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Everything under the Arctic sun

Daron Letts
Northern News Services

Cambridge Bay (Dec 12/05) - The Arctic Closet gift store in Cambridge Bay celebrated its one year anniversary on Dec. 3.

"We're turning into a trendy little place where you can get unique things," said manager Vicki Aitaok.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Salesperson Winnie Kameemalik unsheathes a samurai sword at the Arctic Closet in Cambridge Bay. The store stocks an eclectic array of gift items for the holiday season. - Kent Driscoll/NNSL photo

"We're already on some second orders with a lot of our Christmas stuff. Sales are very good for Christmas season."

The store is entirely Inuit owned and managed. It stocks a variety of local products, including parkas, beaver hats, knitted sweaters, sealskin vests, mitts, beaded slippers, packing shirts and muskox wall hangings.

"Locally we get a lot of ulus," she said. "Those go very fast."

Artist Rudy Mingilgak sells his soapstone carvings through the store. They sell almost immediately.

"He makes beautiful drum dancers and polar bears," she said.

The only carving left in the store this month depicts a man kneeling on the ground.

Christmas items, such as wooden ornaments and greeting cards decorated with photos of Cambridge Bay, are popular sellers as well.

The store also imports jewelry, incense, scented soy candles, clocks, stationary and lots of small toys and knick knacks.

A bin of used clothes sits near the store's entrance. People are welcome to pull up a chair and select from the free items in the bin.

The building covers 400 square feet and features a round roof, giving customers the sense of walking into a giant igloo, Aitaok said.

"It's been a challenge to use the space properly," she said.

Aitaok receives some orders from the south over e-mail.

"We don't have a web page up, but we do have the domain name purchased," she said. "We hope to do that next year."

The store is holding a number of sales in December, including a poker rally that will wrap up on Christmas Eve.