The local business community is central to the future of our economy. Existing businesses represent a major source of local investment and a resource for job creation where there is scope for them to strengthen and expand. The emergence of new businesses also drives job creation, as well as product or service diversification.
During the summer of 2011, we undertook a business survey to gain an understanding of the needs, weaknesses, strengths and capacities of local businesses. Concurrently, we surveyed Dawson households to determine what types of spending occur outside the community, and what services were in demand but un- or under-available locally.
One of the outcomes of this research was the identification of opportunities for change or expansion in existing businesses, as well as potential markets for new goods and services. In some cases the demand may not be sufficient for full-time or stand-alone businesses, while other cases may require unconventional social enterprise models such as cooperatives. Nonetheless, any new business in Dawson (regardless of how small) offers the potential to keep more of our spending within our own local economy, to increase the spectrum of services available and enhance our lives in the Klondike region.
Since 2011, we have observed changes in available products and services. Local innovators are delivering on a number of the ventures identified by survey participants as missing. That entrepreneurs are recognizing opportunities, and taking the risks necessary to start new ventures reflects positively on our local economic environment. The following
is a list of the top product or service gaps that were identified by respondents to our surveys. In instances where local businesses have filled in gaps we have identified them in brackets. If we have missed any new businesses… please let us know!
Transportation links including, but not limited to:
• Dawson airport shuttle (Husky Bus)
• Whitehorse bus (Husky Bus)
• Taxi service
• Car rental (KDO research indicates that this would be a very marginal business due to Dawson’s small size and tourism seasonality)
Housing development and rehabilitation including:
• Land development, and rental and home ownership development. (Low Impact
• Seasonal accommodations
• Heritage building rehabilitation
Miscellaneous services including, but not limited to:
• Financial services (insurance etc.)
• Professional services (accounting, law, etc.)
• Fitness coaching/training (Pursuit of Wellness Personal Training, REAL Fitness & Training)
• Website development and maintenance
• Trades (electrical, plumbing, etc.)
• Gardening (Meld Garden Services)
• Small engine repairs (Advance North Mechanical, Endurance Automotive)
• Environmental clean-up services
• Special events management and tour planning
• Large-scale printing (Atlas Expediting)
• Animal boarding (Red Canoe Dog Motel and Humane Society Dawson)
• Laundromat in downtown core (Monte Carlo Laundromat)
• Computer repair (Florian Boulais repairs Macs, we do not know of anyone
currently repairing PCs.)
• Chimney sweeping
• Year-round, full-service coffee shop
Miscellaneous retail product categories including, but not limited to:
• Local foods, including vegetables, eggs and value-added products (demand
• T-shirt printing (Klondike Drawing Company)
• Toys and electronics (demand exceeds supply/selection)
In a small rural town where one might expect to see little change in terms of local business, what actually emerges is a pattern of lively demand/supply response by entrepreneurs who are creating opportunities out of product and service gaps.
If anyone is interested in discussing ideas about new business ventures, we offer free business advisory services through our office upstairs in the CIBC building (access via exterior stairs on 2nd & Queen side of building). Feel free to stop by for a chat or contact us.