When the Birdhouse Eatery opened in Porter Creek in December of 2009, it created a buzz for its electric-bright decor and the flavourful crepes served each Sunday.
The store has since been on a slow migration. First it landed in the Canada Games Centre, where it reinvented itself as an upscale concession stand, serving sandwiches, frittata and soup.
Last week, the store took on another form in its new downtown location, on Wood Street just past Third Avenue. Now it’s part cafe, part gift shop.
The ongoing transformation of the store fits a bit of advice that owner Brook Bouquot never forgot: “Have a plan. Don’t fall too deeply in love with it.”
The new location is cozy, with brightly coloured walls and two comfy couches. It’s probably only big enough to accommodate a handful of customers at a time.
The store offers a small selection of baked goods: scones, macaroons and double-chocolate espresso brownies. Most of the fare is free of gluten and dairy products.
For now, there’s not a crepe in sight. The store isn’t outfitted with a full kitchen – at least not yet.
Bouquot appears to have plans to expand the operation. “But I can’t talk about it,” she said.
The crepes proved to be an accidental hit at the previous location. Bouquot wonders if the next big seller will be her quinoa almond toffee crunch, a healthier take on a Rice Krispies square.
Bouquot made the quinoa bars on a lark, suspecting few would sell. Now she’s having trouble keeping them stocked.
For drinks, the store offers a full espresso bar. They serve five varieties of milk to doll up your drink: soy, rice, almond, coconut and dairy.
There’s also a raw vegan smoothie bar.
The selection of gifts on offer reflects Bouquot’s globetrotting past. There’s Australian loose-leaf tea, hand-made silver jewelry from Mexico and reworked steel jewelry from British Columbia.
But what’s impossible to miss when you enter is the large selection of brightly coloured ceramics, most of which are festooned with birds. They’re from New Zealand.
“They look ridiculous, and I love them,” said Bouquot. “I’m crazy about colour, and I’m crazy about birds.”
She also sells a variety of wall decals, from cartoon characters for kids’ rooms to elegant looking trees, and a wide array of mugs and water bottles.
Bouquot hopes to restock the store every six months, to give customers an incentive to return.
And while visiting, you may as well wander across the open interior door to In a Blue Moon Emporium, which also opened last week.
Its owner, Tammy Ward, is friends with Bouquot. She had plans to start an online business to sell eco-friendly goods, when she was talked into opening up next door instead.
Until recently, Ward worked as a long-haul driver, delivering fuel to Eagle Plains. Then she became pregnant with her daughter, Autumn, who’s now 9 months old.
Now, she’d like to help Yukoners lessen their carbon deficit by buying local and green products for their homes.
She sells eco-friendly laundry detergent, toothpaste and shampoo. The shampoo comes as a bar, so you don’t have to throw out a bottle.
Ward even has wooden, biodegradable toothbrushes.
The emporium also sells a selection of jewelry, including colourful creations clipped from bits of pop cans by a stay-at-home mom in New Brunswick and silver necklaces and earrings from Mayo’s Esther Winterchild.
For kids, there are hats, dresses and octopus hair clips by Little Star.
And there’s an ice-cream bar. It sells premium stuff, made by Mackay’s Cochrane Ice Cream, that’s been hand-mixed, two pails at a time, so it stays dense and rich.
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