Wanakena General Store February 2011
The St. Lawrence County Local Development Corporation has finalized a $10,000 grant through its Microenterprise Grant Program to Wanakena General Store. Funds from the SLCLDC will be used for working capital and inventory.
The Wanakena General Store has been serving its small Adirondack village since approximiately 1900. Wanakena is home to the SUNY ESF Ranger School, and the store if the community hub sharing the same building as the Post Office and serving as a gathering place for local residents. Once the premier destination for fishermen in the Adirondacks, Wanakena still serves as the trail head for the Five Ponds Wilderness where hundres of visitors each year come to hike, snowshoe, paddle, snowmobile, fish and hunt. The new Cranberry Lake 50 Trail is also drawing interest to the area.
Wanakena General Store is listed on a number of websites and brochures as the only stop for information and supplies. When in late 2009 the current owners decided to step away from the business, the community was at risk of losing the only provider of groceries, supplies and information for miles.
Richard Kovacs and Angela Oliver understand the vale of Wanakena General Store to the local residents, to their own business, and to visitors, many of whom are their clientele. As owners of Packbasket Adventures in Wanakena, the husband and wife team has been successfully operating their small lodge and guide service since 2003, and were recognized by the NYS Small Business Development Center as the State's 2005 Rural Entrepreneur of the Year.
As Rick and Angie explored the idea of operating the store they found that it offered many advantages and opportunities that would complement their current business. So, after careful consideration, they became the new proprietors of the Wanakena General STore. After several months of closure they were able to re-open the store in May of 2010.
Products include groceries, baked goods, hunt/fish/pack/paddle supplies, sandwiches, snacks, soda, beer, gifts, souvenirs, prepared foods, and rental equipment. They serve local and seasonl residents, students and staff of the Ranger SChool, and provide snacks and last minute items to visitors who come to experience the vast recreational opportunities offered in that part of the Adirondacks. They also have permission to print and sell SUNY Ranger School clothing and paraphernalia.
"Rick and Angie are the first recipients of funds through our Microenterprise Grant Program," stated Corporation CEO Raymond Fountain. "We recognize the value of the Wanakena General Store in providing such needed services to the community of Wanakena and to the many visitors of the Ranger School and the Adirondacks. We are pleased to be part of the project."
"The microenterprise grant has helped us launch our website and stock the store with items our customers are looking for," says Rick. "We are grateful to the SLCLDC for supporting our efforts to keep this historic business going in our small community." For more information you can reach them at 848-3008 or on the web at www.wanakenageneralstore.com.