Weathering the winter lag

Pop-up stores are trendy. Diana Andrew read about it in her retail magazines. But Andrew's monthly routine of packing up the clothes from her store in Dawson City, throwing them into her well-travelled red, 2000 GMC pickup and driving the five hours to Whitehorse in winter is not caused by a fad.

Pop-up stores are trendy.

Diana Andrew read about it in her retail magazines.

But Andrew’s monthly routine of packing up the clothes from her store in Dawson City, throwing them into her well-travelled red, 2000 GMC pickup and driving the five hours to Whitehorse in winter is not caused by a fad.

She doesn’t even do it for the money.

The small business owner “pops-up” her clothing store in a conference room attached to the Westmark’s restaurant because she has to.

“I don’t want to just be a seasonal business,” she said. “But trying to make that manageable is difficult. It’s not a huge money maker because the expenses are high, but it’s certainly good for my business. Good for my morale. It’s a diversion. It brings me a lot of attention.”

This is the first winter Andrew has started the monthly treks to the capital.

And she will do it again next year.

“I’ve been encouraged,” she said. “Everyone has been so supportive.

“And I do get points for persevering.”

Andrew’s store is called the Dancing Moose.

In Dawson, it sells gifts, jewelry, local art and wellness products and clothes.

The pop-up version of the Dancing Moose in Whitehorse is just clothing.

Nygard, Papillon and a Canadian, organic line called Echo Rain make up the selection. She describes them as both young and adult upbeat, casual clothes.

The idea to take the store on the road came from a customer, said Andrew.

A Whitehorse resident who was visiting Dawson simply told her she should expand to the capital.

So she looked into it.

Both Andrew and her husband are small-business owners in the small, Klondike town. They know about having to find the customers, she said.

“We both like being independent,” she said. “So you need to find a way to make it work.”

All the support Andrew has received has reinforced her belief people like supporting locals who are trying to “give it a go.”

She has a small list of about 60 women whom she emails posters before she makes the visits, she said.

Her store’s publicity is almost entirely word of mouth.

This winter, she came to Whitehorse in November, December, January and March.

This coming week will be Andrew’s fifth and final visit to the capital.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” she said.

But Andrew never confirmed whether the trips were a financial success.

“I’m just trying to term it so it’s not totally depressing,” she said, laughing.

Andrew had never really dreamed of owning a store, just like she had never really planned to fall in love and live in Dawson, she added.

In 1996, Andrew was 35 years old. Her friend was going to visit her daughters, who were working as Gertie girls, and needed a travel buddy.

“I’d lived in small towns lots before, but the idea of going north didn’t mean anything to me – the nature didn’t mean anything to me,” she said. “I’d heard stories about Dawson, ‘Oh it’s magic, it’s special,’ ya ya ya.

“And then I got there, and it was.

“It was really just the atmosphere and the people. Everyone was so open. I’m an old social worker, so open and receptive isn’t what I’m used to.”

And then she met her husband Mark.

“That wasn’t my intention to fall in love and live happily ever after, but it’s working out that way,” she said, adding Dawson City is now, officially, home.

The business came once she got there and kept hearing the need for more local owners.

“Going into business was kinda buying myself a job, and that’s kinda the goal,” she said. “I’m not expecting that this is going to be a big money maker for business, but if it could provide me a salary – that’s my wish.”

And the support from both followers and walk-in traffic has her thinking even bigger.

She has been asked to visit other Yukon communities as well.

“We laugh about buying a cube van and going on the road,” she said, jokingly. “But Haines Junction … Mayo – they’re still in the back of my mind. We’ll see.

“We’ll have to get a new truck.”

The Dancing Moose will be in the Tagish Room (the windowed room directly to the left of the Westmark’s Wood Street entrance, right off the restaurant) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 11 and 12.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read