Yellowknife book store to close early over ‘weapon threats’

Yellowknife’s Book Cellar will close early on weeknights after incidents involving “weapon threats and damaged property.”

Posting to Facebook on Wednesday evening, the downtown book store said it had no choice but to begin closing its doors at 6pm on weeknights to ensure the safety of staff.

While the doors will close at 6pm “for the next few weeks,” the store said staff will remain until 7pm to allow for special order pick-up.


“The safety of staff is my first priority,” store owner Jennifer Baerg Steyn wrote. “As it is no longer safe for one or two staff people to be on their own in the evening, we must close. We hope this is temporary while we work out plans for additional private security.

“At the same time, I want to acknowledge that we understand that addiction and trauma are complicated and that while resources exist, they are also tied to systems that have been historically unsafe.

“I do not want to participate in a cycle of increasing police involvement and so this is the best solution I have for the moment. I am also deeply frustrated that the actions of a handful of people have stripped the safety of a space I want to be welcoming for all, especially for the staff.”

Baerg Steyn, an employee at the store under former owner Judith Drinnan, bought the store at the start of this year.

The Book Cellar has been in business in Yellowknife since 1979.