By Don Nelson
As the worst snow season in years drags into February, people who make their living in the winter recreation business might be expected to hunker down and wait until next year.
The Mackie family, owners of Loup Loup Ski Rental Shop in Twisp, are taking the counterintuitive approach. They’re expanding.
Ron and Kim Mackie and their son Dustin, now in their fourth year operating from a storefront next to Ulrich’s Valley Pharmacy, are adding space to rent and service Alpine and Nordic skis, boots, poles, snowboards and snowshoes, and store more of the same, as well as creating more room for their retail offerings such as clothing and gear. The expansion is now underway, using additional space in the building.
“It’s our life,” Ron Mackie said. “We don’t want to give it up.”
Indeed, Dustin is a third-generation Mackie in the ski sales, rental and service business. Ron started in his parents’ shop when he was 14.
The Mackies operated a shop at the Loup Loup Ski Bowl for many years until their lease was not renewed. The family also owned O’Mackie’s, a ski shop in Omak. At one time, they had a shop on Glover Street in Twisp, and now operate a service shop in Omak in addition to the Twisp location.
Over the years, many of the Mackies’ employees have also become part of the “family” by extension. “We claim them,” Dustin said.
Customers are also growing with the business. The Mackies say they are now seeing the children — even the grandchildren — of long-time customers. They pride themselves on being able to remember the names of return customers, as well as their boot sizes and ski configurations.
“The main reason we’ve kept doing this is because of the people,” Ron said. “We want people to learn and have fun.”
The Mackies also maintain a tradition that began years ago: they offer an Oreo cookie to anyone who comes into the shop.