Joe’s Sports and Surplus, first established by Joe Stortz in 1956 and located at 40 Queen Street East since 1976, has become something of a landmark in the downtown core, with a reputation for selling high quality outdoor adventure clothing and gear.
SooToday dropped in to visit the staff and learn more about the store, leaving them with a pair of SooToday coffee mugs.
Joe’s, owned by Dave and Jen Edgar since 2009, carries a wide range of outdoor adventure clothing and gear for all seasons, including tents and other camping equipment, clothing for hunters (but not guns or ammo), hiking and fishing gear (a fur bearing trout also hangs on the wall behind the counter!) and everything a snowmobiler would need.
The store is the only Tilley hat distributor in Sault Ste. Marie, the durable hats made in Canada with a lifetime guarantee.
“‘Made in Canada’ is huge. A lot of people come in looking for made in Canada items,” said Tabitha Whitfield, store manager.
A free pair of Darn Tough socks, also with a lifetime guarantee, comes with footwear purchases made at Joe’s.
“Customer service, that’s our number one priority, along with good quality merchandise,” Whitfield said.
“A lot of stuff you buy online, it may be high quality as well, but you may be stuck with a hassle if you have a problem with it. We prefer over the counter service to help you.”
“We’re very big on that. A lot of people would rather pay a bit more here and get good customer service. You could go to a bigger store and you can’t find anyone to help you. You might save a dollar but you won’t be sure what you’re buying. By the time you walk out of here you’ll be sure what you’re buying,” said Yvon Filion, Joe’s sales associate.
Joe’s has also sold a considerable amount of merchandise over the years to students at Sault College enrolled in outdoors-oriented programs, such as fish and wildlife technician and forestry technician, and a number of the college’s students have been employed by the store.
Joe’s Sports and Surplus is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The store employs seven people.