By Beth Poliquin
Five years ago (this week!) my husband and I rolled into Grand Marais after moving from southwest Arizona. I’d never lived anywhere this far north or stepped foot in Minnesota. Our arrival offered an exciting summer living in our tent, awaiting the day that we could finally move into the house we were buying. When we first walked into Stone Harbor while exploring the town, I knew I’d found a place we would frequent. A few months later I started working part-time there, then full-time as the hard goods buyer, and then as the general manager.
One of my favorite lines in any movie is in “You’ve Got Mail,” when Tom Hanks’ character is giving Meg Ryan’s some advice. He says, “It’s not personal; it’s business.” She takes issue with that and says, “What’s so wrong with being personal, anyway? Whatever else anything is, it oughta begin by being personal.” Intentionally or not, this is how I live my life. I strive to complete tasks with excellence, but relationships along the way are as important–if not more important–to me. This has caused me to feel pretty connected here in Grand Marais.
Being a part of, and leading, the team at Stone Harbor has been the most challenging, most fun, and most fulfilling thing I’ve done professionally. I have been so grateful to do the things we do and work with the people we get to work with. I’ve loved being a part of this community who loves the outdoors: outdoor company reps, US Forest Service workers, paddlers from beginners to fellow instructors and guides, lodge owners up the Trail, our loyal guests and customers, and especially those I’ve worked with in the store. I can geek out a bit about the gear and adventures, but it’s the people that have kept me energized and motivated.
Thank you for coming into Stone Harbor. Thanks for letting me help you pick out a sleeping bag, hiking pants, a kayak, or a paddle board. Thanks for asking for a hike recommendation and letting me show you my favorites on our map. Thanks for coming on a tour with me, whether it was kayaking, stand up paddling, hiking, snowshoeing, or exploring Isle Royale.
I’ll still be helping with some behind-the-scenes stuff for Stone Harbor. Although you won’t hear my voice when you call the store or see my face when you stop in, you might still see my name occasionally.
My sincerest appreciation to Jack, who trusted me to manage his store for the last four years. It has been a privilege to work with him and for him. I greatly value the time I’ve spent with the Stone Harbor team. These guys are the best.