I spent my summer holiday in the far north exploring Alaska and the Yukon. One of the joys of a holiday that takes you to towns and cities with small populations is that you get to see entrepreneurial creativity in full flourish since the chains don’t see many of these markets as viable. Nowhere is this more evident than in the coffee houses of the north. Consider this list of whimsical coffee house concepts:
• Brewed Awakening (Ketchikan, Alaska)
• Pour House (Ketchikan, Alaska)
• The Black Bean: Burritos and Espresso to Go (Skagway, Alaska)
Fun stuff, no?
Sadly, I don’t think the residents of these towns fully appreciate how good they have it. I met a man in Juneau, Alaska who told me that when McDonald’s opened there several years ago that a 2-mile line up for food formed on opening day. Even if the line was only 200 yards long this is disheartening news. But, to make matters worse, the mayor of neighbouring Ketchikan had a plane load of Big Mac combos air-lifted out for his citizens (or at least cronies) to eat. (I guess he hadn’t been to the Sandpiper Café in Juneau where, despite being in Alaska, the hand formed burger patties are piled high with romaine lettuce and ripe tomato slices. An airlift of those burgers I could understand!)
My plea to you today, whether you live in a big city or in a backwater, is to find a locally owned food shop, restaurant or coffee cart and show them some love by making a purchase. And, if you want to tell others about these great local finds, I hope you’ll jot a note about them below.