Apparently even unprecedented crowds flocking daily to the St. Joseph waterfront are not enough to sustain a full-fledged Outpost Sports retail outlet any longer in the community of St. Joseph. While you can still rent water toys at the base of the Park Street hill on the sands of Silver Beach, if you were looking to shop for things to actually own for yourself from the crew at Outpost that window has closed for you.
The small letterhead signs still pasted into the windows ironically thank the consuming public for another great summer season, but those were erected following their annual Labor Day sale and the iconic little shop has never re-opened its doors since.
Apparently, however, the summer seasons of late may not have been all that great after all for the company owned and operated by J.V. Peacock, who still maintains his flagship brand in Mishawaka, Indiana and summertime retail shops in the beachfront communities of New Buffalo and South Haven. Nevertheless, St. Joseph was simply not pulling its weight anymore in the actual shop at the base of the Park Street viaduct.
A call this afternoon to the Mishawaka headquarters confirmed that the St. Joseph store, which in every other season was open by the Memorial Day holiday weekend, will not be opening at all this year. The corporate website says that the store “will be closed from the 2017 season,” leaving out the hope for hardcore fans that they could return in 2018, but that doesn’t appear likely at this time. A clerk named Matt who answered the call to Mishawaka said that “the St. Joe store just didn’t see the traffic” necessary to keep the doors open. That despite the bumper-to-bumper crowds that have been making their way directly past the front door for the better part of the last three or four summer seasons. When I asked Matt if the shop was closed permanently or just for the current season he hesitated briefly and said, “That would be a J.V. Peacock question,” however Mr. Peacock was not available to ask.
While you no longer have the store to visit, you can still rent water toys on the beach from the crew at Outpost Sports, inasmuch as they have on-the-beach presence with a rental kiosk for kayaks and paddle-boards. Here’s what the corporate website says about the St. Joe market:
The Outpost paddleboard and kayak rental kiosk in St. Joseph will be open for 2017 and is located on Silver Beach. The St. Joseph beach store will be closed for the 2017 season, but stop by the fully-stocked New Buffalo and South Haven locations to continue your beach and Lake Michigan fun.
It’s not the first time that Outpost has scaled back operations in St. Joe. In the early days of their arrival on the beach, they maintained a year round presence, converting from water sports to cross country ski rental and hiking gear in the fall and winter seasons. They discontinued that options after the second or third year and became purely seasonal.
For now you can still rent at the beach or head to the remaining three retail stores, and then just stay tuned for what happens in 2018 and beyond.