Spearfish Lake Outfitters

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Spearfish Lake Outfitters is a store in Spearfish Lake specializing in outdoor equipment and owned by Josh and Tiffany Archer. It was originally an outgrowth of their kayaking interests and expeditions. While there were other sporting goods stores in the area, those catered more to customers that hunted or fished. Those stores also sold canoes, but mostly aluminum. Instead, SLO sold kayaks, touring bikes, backpacking gear and dogsled equipment. They also did some mail order business, but the success of the store meant the Archers were busier with the store than they wanted to be, distracting them from their dogsled training and work on the C&SL.

The store was located on the edge of downtown, between Point Drive and the Lake. Joe McGuinness owned the building, a single story block in which his bookkeeping business was at one end. The building "had the best view of the lake and the beach, which is why he'd bought the building in the first place."FtS08 When Spearfish Lake Outfitters began, it was as the third store, but over time the hairdresser retired and they expanded into that storefront as well. The new section was all water oriented while everything else and the office was in the original section.

Joe McGuinness also helped them learn about running a retail store and would teach classes for them on whitewater and sea kayaking. He also taught the couple about touring bicycles. He filled in when things got too busy in early winter as did Phil Wine and even Jackie Archer was pulled in on occasion. By 2000 they really needed to hire someone full time. John Archer had bought into Joe McGuinness's bookkeeping business next door and his wife, Candice had left her job with a bank in Decatur and was at loose ends. Although she started being very unfamiliar with the merchandise, she quickly got up to speed to running the store full-time.

During summer of 2008 Janice Lufkin works in the store part-time. From the back porch she saw a child in trouble in the lake and rescued him applying the CPR training she'd received.SK29

The store rents out camping equipment, wet suits, kayaks and canoes. They also maintain a confidential list of free campsites submitted by, and available to, customers. Cody Archer and Janice Lufkin take rental gear and the campsite list for their road trip to look at Southern Michigan University in summer 2008.SK31 Henry McMahon and Tricia York rent tents, sleeping bags and wetsuits for their surfing trip to Lake Superior.HP30

Besides the store, Spearfish Lake Outfitters also leads expeditions. Judy and Ken Sorensen will lead some commercial kayak trips as does Tiffany. Candice, Tiffany and Phil also ran some trips including taking kayaker groups out whale watching in Quebec. The short story The Storm presents a scene from a trip Candice is leading.

There is a group that meets on Saturday mornings to learn various outdoor skills, taught by Tiffany and Candice. Candice Archer had talked Jack Erikson into teaching a beginning birding class in payment for some nearly expired bear spray.BITH29 The first birding class took place on Saturday, August 7, 2010.BOF12 BOF13