On June 1st, 2018 I opened the doors to Experience North. I survived my first year in business! It is a tremendous accomplishment, I am very proud and appreciative of all the support I've received along the way.
I researched for 10+ years before I would be my own boss. I knew it would be the most difficult challenge of my life so far, and that there was a lot involved which I knew nothing about. It was terrifying, to quit all my jobs and start from nothing. But I had to do it, it was a passion of mine, something always called me back to the idea of sharing outdoor adventures in this spectacular landscape.
No research could prepare me for what I was to encounter, but I persevered. I now watch my business grow a little more each day :)
I put in long hours, I make costly rookie mistakes, and its impacted my lifestyle, health and relationships as I poured everything into creating the outdoor adventure hub I've always dreamed of. But my efforts are constantly rewarded when clients return to tell me of their first experiences, or show pictures of the fish they caught on the lure that was recommended, etc. I've learned from what really works for my business as well as what doesn't.
Work/life balance is always a struggle for everyone, I am no different. I do my best to make the time for my own family's adventures. It's important to practise what I preach after all. All while keeping the doors open with consistent regular hours - so we're here when you need us. I have help from employees who contribute their own knowledge and experience, as well as loyal clients sharing my business with their friends and offering their great ideas of what they would like to see.
In the first year Experience North evolved from a large hang-out space/venue for events with a small retail space - to primarily retail space, with a small hangout section for trip planning and events etc. Inventory continues to expand with something new almost everyday! The equipment rentals are ready for the season, and the store is still filled with local artists work on consignment. The live bait although new, has proved very popular.
Another thank you to everyone who helped me get to where I am today! Couldn't have done it on my own.
I'm very excited to see what is in store for the years to come...
Preparation is very important for safety and is often overlooked. We have the mentality that it will never happen to us. But would you be prepared if something did?
Most of us don't consider every possible negative outcome in our day to day lives. Everyone wants to think positive! But taking a little time to consider the "what ifs" can mean the difference between life or death.
For example, we spend a lot of time travelling the highways between our small communities and to city centers. In winter we face many hazards it should be obvious, but how many times have you caught yourself running to your warm vehicle dressed in little more than a sweater and shoes, to drive 10-20kms or more, anticipating braving elements to and from your vehicle only. Or starting your journey low on fuel because its cheaper to fill up in the next town. We've all done this this with little to no consequence, but it only takes once to realize the mistake is deadly.
- An accident closes the highway and leaves you stranded in the lineup for hours.
- your car breaks down and your left to wait for help with no heat in -30 degrees
- you find yourself in a ditch in bad weather, no cell service or traffic in sight.
- your car wont start in the cold when your ready to return home from your outing.
- your involved in a collision and you or someone else is hurt
- and so many other possibilities...
What will you wish you had prepared before this catastrophe happened? It will be well worth a little time and money to ensure you have what would be needed in such an event - although if your lucky you may never use them.
Keep your tank full, dress appropriately for the weather - and keep extra items such as winter boots, jackets, hats, mitts and a warm blanket, emergency candles, matches, flashlight and other signalling devices, first-aid kit and knowledge to use it, booster cables or booster pack, tools, and fully charged cell phone are some examples of what you may look for and are easy to prepare ahead and keep in your vehicle.
Of course the same applies to your outdoor adventures and even in your home. Take the time to consider the possibilities and what you would need in your emergency kit in every scenario. (What if My skidoo breaks through the ice, what if there is a power outage for several days etc...)
I would love to hear your ideas, real life stories and best practises! What is in your kit? please share in the comments below....
2018 was our first year here at Experience North, and thanks to so many of you its been a great start!
We opened the doors June 1st, with rental items available such as paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, camping and fishing gear packages. In store we had a few local artists work for sale on consignment, a huge pile of amethyst, a limited supply of outdoor/fishing items, brochures and information, and tables and chairs scattered about for coffee/tea or soft drinks.
Little by little it has expanded. We added new rental equipment such as motorized boat/canoe, satellite communications, cook stoves, and now for the upcoming winter season we have our fat bikes, snowshoes and Ice fishing package. More artists have displayed their work, and we are steadily discovering more suppliers for souvenirs, clothing, and outdoor gear. We didn't plan on opening a bait shop but by demand have included worms and eco baits. we plan to continually expand in this manner over time, including more clothing, "Terrace Bay" and other local points of interest - specific souvenirs, and more larger outdoor items available for sale.
But most importantly we developed the cozy atmosphere to come hang out. You will find cozy seating/couch, board games, acoustic instruments/open mic, book exchange and continually expanding drink menu. We aim to be the place for locals to meet up and travellers to stop in to pick our brains, and share our experiences. We even host small venue events for home business, parties, presentations, workshops and meetings etc. All open to the public and walk-ins.
The past year has been very busy and exciting, and I can't wait to see what the New Year will bring!
We have been juggling flexible holiday hours - but For the upcoming winter season (after Christmas) we will be running a consistent 9-5, 7 days/week. Stop in and see us during daylight hours to stock up for your winter adventures. We will be open for hot cocoa and coffee too of course :)
We couldn't of done it without your support, Thank you for everything. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!
From Experience North
Don't hide out just because the days are getting shorter and colder. Depression levels peak in the fall with the busy stressful holiday season, lack of vitamin D, and supposed lack of things to do. Don't let it get you down this year. here's some ideas of what you can do to keep busy this season.
1.) Go on a lunch date - try something new!
2.) Take a Hike - Fall is perfect hiking season! No bugs and its not too hot. Just be cautious of the changing weather, shorter daylight hours and slippery terrain. Wear some Orange just in case.
3.) Go Hunting - Not into killing things? Shoot them with your camera instead.
4.) Game Night - Find a Board Game and Get together face to face with some friends for a LOL good time.
5.) Christmas Shopping - Get it done early for a change and save the stress! Bonus Points if you handmake something yourself or buy an experience instead of an material item (ski hill passes, movie tickets, etc.)
6.) Catch some waves - Lake Superior puts on quite the show this time of year.
7.) Do some Baking - it'll warm your soul and your home :)
8.) Get Healthy - join a gym class or start a new routine. Jumpstart your new years resolution and be healthy and happy through the season changes. Enjoy that Christmas feast guilt free!
9.) Get Creative - Pick up a brush, or brush up on your music lessons. Find your inspiration, visit a gallery or concert.
10.) Find a good Book - Nothing beats curling up with a page turner you don't want to put down on those chilly nights. Turn off the Netflix and Keep your brain active instead.
What are your favorite fall activities?
share in the comments below :)
You might be from the North Shore if:
- you regularly used the word pisscutter in a conversation.
- you've ever rode a snowmachine to work.
- you wake up early to shovel your way out of the house - for no other reason than to meet up with some buds for coffee and catch up on gossip.
- you've ever won a snow sculpture contest.
- you catch yourself waving to everyone! And getting strange looks for doing so while visiting cities...
- you have taken a date for a drive on the bushroads to scout out some wildlife.
- you've found a geocache by accident - and you don't own a GPS.
- driving 5-10 hours a day is a typical shopping trip.
- you look confused when people say Cabin or Cottage - that there is a Camp.
- Camo is your year long attire.
What makes our stretch of the North Shore Stand out to you? Leave a Comment below for a laugh.
Have a great day!
An Insight into what we really are,
Experience North is not a bar, it’s not an outfitters, it’s not a store. It is all of that and so much more.
I would like to think it has an atmosphere similar to a bonfire. When the fire is lit it’s an invite to come sit and share your stories of travel and adventures.
Walk in anytime to relax and hangout, play the guitar, pick up a board game with friends over drinks or coffee. Snoop around the shop at outdoor gear or (my fav) local art and creations. Rent gear at your convenience for your next adventure. Feel free to pick my brain for local knowledge, I’ll eagerly point out maps and tools to assist with trip planning, or suggestions of what to do around here. We offer various inspiring events, meetings, and classes, as well as activities for kids.
It is difficult to convey this at times, but a sincere Thank You to all who have taken part in the experience. And Sharing with others! 😋
Looking forward to seeing you there...
Your friend at Experience North,
Reminding you to adventure safely and often!
We all do it! Overwhelmed and stressed - we find ourselves daydreaming of that perfect vacation! Whether its the beaches of Cuba, the mountains of Alaska or the European Culture. In our minds, all we can focus on is the need to get away. We might even look up flights and accommodations before we realize that maybe our bank accounts just aren't cooperating with this dream - and we put it off, again and again. Disappointment now sinks into our bellies with the realization that we just cannot escape this mess right now, and we continue to exhaust ourselves with the hope that one day we will make it. We spend our time staring at our friends photos on social media and wishing it was us - therefore living through our cellphones.
Here's what's wrong with that: were making ourselves sick, and that "vacation" feeling is right at our fingertips at a more reasonable cost, or perhaps even free!
Instead of staring at a screen you could be posting your own epic photos to make everyone else jealous! Until you can make that dream vacation a reality - you could be vacationing a little everyday.
Its time to play tourist in your own backyard! Get off the couch - yes you can bring your phone, only because you might want some photos, google something near me or use some great apps to map your route. This time you will be sharing your own adventures.
Step 1: Go outside! walk or drive, near or a little farther - just get out there. Escape for 10 mins, an hour or maybe even a weekend.
Step 2: Find Something new! Visit the tourist information center and browse brochures and events board for ideas. Maybe you find a new shop or restaurant, maybe a new hobby you've always been curious about, or maybe you visit your old favorite beach or lookout with a whole new perspective, or bring someone with you to experience for the first time - you will feed off their reaction.
Step 3: Be in the moment. This is your vacation, your escape. Delight in these moments! You never know where it might take you or who you will meet along the way.
It might feel a little silly at first, but you would not believe how much your missing even in your own small communities. I hope this inspired you to get out there! Think you've seen it all? I'll challenge that. ;)
Where did it take you?