Sunday, December 9, 2007

The sun sets at Midnight Sun

RangerMark called from Chicago last night with the news that Midnight Sun, an outdoor adventure store on the waterfront in Duluth, is closing. The Duluth News Tribune has a bare bones article and the Midnight Sun website politely thanks customers for their support.

I had first heard of Midnight Sun from the MayorOfTurtleRiver (the VOR's sister) at our annual Grand Marais campout. It was a vague report at best, folks she had cross country ski raced with (and against) were opening a outdoor store somewhere in Canal Park. Armed with this info and no name I was unable to find it until I made a second and more concerted attempt. It was a wonderful store with high end merchandise in the old Endion Station building at the northern edge of Canal Park. The five co-owners were biathalon skiiers, kayakers, and generally knowledgeable outdoor folks that were extremely helpful and customer oriented. So customer oriented in fact, that RonO, RonS from Novorca Paddles, the VOR, and yours truly all bought boats from them in the past couple of years. They were the dealers for Valley and P&H, arguably some of the finest sea kayaks made. The photo at the top of this post is me after breaking my greenland stick while test paddling the Valley Aquanaut. I am standing right in front of the store and thats Gitchee Gumee herself in the background. I wound up buying the boat, figuring that if I can roll this thing up with half a paddle that is a very good omen. One of the great things about the store was that you could test paddle any boat by carrying it 50 yards down to the lake. There is much to be said for testing a prospective boat in Lake Superior, especially when you're right in the open lake with swells, wind, and even (and I can attest to this personally) dumping surf. When my seat broke, an apparent epidemic among Valley boats, they replaced it at no charge. I can't think of anything more to say other than good luck to Peder, Siri, Cory, Kara, and Chad. Best of luck in future endeavors and, to steal the last line from your farewell, I'll see you on the trails, slopes, and water!


Kristen said...

Always sad when a good outdoors place closes down. A bit like the big bookstore and coffee chains killing the far superior customer-oriented shops.

DaveO said...

Amen. I think they were just far enough off the main touristy Canal Park mainstream that they didn't get the walk up crowd. And Duluth ain't exactly a booming area with lots of disposable income for high end gear. That being said I'm move there in a minute.

Ron said...

They were a great place to work with. Sad they're closing.