Gift shop gets new owners
In March, Proctor residents Michele and Chris Hogan took a trip to Grand Superior Lodge in Castle Danger, but the couple weren't expecting the weekend to lead them to becoming business owners.
Along the way, however, the pair noticed Silver Creek Gifts and Gallery on Highway 61 as they drove to the resort. The seasonal shop was closed for the winter, but the pair had discussed purchasing a business in the past and the gift shop checked off a lot of boxes for their plans. Since the shop already carried a variety of quality gifts and North Shore themed souvenirs and since it was a quick drive up the highway from Proctor, it wouldn't require the couple to move or even quit their day jobs.
"We had been talking for a couple years about owning a business and what type of business we would want to own," Michele said. "We just decided that a gift shop is what we really saw ourselves doing and enjoying. It had a lot of check marks, so we called the owners and started working with them and investigating it. It was just happenstance that we came across it."
The location on Highway 61 already sees a lot of tourist traffic and the couple said they like the things Two Harbors is doing to encourage more tourism on the North Shore. Chris said the shop already sees a ton of business coming up from the Burlington Bay Campground.
"We've run into some communities that are having challenges developing tourism and it seems like Two Harbors is going the right direction," Chris said. "It's hard to imagine tourism declining on the North Shore and for all those reasons we think that we can grow the business."
The couple plans to increase the length of the season the shop is open as well as the consistency of the hours during the summer. The shop will open May 1 in the future and stay open through the first weekend of November to capture tourists coming to the North Shore to see the fall colors. In addition, the shop will be consistently open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
Chris is also prepared for the realities of owning a gift shop of this type, but he feels the products in the store will eventually speak for themselves and bring new and repeat customers in.
"In a store like this, not everyone that stops by is going to buy something, maybe 50 percent are going to buy something," Chris said. "Whether they buy or not, the response is always this a really a cool store. There's something for everybody and kids love it."
The couple are focusing on stocking the store with a variety of unique and quality items like North Shore-themed pendants and a variety of Minnesota-focused T-shirts. Chris said Michele has a passion for researching new and interesting products to fill the store. The couple also said they welcome feedback and requests on types of items to carry in the future.
What's more, the couple hopes to also develop a local clientele and engage with residents in need of a fun gift or trinket.
"We are a seasonal gift shop but, for us, we really want to become an addition to the neighborhood," Michele said. "We don't want to be just a place for tourists. I feel like we have something to offer because Two Harbors is an hour from the mall. It's a little drive and we've got jewelry and kid items for a quick gift or birthday party. You can pick up something at our shop without having to make that drive."