Adventure Gear

Two local gems that will make your next adventure unforgettable.

Sault Ste. Marie is situated at the heart of the Great Lakes making it one of the top destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. Blessed with endless natural beauty, adventure opportunities, and outdoor outfitting specialists, this four-season prime destination has everything you need!

Great Lakes Outfitters and Chippewa Trading Post are two locally owned and operated outdoor outfitting specialists who carry reputable quality brands at competitive prices with exceptionally knowledgeable staff, that are dedicated to the needs of their customers. Proudly, these two outfitters have been in business for decades and they show no sign of slowing down any time soon.

If you are looking for anything for an outdoor adventure, give these two local gems a crack at making your next one unforgettable!

"We want to build on our reputation of providing outstanding customer service and product knowledge." Dave - Great Lakes Outfitters

Great Lakes Outfitters (formerly Joe's Sports and Surplus) is about quality outdoor adventure gear, community support, service after the sale, and high-quality customer outfitting assistance and information. If you are into outdoor adventures whether it is snowmobiling, snowshoeing, backpacking, camping, hunting, fishing, and boating, they have the gear for you. When available, they also carry a wide range of army surplus clothing and gear.

Joe's Sports and Surplus, originally opened as Joe's Variety in 1956 by owner Joe Stortz Sr. In the 1970's Joe Stortz Jr. and his wife Ginette grew the store into Joe's Sports and Surplus where it has been a mainstay on Queen Street for over three decades. In 2009 Joe sold the business to Dave and Jennifer Edgar. Dave, a returning Sault resident had shopped in the store growing up and realized the store's value as Sault Ste. Marie keystone business. For the first year of the new operation, Joe mentored the new owners passing on his business savvy and knowledge.

Dave's vision is to continue to grow the store into a true Outfitter striving to provide quality products at very competitive prices.

As of 2021, they’ve rebranded and relocated as Great Lakes Outfitters and have expanded to be a full-line paddle shop. Great Lakes Outfitters has expanded its fishing department and is opening a new paddling centre to service the area with a selection of canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

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Photo Credit: Joe's Sports & Surplus

A Little History

Joe's Sport and Surplus had its origins in used furniture. Joseph Raymond Stortz Sr. after moving his family from Timmins to Sault Ste. Marie started the "Soo Trade-in Centre" on Wellington Street in 1956. The business strategy and model was "Why buy new when used will do?" Competition at this time was tough, especially with Joseph's main competitor LEMAY'S used furniture. Working on a shoestring budget, with lots of determination, long hours, and hard work Joseph kept the "Soo Trade-in Centre" financially viable.

Capitalizing on his success in 1963 Joseph moved the business to the defunct Golden Grain Bakery building. It was at this time that nine-year-old Joe Jr. began helping his father in the business for one dollar a day. He was responsible for sweeping up and helping his mother Effie clean and scrub the myriad of used appliances including iceboxes, refrigerators, and stoves getting them ready for sale.

Moving once again to Frank's Bakery building on 9 Queen Street East, the "Soo Trade-in Centre" was in the midst of a very busy business sector which included: Barnes Drugstore, Tony's Diner (now known as Ernie's), Tastee Freeze (now The Lotto Shop), Loblaw's, Palace Meat Market, Edwards Hardware, Thompson's Furniture, and Megginson's Shoe Store.

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Nice Smallmouth | Submitted by: Niall Scarr | Location: Secret Hole

In 1974 Joe Jr., after a stint in life insurance, joined his father to take on more a leading role in running the business. With Joseph now spending his winters in Florida Joe Jr. started to make changes to the business Changing the name to "Joe's Variety and Surplus Store" the furniture mainstay of the business was dropped to focus on military and any surplus clothing and products that could be resold at rock bottom prices.

Using the radio to make commercials Joseph teamed up with announcer Harry Wolfe. Delighted listeners would wake up to Joseph saying,
"Well Harry, we have Blankets, Military coats, Coveralls, and Workboots..." "Where's that! Joe's Variety and Surplus store!" Later on, Joseph and Joe Jr. got Wayne Gretzky and Tim Rose into the performance - doing commercials for the store.

In 1976, the business was on the move again to its present location - the former Ricciatti's Grocery Store - 40 Queen Street East. Shortly after the move, the business name changed to "Joe's Sports and Surplus" and was incorporated. Removing the word "Variety" from the name was a good move on Joe Jr.'s part as many thought that Joe's was a confectionery store.

The store gradually changed to the present format of outdoor sports supplies, snowmobile suits, and clothing going through a foray with hunting and fishing supplies and hockey equipment.

In 2009, Joe Jr. sold the business to Dave and Jen Edgar. Dave - a returning Sault resident had shopped in the store growing up and realized the store's value as a Sault Ste. Marie keystone business. For the first year of the new operation, Joe Jr. mentored the new owners passing on this business savvy and knowledge. Passing the torch to the new owners, Joe Jr. now spends his winters in Mexico with his wife Ginette. Joe Jr. stops in at the store from time to time and shares stories about the business's history.

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Dave being lowered from an ice climb | Submitted by: North Of Superior Climbing Company | Location: Batchawana Bay

Great Lakes Outfitters

Location
162 Old Garden River Road
Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, P6B 5A6
(705) 253-2361
Website: www.greatlakesoutfitters.ca

* Information and photo credits: Great Lakes Outfitters (Formerly Joe's Sports & Surplus)

Chippewa Trading Post

Located on the side of Highway 17 north, the Village is conveniently situated on your way in or out of town and features a collection of unique shops and restaurants associated with the era. When you stop at Frontier Village, which also features an old-fashioned Trading Post – a terrific source for all of your outdoor sporting needs, ensure you leave yourself some extra time to visit the true-to-theme surroundings of centuries passed.

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The main store, Trading Post, has served locals and travelers for over eight decades. The area attraction not only provides the perfect spot to sit and eat lunch before browsing through the colourful shops, but it's also ideal for hunting and fishing licenses, camping goods, food, and live bait, something the Trading Post has been known for since it opened decades ago.

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The locally owned and operated Frontier Village provides a taste from the past while providing modern-day travelers with all the amenities they need.

Location
1332 Great Northern Road
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
P6A 5K7
705-759-4518
Website: www.trading-post.ca

* Photo credits: The Chippawa Trading Post

About Dionne Elgie

Dionne Elgie grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and has a deep personal love for this city, and like many Saultites, a real passion for the great outdoors. Along with her team at DIG (Digital Intelligence Group)—she works with Tourism Sault Ste. Marie to curate compelling travel stories and collect truly useful tour tips that appeal to both local residents and out-of-town visitors. You can contact Dionne at dionne@digdeep.ca—she’d love to hear from you!

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