Outdoor and More Store Home and Garden Accents
Story and Photos by Rosalie Triolo
Opportunity, Chance, and Foresight. Nate and Mary McShinsky met in high school, in Vermont and as Mary added, “We were high school sweethearts.” After high school, Mary worked at a gas station/auto body shop and Nate worked in construction.
In 1991, opportunity presented itself when the owner of the station, eager to retire, approached Nate and Mary, giving them the chance to purchase the shop. After they bought the business, Nate and Mary gutted, renovated and turned it into a convenience store/gas station, while raising two young sons.
Vacationing on Lake Winnipesaukee was an annual retreat for the McShinsky family. They would pack up their camper and head to the Paugus Bay Campground in Laconia. At the lake, everyone enjoyed family-time and Mary and Nate somewhat forgot the difficulties of owning and operating a convenience store/gas station, which was open from 5 am until 10 pm, hiring and keeping reliable help to work shifts and complying with the standards and restrictions put upon gas stations by the EPA. Mary explained, “The store took up much of our time as well as trying to comply with EPA standards. It seemed as soon as we were compliant with one standard, the EPA introduced another.” By the end of 2017 Irving Oil and Gas approached the McShinskys and offered them a buy-out deal for their business. As Mary said, “They made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.”
Nate and Mary both agreed that after 28 years in business this would be the perfect time to do some traveling. Mary thought they should take a year off to figure out what they would do next. However, fate had a different timetable. In September of 2018, the McShinskys took their camper to Paugus Bay Campground in Laconia for another vacation on Lake Winnipesaukee. On an ordinary day, while driving down Route 25 in Tamworth, NH, Nate and Mary passed an old auto body/paint shop. They pulled into the parking lot, entered the shop and saw the possibilities which would alter that day from ordinary to one of new beginnings. To quote Mary, “Our one-year plan lasted six months. Throughout the years, we have built five homes, gutted and renovated two gas station/auto body and paint shops and turned them into convenience stores while raising our sons.”
With a combination of imagination and foresight the McShinskys yet again gutted and renovated another old, tired shop and this time created a country cottage atmosphere in the “Outdoor and More Store.”
Nate and Mary drove to Atlanta, Georgia in January 2019 to attend a trade show. It was their first time attending a trade show and a chance to determine what exactly would be involved in owning and operating a seasonal store. They needed a direction in which to take the Outdoor and More Store. At the show Nate and Mary discovered a world of handmade and hand-painted crafts and met with some very creative craftsmen, artists and dealers. The Outdoor and More Store had its grand opening in May of 2019, Mother’s Day weekend, introducing a collection of 90 percent “Made in USA” products, as well as crafts specifically made in New Hampshire.
Looking for “Outdoor” furniture, garden accessories, planters, bird houses, arbors, gliders, water fountains, or browsing for indoor specialties where there is “More” offers a lot to customers. Shelves are arranged with an array of delightfully whimsical and distinctively creative handmade, hand-painted crafts. Amish craftsmanship and creativity are unmistakable in the unique iron wall art coatracks depicting a bear or deer or moose in the wild, accented by striking rugged wooden frames and arranged next to iron wall clocks also accented by similar wooden frames. Crafted by the Amish, handsome wooden Dory’s stand in line resting on stern-end with bow pointing upward, the seats between can be used as shelves.
Tom of Seven Lincoln Designs in Milford, NH creates handmade wooden signs, hand-painted tables, decorative oars or special orders. At Outdoor and More, there is so much to see and gather ideas from a variety of handcrafted items; copper weathervanes, wooden cupolas, pergolas and arbors to Woodstock chimes and hammock swings. About the hammock swing made of durable material, this is no ordinary hammock swing but one which is portable. You can transport this lazy, hazy summer day cozy hammock swing in a slightly larger decorative canvas tote bag. The tote bag holds the swing, a sturdy chain, wooden bar, and a very comfortable sink-into seat with extra pillow. It makes the perfect gift for family, friends or for yourself. Candles sold at the Outdoor and More Store are supplied by the Bridgewater Candle Company. Mary explained, “We buy candles from the Bridgewater Candle Company, because with the sale of every candle one dollar is contributed to feeding a child three meals a day.”
Just to be forewarned, Maple the mascot bear, stands ready to greet you as you pull into the parking area of the Outdoor and More Store. Although she looks ferocious, Maple is harmless.
What are Nate and Marys’ plans for the future of Outdoor and More? This coming January 2020 they plan another trip back to the Atlanta Trade Show focusing on Mountain and Lake themes. The Atlanta Trade Show is the largest consisting of two 18-story buildings filled with all types and varieties of crafts.
Next season Nate and Mary are working on some interesting ideas to grow and enhance their business, possibly adding a rental program for arbors.
Also, the business will expand their delivery service, whether on land or on the lake. Nate will deliver to island properties as he has already done. He told the story of a couple who came into Outdoor and More and purchased quite a bit of outdoor furniture. When they realized their boat was not large enough to accommodate all the furniture, Nate loaded the furniture onto his pontoon boat and delivered it to the couple’s home on Treasure Island. He has a truck to accommodate furniture deliveries to homes in Ossipee and the surrounding areas. Porch/patio furniture made with stainless-steel screws comes with a 20-year warranty and does not need to be covered. However, it may be a good idea in extreme weather conditions to cover the furniture, and if you have a metal roof, it might be a good idea to keep the furniture out of range of snow falling off the roof.
Adding to their plans for the future of the Outdoor and More Store, Mary and Nate plan to sell propane tanks for campers, bagged ice and cold drinks.
This past Fourth of July, Nate and Mary participated in the Wolfeboro parade. The theme of their float was “Nation, State, Community and Military.” Nate constructed a plywood replica of the state of New Hampshire with towns represented. The military was represented by 19 cement figures wearing the uniforms signifying each branch of service they represented: Army, Navy, Marine, Airforce and Coast Guard figures stood at attention honoring our nation with a permanent salute and an American flag draped over a cross honored those fallen soldiers. For their efforts in creating an outstanding float, Nate and Mary received second place in Business Division and the Grand Marshall Award.
Outdoor and More is located on Route 25 – 1287 Bearcamp Hwy., Tamworth, New Hampshire and is open from Mother’s Day weekend to Columbus Day weekend. They can be reached by calling 802-356-7660, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.outdoorandmorestore.com.