese with a scotch egg, and chilled peanut noodles.
When the News visited Food Provisions on April 8, Huang was preparing northern Chinese-style wontons stuffed with chicken, bamboo shoots and ginger. Michael Roberts of Landed Bakehouse was preparing a pork and chicken bone broth to match for their upcoming wonton soup feature.
“Collaboration — I feel like that’s so much of what cooking is, in terms of creativity. It’s definitely a reason why I like to do this, because I like to be creative,” Roberts said.
|YMichael Roberts prepares sourdough bread at Yukon Food Provisions on April 8. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)|
Roberts began working out of Food Provisions when his private kitchen space at Mount Sima opened to the public for the ski season.
“I was like — what are we going to do? And this kind of fell into my lap, and it’s been awesome,” Roberts said.
“It’s pretty fun to have different people around, you can chat about what you’re doing and get some real industry feedback … I think the intention is to support each other,” Roberts said.
While the collaborative aspect is worth the shared space, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
“I don’t think it’s the easiest thing because it’s sometimes awkward, sometimes people are trying to do the same thing at the same time. You have to work together,” Roberts said.
Each of the business owners take turns running front-of-house retail operations, which is a new experience for all four of them. Since launching last month, the quartet has been honing how to set up regular retail hours, and then staff and stock them appropriately.
Alex Johnston of Daddy’s Donuts has been working out of Food Provisions for about three months. Prior to this space, he was operating his business from his house.
“We can make more donuts and it’s not so cluttered, and now we’re just trying to keep up to the demand,” Johnston said. “We can’t make enough donuts yet.”
Oland told the News she’s grateful for her fellow Food Provisions entrepreneurs, who have made the shared space so pleasant to work in.
“It’s surprisingly easy to work with this particular group of people, we haven’t had clashing egos or anything. It’s been really amazing,” Oland said.
Contact Gabrielle Plonka at firstname.lastname@example.org