A new store that caters to outdoor sports enthusiasts has opened in Wanakena, a tiny hamlet near Cranberry Lake with a population of less than 100.
The Trading Post at the Pine Cone Grill opened this winter to fill the gap created by the closing of the Wanakena General Store, which sold groceries and basic outdoor supplies.
Rick Kovacs, who owned the Wanakena General Store, shut down in October saying he couldn’t make enough money in the winter months. He had owned the store for about six years, and said one had been at that location for about 60 years.
“We really weren’t intending on doing a store, but when he closed it just seemed like the thing to do – to make it a little bit more of that hub,” Trading Post owner Suzie Rabideau told the Adirondack Almanack.
The Pine Cone Grill is a restaurant that is located off Ranger School Road next to the Oswegatchie River.
Rabideau said the Trading Post will carry the basic outdoor gear, such as maps, compasses, assorted fishing gear, and other items, but not groceries. It will also sell some arts and crafts because Rabideau is an artist. She said some of the inventory came from Kovacs’ store and some came from a store she previously owned with her husband Jeff in Altona. The couple have owned the Pine Cone Grill for about three years.
“We don’t want to see Wanakena go to the point where it has no businesses,” Rabideau said. “The boat launch is right next door. We have boaters, fishermen, campers, coming in and out of there all the time, and it just seemed like the place to do this. It’s a nice hub for this..”
Rabideau also anticipates that hikers will visit the store before heading out on the Cranberry 50, which goes by their property. The store will be open Fridays and Saturdays during snowmobiling season and five days a week from about May 1 through Columbus Day. It will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesday. Rabideau did note that hikers, anglers and others heading into the woods can ring the restaurant doorbell when the store is not open as long as the hour is reasonable. “If a fishermen comes and determines he wants worms or lure at 6 in the morning, I’m fine with that,” she said.
Kovacs said a store in Wanakena helps connect the resident community to the backcountry visitors. “The locals get to see the hikers,” he said. “It helps to break down the us and them.”
Photo by Mike Lynch: The Pine Cone Grill in Wanakena.