Story last updated at 3:50 p.m. Thursday, May 23, 2002

Kachemak Gear Shed moves to new store
By R.J. Kelly
Managing Editor

photo: business
  Photo by R. J. Kelly, Homer News
Charlie Garver takes down fishing gear at the old Kachemak Gear Shed last week.  
Last Thursday and Friday were moving days for the folks at the Kachemak Gear Shed.

After a couple of days closed during the move, the longtime fishing and outdoors gear headquarters reopened Monday around the corner in the former Kenai Supply building.

After 19 years in several leased buildings in the Northern Enterprises Boatyard, co-owner Ken Quinn and his crew stripped the old shelves bare and carted all sorts of boating, fishing, clothing, hardware and thousands of other items to the 45,160-square-foot building Quinn and co-owner Randy Chiabai bought last December.

Pausing briefly in the midst of the organized chaos inside the old store Thursday, Quinn was looking forward to making use of the larger and more efficient space at the new location.

"We're going to go slow and get reorganized," Quinn said about plans to "gradually expand" sales of plumbing, heating, electrical and other home and business supplies, as well as continuing to serve the fishing industry, anglers and outdoor recreationalists.

With much of his business historically centered around commercial and recreational fishing, "At this time of year, we can't be down long," Quinn said.

As evidence of his remarks, a few customers continued to wander in past the closed signs to ask about parts on order or supplies.

As shelves were cleared, workers like Staci Schade were busy wrapping plastic around skid loads for forklifts to load onto trucks for the short trip to the new store.

In an atmosphere of cheerful chatter, Charlie Garver was taking nets and floats off the walls as Tracy Clute packed them up.

photo: business
  Photo by R. J. Kelly, Homer News
Kachemak Gear Shed's new store.  
A few hundred yards away in the new store, Yvonne Ketelle was vacuuming the large expanse of carpet, while Jo Thirlwell, a summer net hangar for the last 15 years, was filling in to answer phones and keep customers informed.

Quinn had hoped to move into the new building "two months ago," but the final approval from the state fire-code inspector only came in last Wednesday, he said.

Vacant for the last four or five years, substantial renovations and upgrades in wiring, plumbing and other repairs had to be down "to bring it up to code," he said.

Part of the renovation included transforming a big warehouse-like open space in the old Kenai Supply building into two large open spaces for sales and storage areas, as well as offices.

When the move was announced in January, Homer Real Estate broker Angie Newbie, who handled the sale, said the building was the largest free-standing commercial building in town.