Join Yukon entrepreneur Larra Daley, owner and operator of Cultured Fine Cheese, a store in Whitehorse that sells cheese and many specialty food items, as we discuss their experience and the impacts the Covid-19 pandemic has had on them and their business.
(3:26) Larra shares how they have connected with their customers and community through cheese, and that establishing the relationships they have supported them throughout the pandemic. They discuss how people really supported shopping locally to help businesses survive.
(5:18) Larra shares their first memory of the pandemic. They had planned a trip to Vancouver Island during spring break 2020, and on the second day of their trip they started realizing how big it was going to be when they saw the grocery store was empty. They recognized things were changing dramatically and made the decision to head back to the Yukon immediately and start to figure out next steps.
(8:14) Navigating the public health measures, Larra shares they helped them feel safe, but reinforcing the measures in their store was a challenge due to the narrow space. With many of their customers being regulars, they found people were receptive and supported the measures in place. They are finding as the health measures have been lifted that people are still waiting at the sanitizing station and following previous protocols even when they don’t need to.
(10:16) Despite not being mandated to close, to keep everyone safe they quickly shifted to going online and providing curbside/gate pickup for customers. Larra shares they are proud of being able to put an ordering system and website together quickly that allowed their customers to continue to shop with them, and their pride in how strongly their customers wanted to engage once they were able to start welcoming them back into the store.
(13:24) Thinking about their business model, over the last couple of years, Larra has had what they created reaffirmed as working well and that customers have responded well to how they do business.
(14:18) Larra discusses some of the pandemic related supports they were able to utilize to help support their business.
(16:08) Looking at their business, Larra shares that they are taking a pause to dig into their business to see if there are any patterns emerging that they need to pay attention to along with taking some time to find balance after the chaos the pandemic brought.
(19:27) Larra considers what they’ve learned about leadership during the pandemic. They share how they try to like everything they do and lead with their heart. They focus on ensuring their team feels valued and empowered to make decisions, and make sure that they are open to learning from their team so that everyone works together.
(22:25) As the Yukon economy emerges from the pandemic, Larra is looking at staffing and sustainability of a high performing team as the key area for their business.
(26:17) Larra’s advice for emerging entrepreneurs? Be excited by what it is you want to do. If you are doing something you love, you will be able to pour so much more of your energy into and be prepared for long hours and to make mistakes. They share their hopes for most people to set boundaries and avoid burnout where possible.
(29:08) Larra shares how over the last couple years, we’ve seen how strongly opinions can divide people, and how practicing patience, empathy, and awareness that we all come from different places that form our different opinions is important.
(33:24) What wellness practice keeps Larra grounded? Running! Larra has an amazing group of friends that go out and sweat it out on the trails. Having time outdoors with their family is also important to keeping them emotionally stable and feeling more connected and resilient.
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To learn more about Larra and their business, visit their website at:
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