By Jack Stone
In the early 1970s, I started working for a small outdoor shop in Sun Ray Shopping Center in St. Paul. When I left for the Army, the store was closed, and I kicked around for a little bit. In 1972 or 1973, I worked for a small start-up named The Lob Pine. EMS bought them out, and I went to work for Eddie Bauer, the premier outdoor shop in the country at that time. While working there, I found that I loved the quality gear, and I enjoyed working with like-minded customers.
I left Eddie Bauer to pursue the occupation I learned in the military in the petroleum industry. I worked at various companies, but I always spent my vacations and off time in the Grand Marais area (both summer and winter). And whenever I was up here, all I could think of was what I had at Eddie Bauer.
I continued to rock climb, climbing Devils Tower in 1979, which led me to quit smoking. I continued to canoe and camp. I did some fishing. But I missed the interaction with like-minded people and the quality outdoor gear. When I would come through Grand Marais, I would stop at other local shops, but I always thought the town could use another outdoor shop.
In June of 2010, after years of living in Grand Marais, I realized my dream and opened Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply. I was able to stock it with quality products and offer our customers rentals, tours, and advice. I met some great people, and I am not talking about the celebrities and names that you know. I met small business owners, farmers, schoolteachers, college students, etc., etc., from places near and far. We shared stories and adventures. For the past 12 years, I have been blessed with their presence.
Why am I saying all of this? Well, you will hear that I have put Stone Harbor on the market. Some people would like to buy my building but want to close the business. I really don’t want to do that–I would like to see this wonderful outdoor store continue in Grand Marais.
But I am getting a little older, and I need to start thinking of retirement. I will list Stone Harbor for a couple of months, and if it doesn’t sell, I will shut it down and sell the building. If that happens, I suspect we will be here through the winter and maybe into next summer, but all that depends on staffing and deadlines from other people. I just wanted you to hear it from me instead of through the grapevine.
Meanwhile, I will be here a lot, and it will be great to say hi. And I want every one of you to know how much I have valued your loyalty and friendship. Don’t be a stranger.
Image credit: Shawn Nielsen, Nielsen Studios