Identity change on horizon for Snow Shack
Snow Shack, Merrill’s premier outlet for all things powersports, has certainly undergone its share of changes over its four decades of service to the Merrill area. But on Saturday, the store will undergo perhaps its biggest and most profound change to date, as it transitions to a new identity; 365 Powersports.
Founded in 1977 by Dave Blaise as a snowmobile parts and supplies dealer, current owner Jim Bergh joined the Snow Shack team in 1998 as a salesman and used parts specialist. Right around the same time as Jim came on board, the business began its first evolution as Blaise began to explore the world of motocross equipment and supplies.
“Dave was always a snowmobile guy,” Jim explains with a grin. “That was his passion and he made sure snowmobiling remained at the core of his business. Around the mid-late ‘90s, motocross really took off as a sport, so Dave dabbled a bit by selling helmets and so on. But snowmobiling remained his focus.”
Bergh would later move on to become the store manager in 2006 and upon Blaise’s passing in December of 2016, Bergh took ownership of the business as was Blaise’s wish. Upon taking the reins, Bergh set about pursuing his vision of evolving Snow Shack into a full-service powersports hub. From apparel to safety equipment, along with a service and repair shop. The name change, official as of Saturday, will be the final step in bringing that vision to fruition.
“Local interest in powersports has just exploded over the last 20 years,” he adds. “Our goal with the name change is to switch the focus away from snowmobiling, as the name ‘Snow Shack’ alludes to. When people see the name ‘Snow Shack’ most would immediately assume we are focused solely on snowmobiling and winter sports. But with the new name of 365 Powersports, it really sends the message that we are more than just a snowmobile supply store. We have it all, from snowmobiling to ATV’ing and motocross. Our new slogan says it all; ‘Get your gear throughout the year.”
Bergh first ventured into the service and repair aspect last summer, upon renting the shop behind the store to Billy Marble of Powersports Plus. But in March, Marble moved on and Bergh seized the opportunity to bring the shop and store under one name and the same core values.
“I decided I wanted to offer service and repair in addition to what we already offered in apparel and equipment,” Bergh said. “I wanted to oversee the service and repair operations, rather than have it be separate as it was before. Then I could assure my own values are carried over into the service and repair aspect, along with our sales operations. I want to make sure people are taken care of and are shown the same courtesy across the board, whether they come to us for service and repair or sales.”
The key to becoming a full-service powersports outlet of course, was finding someone to assure customers receive the top quality service and repair services Bergh envisioned. Jim found his answer in a familiar face; service technician Kerry Muenchow.
“Kerry worked for Billy Marble and when Billy left, Kerry found work elsewhere. But when I was ready to launch the service and repair element, I offered him the job. Fortunately he accepted and came to work for me full time.” Bergh adds with a grin.
Snow Shack (soon to be 365 Powersports) now offers service and repair on all makes and models of ATV’s, UTV’s and snowmobiles. The shop holds the same hours as the store; 10 a.m.-7p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
Following the changeover, 365 Powersports will continue to offer the same wide variety of apparel and safety equipment for all powersports. From top brands in the snowmobile industry such as FXR, Castle, Klim and 509 to top brands in the ATV/UTV and Motocross industry, including Fox Racing, Fly Racing, Thor, and Alpine Stars. 365 Powersports offers an assortment of motorcycling apparel and equipment including gloves, jackets and eyewear In addition to apparel and parts, 365 Powersports will continue to offer an array of options for helmets of various types and sizes from Youth-7XL adult. Helmet styles include full-face motorcycle, dual sport, MX and half helmets. The store also stocks new parts for snowmobiles and ATV’s. Although 365 Powersports does not stock motorcycle parts, parts of all types for various machines can be ordered and typically arrive within 48 hours during regular business days.
Saturday will not only mark the official transition to the new name and slogan but will also feature an open house, complete with food, beverages, in-store discounts and close out sale.
“I want people to realize we want to be here for our customers year-round,” Jim Bergh explains. “Get your gear here throughout the year! Whether your needs are repair or service related, or you are looking for something in particular for your sport of choice we can help. We are excited to keep our 40 years of experience in the Merrill area going, as we move forward with continuing to offer our customers the very highest level of service possible.”
“Dave and Jim built a great rapport with people over the years and it’s that personalized level of service that keeps people coming back,” adds General Manager Sara Proulx. “They were treated like family and that aspect is still very important to us. Our name may be changing but our core values of assuring top quality service and a family-like atmosphere will never change.”
Jim or Sara can be reached at Snow Shack, 715-536-6077, during regular business hours.