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Barren Land Jewellery on the move

Andrew Livingstone
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, November 4, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The snow has fallen and there is still no wheelchair or stroller access ramp into the Franklin Avenue entrance at Centre Square Mall, something one store owner says is one of the reasons she plans to move early next year.

NNSL photo/graphic

Barren Land Jewellery Employee Jill Groenewegen shows off some of the plush baby products the store offers. Owner Bonnie Humphreys is planning to expand the section once she moves into her more spacious location early next year at Centre Ice Plaza. - Andrew Livingstone/NNSL photo

Barren Land Jewellery, owned by Bonnie Humphreys, is tentatively scheduled to move into a new location at Centre Ice Plaza at the intersection of Old Airport Road and Range Lake Road in February next year. Humphreys said after 13 years of working in Centre Square Mall, it was time for a change.

"It's been a great mall to me, but after 13 years I'm ready for a change," Humphreys said Monday.

There were a few reasons drawing her to the new mall, the most important reasons being parking and easy access for the disabled and people with strollers. She said the Centre Ice Plaza will be easily accessible for anyone.

"When they put the glass wall here, it just made it that much harder for to the people who are disabled or who have kids to get into the building with their strollers," Humphreys said. "That's one of the big reasons I'm moving, it's going to be easier for people to get in.

"I don't have parking for my staff here. We used to have a stall but they took that away from us."

Yellowknife Inn general manager Derek Carmody told Yellowknifer last September. He hoped to have the access ramp installed at the Franklin Avenue mall entrance before the snow flies.

As of Monday, work to install the ramp has yet to begin.

Calls to Carmody were not returned by press time.

NWT fire marshal Stephen Moss said Monday mall management was keeping him up to date on the progress of the ramp and said it was waiting for the go-ahead from the mall's head office. He said the mall plans to have the ramp installed before the full onset of winter.

"They've got all the paperwork in from the contractors on what it will cost and they are going forward," Moss said. "If we get any indication that there is no intention to build it, then we'd have to deal with it, but at this point in time ... they're going through the process."

Humphreys said with such limited space in her current location, she hasn't been able to offer as much as she would like. With a new, more spacious location, Humphreys plans to expand on the store's baby section, which offers high-quality, fashionable baby products.

"We'll be expanding on our baby section for sure and maybe getting back into picture frames again," she said. "I have just run out of space and couldn't do certain things."

Humphreys is hopeful her hours will extend later in the evening with the move in February, but said she won't know what her new hours will be until all the tenants of the plaza get together.

"Once we get closer to the opening date, we're going to sit down and come up with hours," she said. "I imagine we'll be doing seven days a week and some night shopping. I can't confirm that, but that's what I'd like to see."

The new building is going to be a fresh start, Humphreys said.

"It's nicely done," she said of the building and what it has to offer.

"I think they're going to take really good care of it and it's going to be nice. There are skylights in the hallways and we'll have satellite radio in the entire building.

"It's going to be a great new start for me."

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