Zola’s is gone, but roasting lives on

‘There’s a misconception that Starbucks has put me out of business,” said Zola’s Café Dore owner Zola Dore.

‘There’s a misconception that Starbucks has put me out of business,” said Zola’s Café Dore owner Zola Dore.

Friday, her Main Street café closes for good.

Dore, who also owns both locations of Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters, says that a new Starbucks can often help local coffee businesses.

Starbucks serves as a gateway to specialty coffee.

Once consumers have tried their first latte in the “safe” atmosphere of a Starbucks, they are emboldened to start buying lattes at the smaller neighbourhood coffee house, said Dore.

Larger market forces, rather than a corporate giant, brought down the café, she added.

Zola’s had met with initial success but, primarily as a result of an unstable labour market, the cafe had become too time consuming.

“In the current labour market, to make a place profitable, you have to be an owner-operator, and my choice is to own and operate the roasting side of things … I can’t pull myself into two and be in two places and make something profitable,” said Dore.

Attempts to sell fell flat, prompting the two-week-old decision to close.

Rent at the Hougen Centre was not an issue.

“I know (the Hougens) get a bad rap, but I had a great relationship with them and they did their best to make it work for me.”

The loss of Zola’s will allow Dore to focus more closely on her passion for roasting.

Within iCycle Sport on Quartz Road, Zola runs a full-scale roasting facility that prepares beans for the Midnight Sun coffee houses as well as for the retail and export market.

Midnight Sun currently exports to BC, Alberta, Alaska, Ontario and even Austria and Australia.

Many overseas buyers are former Yukoners who need their “fix” of Midnight Sun coffee.

“I’ve really tried to drink other coffee … since I’m now on the other side of the country, but I just can’t,” reads one customer review on the Midnight Sun website.

“All I ever wanted to do was roast a quality product, and I believe that when you do that, you get a following,” said Dore.

Zola’s had taken a step away from the “slapped together look” of the original Midnight Sun, which burned down in 2005.

The Main Street café was downright chic.

“I was never comfortable with (that) downtown, because I’m more the original shambly, slapped-together place … more easygoing.”

Dore was introduced to roasting at Vancouver’s The Coffee Roaster.

Eleven years ago, she came up to Whitehorse and opened the city’s first roastery.

“My goal was to offer something fresh. Before, (coffee) would be at least three days old as it came up on a truck,” she said.

Dore is very committed to the craft.

“Roasting is a trade, it’s a skill. It’s something that you can learn the mechanics of in a couple months, but it takes years to become an artisan at it,” she said.

Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read