"It all started late October 2020 while sitting with my mom,” says Shelby Scott, owner and founder of Buckles & Blues boutique, “We were talking about the lack of clothes shopping options in Whitecourt. I was working as an equipment operator at the time, telling her how it wasn't a forever career for me. We made jokes about me starting a clothing store, saying 'how hard could it be?'”
By the end of March 2021, what began as a casual conversation soon evolved into meetings with bankers, brands and lawyers, and eventually the demolition of an old pet store that would soon become Buckles & Blues. In June, the store was open.
Of course, filling a store with clothing and products in the middle of a pandemic was a challenge on its own.
“Starting a company at age 20 came with a lot of mistakes, learning, and a fair share of tears and late nights, but I wouldn't change it for the world,” says Shelby, “I love my store and I'm very grateful for the people in this community I was born into."
Whitecourt, Alberta is a small town of around 10,000 people, located on the Alaskan Highway in the heart of an oil field town. What sets it apart is its unique placement, where the McCloud and Athabasca rivers meet. Like many small towns in Canada, everyone knows each other.
“In the summer, we have an event called Party in the Park where they bring bands into Rotary Pond to perform, and everyone gathers to have a good time,” says Shelby, “In the winter, the park turns into a snowmobile field!”
Since its opening only a year ago, Buckles & Blues has gotten plenty of regulars who drop in at least once a month. Shelby adds that there are many other women-owned businesses in Whitecourt. “Sometimes they bring me snacks, that’s been really nice of them.”
“Northbound Supply Co.’s pieces really have that Canadian feel, and they’re very popular at the shop!” says Shelby, “From the beanies to the hoodies, we really love having them.”