BYTE plans to close its free store

Bringing Youth Towards Equality will be shutting down its free store at the end of the year.

Bringing Youth Towards Equality will be shutting down its free store at the end of the year.

Staff at the non-profit, better known as BYTE, say the organization has grown and doesn’t have space in the office anymore for the store.

“Basically we have a lot of staff members right now, and a lot of exciting new projects happening,” said communications officer Kara Johancsik.

“There’s actually somebody who’s not working on a desk right now. We essentially just want to make room for some of the projects we’re doing. So that will allow us to do that, clearing up that space.”

Unlike the other free store in town, at the local dump, this one specifically targets youth and focuses mostly on free clothes.

It’s run out of BYTE’s office in downtown Whitehorse.

The organization has four full-time staff members and often hires people on when funding for other projects becomes available.

Johancsik estimates that by January there could be as many as seven or eight people working in the office.

One new staff member has been hired to plan and organize an entrepreneurship conference in May.

A second person is likely going to be hired soon to organize a winter youth conference.

A graphic designer is also working with BYTE right now.

There aren’t any statistics on how many people visit the free store, by Johancsik said it’s used often.

BYTE hopes a different organization, with more space and more daily foot traffic, might be willing to take over the store.

“We think it’s a really great thing for the community. But we just don’t have the capacity for it right now.”

No plans have been made yet for what would happen to the clothes if the store does not find a new home. Johancsik said things would likely be given to the Sally Ann or another thrift store in town.

Contact Ashley Joannou at