Press-Republican

October 27, 2013

New owners at Maui North

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — The new owners at Maui North in Plattsburgh bring a passion for the sports the store supplies.

On Oct. 15, Kim and Dennis Manion closed on the deal to buy the ski, snowboard and cycling shop from Robin Keysor and Lynne Murray, who will continue to own and operate the Lake Placid location, now known as the Lake Placid Ski and Board Shop.

“It’s kind of the culmination of a dream come true,” Dennis said.

Bring vast experience

That’s because the Manions, both natives of Plattsburgh, are life-long skiers and cyclists. Kim said she has 12 years experience in bicycle racing, mountain biking, road racing and track cycling.

She is certified as a Level 3 ski instructor by the Professional Ski Instructors of America. It requires expert skiing ability as well as being an experienced instructor.

Dennis said he enjoys commuting to work by bicycle and also is interested in vintage models.

Kim said almost all of the inventory lines will remain the same. That includes snowboard equipment from companies such as Burton and Rome, ski equipment from companies such as Volkl, Rossignol, Salomon, Marker and Atomic, clothing from brands like Descente, Spyder and The North Face and bicycles by Cannondale and Trek.

Maui North has a full-service repair shop for snowsports and cycling maintenance and repairs, as well as experienced boot fitters on staff. 

Skateboarding equipment and water-sports equipment are also available. There is even a bargain area on the third floor of the building, which is located at 31 Durkee St.

Kim said Keysor and Murray have developed a loyal customer base, and they hope to offer them the same level of service they have come to expect.

“We have some big shoes to fill. Robin and Lynne have done a great job,” she said.

They are pleased they were able to retain the entire staff at the store. Those six employees have helped make for a smooth transition. 

“This is an awesome staff. They’re pretty amazing,” Kim said.

Training supported

They plan to support the employees’ continued training efforts so they can stay on top of the latest innovations and technology.

“We want to develop the expertise of the staff even further,” Kim said. “They’ve invested in Maui North and we want to invest in them.” 

The staff includes managers Chris Sharrow and Rob Vidile, who have been at the store for 11 years and seven years, respectively.

Sharrow said that for the last couple years, they have been the most visible faces at the shop.

“They’re (customers) used to seeing us,” he said, adding the transition has been seamless.

The shop could soon see some new high-end equipment and apparel lines to go after that market. 

“We’re growing. With the new owners, I think it’s going to expand even more,” Sharrow said.

The Manions plan to get more involved with some community events and organizations, such as the Adirondack Cycling Team. Dennis plans to start attending Plattsburgh Downtown Association meetings and would like to see if they could showcase Warren Miller films each year, possibly at the Strand Theatre.

Other possibilities include sponsorship of downtown rail-jam events for skiers and riders to show off their skills. They also want to support Beartown ski area as much as possible.

To expand marketing

Kim said they would also like to expand their marketing efforts, particularly to the Canadian market and through increased use of social media. 

They also welcome input from customers on what they would like to see available at Maui North.

The Manions left the area after high school and have lived in a variety of locations. That included two years in Egypt before they returned to Plattsburgh five years ago. Dennis worked for Bechtel in Montreal until he retired and landed a job at New York State Electric and Gas, while Kim works as a business adviser at the North Country Small Business Development Center.

Their two daughters, Ella, 8 and Anna, 5, are both avid skiers. They also enjoy riding their tag-along cycles behind their parents, where they are frequently seen on the roads around Cumberland Head. 

Dennis said cycling has exploded locally in the last few years. The area has not only the scenery cyclists love, but also smooth roads with wide shoulders, low traffic and a variety of terrain, from flat to rolling to mountainous.

“Our New York roads are beautiful,” he said.

Maui North was started by Keysor and Murray 30 years ago. They have moved to Wilmington to be closer to their daughter, who is a student at Northwoods School.

He said they live a few houses away from Keysor and Murray on Cumberland Head. The former owners and new owners will continue to collaborate, Dennis said.

NBT Bank and the North Country Alliance were helpful with funding, Kim said, and they received tremendous guidance from the staff at the North Country Small Business Development Center as they put together their business plan.

Maui North is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. They plan to be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays during November and December.

Payment can be by cash, check or major credit card. For more information, visit www.mauinorth.net or call 563-7245.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com