Every day for the last 30 years, Jennifer Yoon has woken up and walked across the street to open up the small corner store she and her husband owns on Burnaby Mountain.
Tucked away in a corner on Cinnamon Drive in North Burnaby, inside a row of houses that are home to other businesses and residents, a sign says "Mountain Village Market." Yoon opens the doors to the convenience store, sits behind the desk and waits for the customers to walk in.
There is no rush hour; they come in small intervals — sometimes it’s a regular who comes in for lottery tickets, sometimes it’s a local grabbing a bag of chips and candy, sometimes it’s a small family with a child doing a quick milk-and-eggs run.
While she waits for the sound of the bell to ring as customers come in, she picks up a stash of yarn stacked underneath her chair and a pair of needles, and works away on crocheting small figurines — whales, puppies, bees, you name it — that now adorn the front counter of the store.
Yoon has always loved patterns, colours and arts and crafts, and she's always been hand-making things, from paper flowers to flower arrangements that she sold at her store, she said in a conversation with the NOW.
About three years ago when the pandemic struck and the customer flow started waning, to keep her spirits up she started crocheting new patterns that she learned from YouTube, using materials she received from her daughter’s in-laws.
It all started with a hand-sanitizer pouch, which was the rage at the time, she said. But in the years since, the designs have evolved.
Yoon said it makes her happy to see the customers' reactions to the crocheted display. “Even if people don’t buy it, when people walk in to the store and see the display of the hand-made products, they say, “Look how adorable this is” — that gives me happiness,” she said.
Although she said she would love to give her store a makeover, building and hanging displays, her age (she is 64), she said, is a deterrent.
Crocheting requires good eyesight and manual dexterity, she added. Despite that, she hopes to keep learning and experimenting with new patterns, and to expand the business.