Three Virden outdoors-men had an idea that’s become a brand-new business on King Street.
Bryce Galbraith and Cory Heaman, along with Matthew Hipwell of Wolverine Supplies, are partners in an outdoor recreational supplies store, StillWater Adventures at 269 King St. E. in Virden.
They used a bad time and turned it into a timely business.
“Cory and I were both electricians. Then when Covid hit we were laid off.,” says Galbraith. “Time at home allows one to dream.”
From the dream came the decision. “We’d been hoping to start a new business in town. Fishing’s been a passion for all three of us for years now so, we’re really excited to get going in Virden.”
With people looking to spend more time outdoors since the pandemic, the time was right.
StillWater opened Saturday, Dec. 4 and already these retailers are pleasantly surprised by the community support for what they offer.
“Everybody seems excited about it. It’s nice to have that positivity behind us,” said Heaman.
Galbraith agrees, “So far, the response has been fantastic.”
Salesmanship seems to come naturally to him. He rhymes off the features of StillWater’s many products. “We tried to choose from some unique lines, things that aren’t readily available in Canada.”
DSG Outerwear is just such an example. It’s a line of snow and fishing gear for women started by a family in Wisconsin. “Their claim to fame is the drop seat.” This one-piece warm coverall has a large zipper across the back. No need to take the suit off when nature calls. Some items even have flotation features built right in.
The company makes hunting wear and UV rated clothing that you can expect to see at StillWater next year, along with rain wear.
Next, Galbraith points out an illuminated float that glows bright green. “What caught my eye was the fire float.” It may catch a fish’s eye as well. He says that product from North Dakota was started by a husband and wife team. “So, they’re our next-door neighbours. I think they make good tackle so we were excited to get them up here.”
StillWater’s location on one of Virden’s main thoroughfares meant the restoration of an older building, which took time, but the owners think it was worth it.
“I recall this location from when I was younger. It was a cafe. I came here with my parents quite a bit,” Galbraith chuckles. “We were excited to give the old building a new lease on life, right on King Street, it’s the right place to be for exposure.”
Come springtime, stock will include paddling gear such as kayaks and stand up paddleboards, tents, back packs and other summer items.
This Virden location is handy for local fishing and not far from Hwy 83, a route for Americans accessing Manitoba’s lodges. It provides in-person shopping for specialty items that Galbraith thinks will feed the outdoor tourism appetite, an important industry in Manitoba.