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It’s a new location with a new name, but Yellowknife Books still the same ‘cultural hub’

Jenn Baerg Steyn, owner of the newly-named Yellowknife Books, said the store’s focus remains on local and Indigenous literature, and that won’t change with the rebranding. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

When you think of books in Yellowknife, there is one place that pops up in people’s minds: The Book Cellar.

Earlier this month, the store moved on to its new location on 49 Street and is now running under a new name.

The store will be called Yellowknife Books from now on and while there’s a new name, it’s still going to be the same place it has been for decades, said Jenn Baerg Steyn, the store’s owner.

“We’re moving away from the pun — it’s a simplification for us,” said Baerg Steyn, the store’s owner, who added she wants to retain the bookstore’s role as a cultural hub in Yellowknife. “Our focus remains on local and Indigenous literature, and that won’t change with the re-branding.”

Despite the new name, the store will continue to pay homage to its history on its website. The physical signs have yet to be updated, but discussions with a local sign maker are underway to ensure the new branding features better visibility at street level.

So why the change? Baerg Steyn said it all came down to cost efficiency as the the previous space, while larger, was not being fully utilized.

“The back half of the store was a large office space that we couldn’t really use for the bookstore,” she said. “It made events like book signings difficult because the store was long and narrow, which limited visibility and shopping during events.”

The new location, described by Baerg Steyn as “fat and shallow”, offers a better line of sight and a more open layout, making it more conducive to hosting events.

“We’ve moved to a space that’s easier to navigate, especially for those with strollers or wheelchairs,” Baerg Steyn added.

Baerg Steyn hopes the community will embrace the new location as they did the old one.

“Change is hard, especially in this town, but I believe the brighter, more accessible space will win people over,” she said.

About the Author: Kaicheng Xin

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