Atlin’s one-stop shop has re-opened under new management.
Cheri Malo and her brother, Scott Odian, are the new owners of the Atlin Trading Post.
The store’s previous owners, James and Colleen Williams, closed it down at the end of September after running it for almost 30 years.
The couple had unsuccessfully tried to sell the store for five years.
Malo, a third-generation Atlinite, said she always assumed someone else was going to buy it.
“We believed that right up to the very end,” she said.
“It’s a great business. But we’re not grocery people and we never thought of it as our next step in life.”
When no one bought the store and it closed down, Malo’s husband suggested she speak to her brother about possibly taking it over.
Odian told her she was “nuts” but called her back a few days later. They began thinking about the long-term effects of not having the store around. “You don’t want it to close and become like Haines Junction, where the town struggles,” she said.
“Growing up I went to Whitehorse twice a year. We relied on that store.”
Haines Junction went three years without a grocery store before the Little Green Apple opened its doors in December last year.
Malo said the month of October was rough for Atlin residents.
The Trading Post is the community’s only government-licensed liquor vendor, although off-sales are available from the Atlin Mountain Inn.
When the store closed, the Inn’s restaurant followed suit because it gets its groceries from the Trading Post.
“Within a week, four or five people canceled out of the Inn when they heard there was no restaurant or grocery store in town,” Malo said.
“We really instantly felt the impact. Because we’re the third generation here – four if you count the kids – we didn’t want to see that happen.”
Edie Graf, who runs the Inn with her husband Len, said they were happy with the news.
“It’s wonderful for us locals because we shop locally but also for our guests, and the different workers that come in,” she said.
Malo said there are no plans to change the way the store does business.
And business has been brisk so far.
“We’ve been slammed, it’s been amazing,” she said.
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