Hainesville resident and outdoor enthusiast Amy Knutson Strack realized a lifelong dream of owning a business when she celebrated the grand opening of her new store, Northerly Outfitters, in Grayslake's Washington Square Thursday.
With family, friends and community leaders at her side, Knutson Strack said she hoped the speciaty store would create new friendships, contribute to the local economy, create a few new jobs and be a destination for customers who share her love of the outdoors, even if we are in the mountain-less Midwest.
"My goal is for the store to mean a great deal not just to me but to others. I hope it will fill a gap in terms of finding products and solutions for people to get out and enjoy what the area has to offer."
Knutson Strack said she left the corporate world to open her dream store with the help and support of her family, including her husband Steve, daughters Annika and Linnea, brother Joel, and her parents and friends.
She also credited the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Grayslake's College of Lake County with helping her find her way to opening Northerly Outfitters.
“Tucked in the back of my mind for a long time was a business model that seemed to be missing from this area,” said Knutson Strack, in a press release.
“I have dreamed about an outdoor shop that celebrated people of all abilities, that made no apologies for the fact that the Midwest doesn’t have any mountains, and that didn’t try to sell you a parka for climbing Everest if the conversation could be about the activities you enjoy here or want to try," she said.
The store has a wide assortment of outdoor clothing and goods such as outerwear, backpacks, hats, hiking gear, and equipment for all ages. The store also plans to offer an equipment rental program.
Having personal experience using the products she sells is important, said Knutson Strack, who vows to offer only the best customer service and advice.
She said Northerly Outfitters has partnered with companies she considers to have responsible business practices and that are customer-focused. This season’s product line includes items from Skida, Rab, Skhoop, Coal, Crescent Moon, Deuter, O Loves M, Tasc, LunchSkins, Liberty Bottles, Obermeyer, Fits and Fox River socks, Locally Grown Clothing Co., baabaazuzu, Mimi the Sardine, and Haba toys.
Northerly Outfitters is located at 1166 E. Washington St., in Grayslake's Washington Square. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday. They are closed Sunday and Monday.
The store will have a grand opening sale on Saturday.