Back in the early 90′s, when Shawn was selling out of the back of his truck as “The Eddy Mart”, the most important items to have on hand were life jackets, river shorts, sandals and river knives. Oh yes, and a few things the rafting customers would want, t-shirts, hats, sunscreen, etc. It became obvious that The Eddy Mart was getting too big to operate out of a garage when the whitewater kayaks came. It was time for a storefront. That’s when providence arrived on the scene.
In 1994, the Sonora Mountaineering building in Downtown Sonora became available so Shawn & Jill decided to go for it. They gathered together an experienced team of salespeople with a passion for outdoor sports and opened the doors to see what would happen.
We’ll never forget that first day in Sonora when we were selling out of the boxes because, well we weren’t quite ready. We came into the business with an open mind to do our best to meet the needs of the active outdoorspeople in our area and with the mission to provide our customers with “the most exciting, innovative new products at affordable prices.” We definitely had a good start with hiking and climbing gear, but for these seasoned river guides, something was missing — watersports! First whitewater kayaks came, then to our surprise, recreational boats took over. What started as “bringing in a few rec kayaks to test the waters” became our biggest department! As usual, listening to what our customers wanted turned out to be what worked.
Not long after our second year in business, we started noticing many of SNAC’s adventurous Calaveras County neighbors shopping in Sonora. Since Calaveras County was Shawn and Jill’s home, the idea of having a mountaineering & paddling store along the Highway 4 corridor just sounded like the right thing to do. Hence, the need for SNAC Arnold. Opening our “above snow level” location came with an awareness that the folks who lived above 4000 ft. in elevation needed winter gear badly! Cold weather clothing, snowshoes, skis and snowboards all found a welcome spot in the SNAC product line-up!
In 2008 we opened our 3rd store in Downtown Murphys. We remodeled the old 1911 General Store building (located directly across the street from the historic Murphys Hotel). With great community support, we hit the ground running! Our Murphys location, which we call the Sierra Nevada Adventure Company General Store, offers you one of the best selections of men’s and women’s clothing and footwear in the Sierra. Be sure and stop by on your way up to the high country!
Much like the ever-expanding inventory, the SNAC family has also grown. It’s exciting to see new staff members bringing their passion for different activities with them. In that regard we are like a soup that gets richer when more time and ingredients are added. We find that SNAC is not only a reflection of the owners, but also of the staff and our customers. Without you, we wouldn’t have made it this far on the journey and it wouldn’t have been this much fun.
Shawn & Jill Seale
… and the entire SNAC Team!
Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we pollute the last clean air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence; and so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical, and individual in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, part of the natural world and competent to belong to it.
- Excerpts from Wallace Stegner’s Geography of Hope