Goodbye e-commerce

Picture of Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply store in winter at night

The store in Grand Marais is still open!

By Jack Stone

After much internal debate about how to increase our business and take care of our customers better, we dipped our toe into the fascinating world of e-commerce about two years ago. We set up a separate department, added the software to our “backroom” and we were off to the races. Or so we thought. What we did not take into consideration is that even our very best customers cannot resist the lure of the large online retailers and Amazon.

Our prices are dictated to us by our manufacturers and we sign agreements that prevent us from discounting new items on our e-commerce site. Some manufacturers tell us we can’t even put their items online at all. We have struggled with how to best take care of you, our valued customer, but our sales on that front just don’t justify that we continue with an online presence. Because of this, effective February 1, we are taking our e-commerce site down. Our regular web site, www.stoneharborws.com is still up and of course our store in Grand Marais is still open.

What does this mean to our business model? First, we will continue to put unique products up on our website. You will be able order these items from us either by phone or email. We will ask that you not give us your credit card numbers in email. If you place orders by email, we will call and get your credit card info over the phone.

Secondly, we will continue with our eBay store and still put discontinued products there. Many of you have already become familiar with our site. Those who are not, check it out here.

Also, many of you know what we sell in the store and you are always welcome to give us a call at (218) 387-3136 and talk to us about anything you have seen in the store and we will gladly send it out.

One last thing I feel we need to mention. If you look up some of our reviews, you can see some folks saying our prices are understandably high because we are in a resort area. That is just not the case. Most all of our prices are set by our manufacturers. We cannot advertise specific items at a lower price without risking losing those lines. When we have sales, you do not see us naming specific items because of that restriction. However, when we have a storewide sale, it includes everything in the store, unless noted. We could raise our prices over the MSRP and I am sure there are stores somewhere that do that. In my mind that is not an ethical way of doing business and we refrain from it. If something were to be mismarked, please bring it to our attention and we will adjust accordingly.

So that is our story. In some ways I like it this way because I think mail order is impersonal and we like the direct contact with you, our valued customer

P.S., If you want to buy something from our e-commerce store one last time, here’s the site: shop.stoneharborws.com

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