Wanakena General Store receives $10k grant from St. Law. Co. Local Development Corporation
Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 6:21 am

WANAKENA -- The Wanakena General Store, 6 Hamele St., is getting an infusion of $10,000 in the form of a grant from the St. Lawrence County Local Development Corporation, for working capital and inventory.

The store, in operation for more than a century, was sold to Richard Kovacs and Angela Oliver, the local owners of Packbasket Adventures in Wanakena, who re-opened the store for the 2010 summer season.

“Rick and Angie are the first recipients of funds through our Microenterprise Grant Program,” said Local Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Raymond Fountain.

“We recognize the value of the Wanakena General Store in providing such needed services to the community of Wanakena and to the many visitors of the Ranger School and the Adirondacks,” Fountain said. “We are pleased to be part of the project.”

When the previous owners decided to give up the business in 2009, the community was concerned, since the store has been the sole provider of groceries, supplies and information for miles around.

“We are grateful to SLCLDC for supporting our efforts to keep this historic business going in our small community.” said Kovaacs. “The microenterprise grant has helped us launch our website and stock the store with items our customers are looking for.”

Wanakena is home to the SUNY ESF Ranger School, and the store is the community hub, sharing the building with the post office and serving as a gathering place for local residents. Once the premier destination for fishermen in the Adirondacks, Wanakena serves as the trail head for the Five Ponds Wilderness, which draws hundreds of visitors each year to hike, snowshoe, paddle, snowmobile, fish and hunt. The new Cranberry Lake 50 Trail is also drawing interest to the area.

Kovacs and Oliver understood the value of Wanakena General Store to the local residents, to their own business, and to visitors, many of whom are their clientele. As owners of Packbasket Adventures, the husband and wife team has been successfully operating their small lodge and guide service since 2003, and were recognized by the New York State Small Business Development Center as the state’s 2005 Rural Entrepreneur of the Year.

Products include groceries, baked goods, hunt/fish/pack/paddle supplies, sandwiches, snacks, soda, beer, gifts, souvenirs, prepared foods, and rental equipment. They serve local and seasonal residents, students and staff of the Ranger School, and provide snacks and last minute items to visitors who come to experience the vast recreational opportunities in that part of the Adirondacks. They also have permission to print and sell SUNY Ranger School clothing and paraphernalia.

For more information you can reach them at 848-3008, or visit their website at www.wanakenageneralstore.com.