The Book Cellar is a long standing staple of the City of Yellowknife, and it’s now under new management.
Founded in 1979, The Book Cellar is one of the only independent book stores standing in the north today. It was first established by Judith Drinnan, who was able to get it started with a simple loan. Judith then successfully ran the store for over 40 years, where it became a business tat delivers books all throughout the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, providing for both libraries and schools.
Now, after all this time, the reigns have been passed on to a new owner.
Jennifer Baerg Steyn was able to buy the store from Drinnan, and has been the official owner since the beginning of January. Baerg Steyn shared how it feels to be the owner of the store.
“It feels good. It’s definitely a different perspective than being an employee, for sure, which seems like an obvious thing to say, but it’s a completely different way of looking at the store, which is nice. I do get to have more of a say of what we bring in, and make changes.”
While she is excited to be in her knew position, Baerg Steyn explained that this wasn’t some long standing goal that she had been working towards for years. She explained that the various circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic gave way to an opportunity for her to take the position, with previous owner Judith lending a hand where its needed.
Baerg Steyn shared why she decided to work at the Book Cellar in the first place, and what she loves so much about books.
“I really can’t imagine a world for myself without books. I feel like it’s a cliché to say I’m a lifelong learner, I think we all are in different ways, I just prefer reading. You never know the story that somebody is going to share with you, and it’s always fascinating to have somebody sort of take you down through their lives, and through the complexities of being human.”
Baerg Steyn was also kind enough to share one of her favourite books, which at the moment, she said is The House on the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune.