Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply
It’s the beginning of December and zero degrees. What do I do in such conditions? I get out and look for more snow, that’s what I do. I am so excited to get back on my Altai Hok skis that I may appear desperate.
I can’t wait for the workout of traversing hither and yon through the woods wth the traction of snowshoes and the glide of skis! Exploring by Hok is my favorite winter activity now. (My complete list of winter activities includes alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and simply sitting in snow banks, so that’s a long list to choose from.)
The universal binding of the Hok allows me to use whatever footwear is best for the conditions on any day, whether that be my backpacking boots, or my mukluks, or even a big honking Baffin pack boot. The skis are wonderfully maneuverable because of their short length. And the metal edge helps with grip on icy terrain. The integrated climbing skin allows me to go up and the glide on the down side is controlled and so much more efficient than snowshoes!
I am getting so caught up in the wonder of my Hok skis that I almost forgot to mention they make wonderful Christmas gifts! I recommend including a few accessories so the happy recipient can immediately put these beauties to use. First of all, add some trekking poles. I don’t always use poles, so my trekking poles can easily be collapsed and put in a pack. Then they are available if terrain dictates their need. Secondly, I like to use skin wax–it prevents the snow from slushing up and freezing on the bottom. Lastly, I use glide wax on the tip and tails to maintain that glorious glide on the down side. As long as your recipient has warm winter clothing and boota, that’s all that is needed for exploring by Hok.
Once we get more snow, I am getting out on my own Hok skis. Until then, you can find me looking skyward in hopeful anticipation. Let it snow!
There are some special people that I would like to thank as we come into the Thanksgiving season and as we have finished up our 5th summer in Grand Marais. Hardly a day goes by that someone does not come into the store and tell me how great it looks and how much they like the design and the way it is merchandised. So let’s start at the beginning.
When I decided to buy the property and remodel the store the first people I needed to track down were an architect and a designer. Tom Barbeau was the original architect of the store along with a local designer, Richard Olson, that he has worked with for years, so that is where I started. We pulled out the original plans of the store and added some area and finished off the back areas and third floor. They made some changes to the floor plan and we were on our way.
Next we needed a general contractor and Tom got me in touch with Arno Kahn of Builder’s Commonwealth of Duluth since they too worked on the building when it first went up. I was reluctant to use out of Cook County contractors for the work and came to an agreement that we would use Cook County labor in almost all instances. Our local labor force is as good as it gets and if I was going to live here and have a store here, it was imperative that we had “locals” doing the majority of the work.
While we were putting the store up we needed to put together a staff that was knowledgeable about the outdoors and the area and had a feel for what the consumer needed to enjoy our area. We quickly put together a staff that did a fabulous job of getting the store up and ready for our grand opening. Some of those same people are still here today. Others have moved on but we have always been able to find great people to take their place.
Social media was next. Kristin Walters set up our web site and Facebook originally and set the stage for what we have today. When Kristin left us we were so fortunate to bring in Ann Papenfuss of Apirlaät who picked up where Kristin left off and has made our web site and Facebook what it is today.
Next I looked around and even though I was extremely pleased with the talents of the staff in terms of merchandising, I felt we needed an outside touch so I brought in Colleen Kleve and Tracey Lundhagen of Double Vision to help put a professional touch on our displays and it too has paid off.
I mention all of this so that next time you come in the store you will know where the talent comes from. We go form the architect, designer, builders all the way to the staff, which of course is the most important asset I have. And on a personal note, two people who were most instrumental in the whole initial planning and implementation of the concept were Kristin Walters, my daughter and Eric Stone, my son who was my initial CFO.
So, if you are ever looking for help with your projects, do not hesitate to contact any of those I have mentioned above. Most of my local contractors do not have web sites or Facebooks but do not hesitate to call me when looking for recommendations.