Highlight – Louricas’ Purchase Woody’s One Stop
SAULT STE MARIE, September 13, 2021 – When Pam & Nick Louricas heard Hal Woodgate was thinking about selling the store, they knew it was a great opportunity for the right new entrepreneurs. Pam had been the smiling face behind the counter, greeting thousands of customers over the last seven years. Woody’s One Stop convenience store has been an East Portage staple for more than 30 years, serving campers, islanders, fishermen, and locals alike.
The more the two thought about the store’s future, the more they began to buy into the idea that maybe they were the ones posed for such an opportunity. Nick, a Sault Tribe member, and Pam, a Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe member, moved to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan in 2000. Nick has worked for the Sault Tribe for over 20 years, managing Motorpool operations and overseeing budgets for the department. With Pam’s long-time experience in customer service, the two began to reach out to their local network for advice on becoming first-time business owners.
Small Business Resources
One of the first resources Nick tapped into was Sault Tribe Thrive. After initial discussions outlining the business opportunity, the pair got to work on their research and planning. “You’ll spend a lot more time than you thought doing the research, doing the prep work,” noted Louricas. Sault Tribe Thrive was able to connect him with U.P.-based Community Development Financial Institution, Northern Initiatives, as well as with financing programs avaialble through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “The SBA backed the loan and even helped with some of the initial payments,” remarked Louricas.
Realizing the steep learning curve ingrained in entrepreneurship, the pair were thankful for all of the support throughout the more than six month-long process. “Do your homework, and then do some more,” added Pam. Working with banks, lawyers, and state licensing agencies meant that the business and financing plans had to hold their own and stand up to scrutinizing eyes. Just because the business had been around for a while did not guarantee its future as a proven winner, continuing to perform against the likes of big box stores carrying national brands.
The two put in the work and through many long hours of research, planning, and negotiating, they closed on the purchase of the business in August 2021. “From the moment you step foot through the doors you get a wonderful and true welcome,” offered one customer unsolicited. As the Sault Tribe Thrive team spoke to the Louricas’ one sunny late August morning, it was apparent by the steady stream of foot traffic that something was going right. “If the machine isn’t broken, why fix it?” postured Nick. The Louricas’ credit knowing and understanding their customers and their needs as the number one driver of their bustling retail business. Whether the next customer through the door was a long-time friend or first-time visitor, Pam’s enthusiasm and smile appeared to brighten everyone’s day. “You can’t run a small mom-and-pop store like this without the reliable support of your customers,” restated Pam.
Woody’s One Stop is a true independent, family-owned convenience store and bait and tackle shop, located at 1198 East Portage Avenue in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The store, open 7am to 11pm Saturday through Thursday and 7am to 10pm Fridays, offers groceries, including Michigan-Made snacks, beer, wine, liquor, live bait, tackle, Michigan Lotto, and much much more. Woody’s One Stop is proud to support local businesses. If you have a product you’d like to see on the shelves at Woody’s, contact Nick and Pam at (906) 632-7361 to find out how. Woody’s would like to thank their customers for their support through the change in ownership over the summer, in addition to sending out a big thank you to Hal and Sharon Woodgate for all of their support of the years.
Sault Tribe Thrive would like to thank Nick and Pam Louricas for connecting with us here at Sault Tribe Thrive and allowing us to help provide business support and tell another great Sault Tribe member-owned business story. Stop by Woody’s One Stop and congratulate Nick and Pam today!
-Sault Tribe Thrive