“Love is the measure of life: only so far as we love do we really live. The variety of our interests, the width of our sympathies, the susceptibilities of our hearts— if these do not measure our lives, what does?”
The original “why” that steered us toward opening a store was painfully simple: to get the hell out of advertising and work doing something we truly love. Sure, our jobs pay well enough, but it’s not exactly fulfilling work, nor is it something we see ourselves doing when we have more gray hairs than brown ones.
But even in the early stage of this new business journey, the “why” has already become deeper and more meaningful than we could ever have imagined. There are actually a whole bunch of “whys” and I’d like to share some of them with you in hopes that you can relate them to your own journey.
1. The awesome people we’ve met
For us, what has become the most rewarding aspect of owning this business is when people come in and are truly excited that we’re here…especially those hardcore outdoors people/gearheads. Their affirmations mean the world to us and our conversations about the trails and equipment can literally last for hours. We’ve found that people who love the outdoors share a common disposition and know what’s really important in life. They are truly nice folks! It’s a pleasure to meet such people and it’s given our lives extra meaning being here for them when they’re in an equipment pinch.
2. The very special communities we’ve become a part of
The business owners of the Catskills have a bit of a brotherhood/sisterhood thing going on. It’s not easy to make it up here and mostly everyone knows we’re in it together. When I speak to other business owners and tell them what we’re doing, an instant bond is formed. We instantly want to help each other however we can. And very much like those who love the outdoors, Catskills business owners share many common characteristics…namely toughness, persistence, and most of all, heart. In addition to the business owners, we’ve met and in some cases worked with, many of the amazing people who steward the trails of the Catskills. This includes the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference, the Catskill Mountain Club, the 3500 Club, and the Catskill Center. Both the volunteers and employees of these organizations show a tremendous amount of passion for what they do and they’ve inspired us to get involved whenever our insane schedules permit.
3. Making someone’s weekend
While we knew going in that we would spend a lot of our time recommending hikes, we had no idea just what the impact our suggestions would have. I remember on Columbus Day Weekend, a couple came in with no place to stay the night, so we sent them to the camping spots in Sundown Forest that are right along the Neversink. Beautiful spot! We weren’t even sure they’d find anything, as it’s a pretty poplar location. Well, the next day they came back beaming with excitement about how amazing their night was. This was one of the more fulfilling moments we’ve had yet. Despite the fact that we’re a store and stores are supposed to sell stuff, we are always happy to welcome people to plot out an adventure. Helping is more rewarding than selling.
4. The excitement of building something from the ground up
This thing called “Catskill Mountain Storehouse” is ours. Completely ours. We created it from scratch and watching it grow is so incredibly rewarding. This store has become an extension of us. As it grows, we grow. We’ve learned so much about ourselves, other people, and running a business, and we’re extremely grateful for that.
These are just a few of the many “whys” that I can recall at the moment. New ones keep popping up every weekend we’re open. Thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far. You’ve inspired us and we hope our evolving story can inspire you in some way to consider more reasons why you do what you do.