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West End update – Bob Hendrickson – GINCC

Shopping local key

Bob Hendrickson, executive director, GINCC

ISHPEMING — How many of us go to a certain store or restaurant because of the people we meet there or the workers who greet us? My guess is most of us do.

Shopping local isn’t just about supporting the local community. It is also an experience that we can look forward to time and time again. Going to the local boutique, hardware store, bike shop or outdoor retailer give us personal interaction that you don’t get online or going to a big box store.

Talking with the owners, meeting other customers and actually touching the merchandise is part of the local buying experience. Small business owners have a passion for their business. Yes, it’s about making money, but small businesses owners are much more invested in the things they sell or services they offer.

Take Wilderness Sports in Ishpeming for example which has been in business for 80-years now. Located on the corner of Main and Division Streets, Sandee and Ray have hired an outstanding staff who are knowledgeable about most every outdoor sport imaginable. A person can go in there and get an honest fishing or hunting report. They can also give you recommendations on equipment if you are new to a sport or an expert looking for some hard-to-find products.

Go down the street a little further and you’ll meet Sarah, owner of Native Nails and The Main Haven Spa & Boutique. Sarah has been in the nail business for a number of years and apprenticed many to learn the trade. In the boutique side of the business, you’ll find trendy clothing both new and on consignment all at very reasonable prices.

Across the street is Jackson’s Hardware which has been part of the Ishpeming downtown since 1914. There you will find third generation owner John Jackson behind the counter most days. The store has an array of high-quality Milwaukee Tools along with most everything you would need to do most home repairs.

Antiques? No need to go further than the West End of Marquette County. While in Ishpeming check out Main Street Antique Mall and Susie Qs. Both David, owner of Main Street Antiques and Susan, owner of Susie Qs, are quite conversant regarding quality items from yester-year. Check out the neighboring towns of Negaunee, Republic and Michigamme for other antique outlets.

Looking for a performance mountain bike or cross-country skis? Walk a block further and you’ll meet Spencer, owner of West End Ski & Trail. He just renovated the old Merricks building and has brought a vacant space back to life. He’ll also give you the best routes to ride on the RAMBA trails system depending on your riding ability. On a budget? Head over to Ngaunee and walk into Love and Bicycles where you’ll likely have a conversation with Blake or Jon Becker, both co-owners of this eclectic shop.

This is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to shopping experiences on the West End of Marquette County. The GINCC has over 200 members who are just as unique as the ones mentioned above. Check out our online directory at www.gincc.org for charting your next shopping adventure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob Hendrickson is the executive director of the GINCC. He currently resides in Negaunee with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Sierra. He enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and hunting along with family time.

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