Norshore Clothing Co. owner Ethan Casady had a decision to make this spring. He'd opened the company's first storefront in downtown Two Harbors in July, and they had a satisfactory years.
"But it went how we expected it to go. Meaning that we knew we weren't going to have huge sales and huge amounts of people in here. It was kind of a limited audience," Casady said.
Casady's main landscaping business, North Harbor Services, took up a great deal of his time. He didn't have much to spare for the clothing retailer and was considering closing the store. Instead, he decided it was time to refocus, rebrand, renovate the space and take on more stock from local creators to form a new store, Breakwall Outfitters.
By refocusing, Casady handed over the day-to-day business to Breakwall Outfitters' new manager, Christine Higgins. She took over order processing, employee management and other duties, freeing up Casady.
Casady then started talking to more local creators to see if they'd be interested in joining forces. The first person he thought of was his fellow Two Harbors Fire Department member, Jamie Gelineau.
Gelineau's JLG Kustom Rod and Tackle business already had a local following, and he was welcome to the idea of displaying his items in Breakwall Outfitters.
"But I felt like people would feel a little weird coming into a store called Norshore Clothing Co. to buy tackle," Casady said. "So we needed to come up with a new name and make Norshore Clothing just a product in the store, not the overall focus."
Casady came up with the name Breakwall Outfitters when he contemplated about where people tend to congregate outdoors in town. He can see the breakwall from his storefront, so "it felt like a natural fit," he said.
Now that he knew the store's focus, he started reaching out to other creators, such as Tree to Tree Hammocks, Granite Gear and North 61. All agreed to join his collaborative effort.
Next came the renovation. Casady had to renovate the 28-by-15-foot space that Norshore Clothing took up in the former Falk Drugstore building, so he was prepared to continue the process. The new space is nearly three times the size of the former store.
He also had his construction crew help with taking off the old siding along Sixth Street to help spruce up the building.
Breakwall Outfitters is hosting a grand opening weekend May 24-27. The store, 601 First Ave., will open 10 a.m. Friday, May 24. Regular hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Monday.