Kimberly Rowe-Manion stands in front of a rack of newly arrived skis at Maui North on Durkee Street in downtown Plattsburgh.
After 30 years, Maui North in downtown Plattsburgh is under new ownership.
After looking for some time for a business opportunity, Plattsburgh natives Kimberly Rowe-Manion and Dennis Manion heard of the possibility of buying Maui North.
“To make it in the North Country you need to either be a professional, or you need to own a business. We’re both from small business families, so we started looking at different businesses, and this is the one that sort of stuck,” said Rowe-Manion.
It helped that the couple are lifelong skiers, and Rowe-Manion was a ski instructor for three years. She is also formerly a competitive cyclists, on road, off road and on the track.
With 30 years in business, and a fiercely loyal customer base, Rowe-Manion isn’t planning any major changes. Right now the couple are focusing on getting up to speed with running the business.
“There’s a lot of turning wheels. You’re the HR person, you’re the financial person, you’re the buyer, you’re the janitor. We have awesome staff who help out with it,” she said.
Along with being a store owner, and working at the Small Business Development Center at Plattsburgh State, Rowe-Manion is an active force with the grass-roots movement to rejuvenate downtown Plattsburgh in her spare time.
She launched the North Country Marketing Alliance, to try and tap into the 3.2 million Canadians who cross the border, but typically keep their shopping to the Route 3 corridor. She is also is a proponent of the idea of “shop local, shop small,” encouraging local shoppers to consider the downtown businesses in their shopping plans.
Along with these initiatives, she sees a need for the city to pursue a larger, anchor type business to attract traffic to downtown.
“I think if Plattsburgh had an economic development office, even if it was part time, just to pursue the grants that are out there. There’s so much money out there,” she said.
She hopes too to see the area’s greatest asset, the waterfront, developed some day in a way that would attract business to the downtown. She thinks a small boutique-type hotel downtown would help attract foot traffic and spin off businesses like restaurants to the area.
With several efforts to revitalize downtown Plattsburgh currently under way and showing positive results, there is a new energy downtown. New people are coming in and bringing new ideas with them. People like Rowe-Manion are quietly at the forefront of the effort.