To many visitors and seasonal residents of Douglas Provincial Park on Lake Diefenbaker, The Store by the Shore is a memorable part of summertime fun. The business has changed names and ownership throughout the years, and under the current owners Anne and Wayne Willner, it has found its sweet spot. Anne and Wayne bought the building and equipment 14 years ago, realizing that owning this type of venture could be a great fit for their family. “I worked casually in the store for a year before deciding to pursue this opportunity, and we involved our whole family in the decision. I remember having a roundtable discussion about it . . . would this be a good idea to invest in and have our kids work at during the summers? The answer was a definite YES!” remarks Anne.
Anne’s enthusiasm, the store’s welcoming vibe and the mouth-watering menu make this a destination for seasonal residents and visitors alike. Not only that, but The Store by The Shore is conveniently located near a primary highway, making it so easy to find. Located near Elbow, Saskatchewan, visitors take a leisurely drive down highway #19, turn into the Douglas Provincial Park, and meander to the lakefront where they’ll find this surprising gem. You know you’ve arrived if you spot the one-of-a-kind landmark . . . a 40-foot cedar plank boat which has been beached and open to customers for viewing and dining. “We couldn’t resist when we found this 1929 tour boat available for sale. We knew it would get our customers talking and be something novel to experience. So, it found its way to us, from the St. Lawrence River to its new home overlooking Lake Diefenbaker!” says Anne.
The restored tour boat isn’t the only attraction that makes The Store by The Shore memorable. “There’s so much to experience when visitors come to our store. I like to call it our ‘mini mall’ because we line our shelves with the products our customers need for a stress-free and enjoyable stay at the Provincial Park. We have everything from groceries, frozen food and baking to fishing tackle and household supplies. Our restaurant offers over 80 menu items with fan favorites being our homemade bacon-mozza burger and our large variety of hard and soft-serve ice cream. For the kids, there’s a wide selection of candy and beach toys to choose from. We love when the kids come in. Our staff always make them feel welcome and we’re happy to assist with their purchase – for many it’s their first time buying something on their own!” Anne comments.
That focus on satisfying their customer is what sets The Store by The Shore apart. At the heart of all that Anne and her team do is her focus on building community, connecting with people and providing quality products and services. Anne has always believed in supporting the lake community, from sourcing supplies locally in the region to mentoring the young employees that work for The Store by The Shore. She believes that you get back even more than you give. “With the kids that have worked here over the years, I’m so glad to help them get ready for their future careers and learn a lot of practical skills about dealing with customers and solving problems that arise.”
And what’s up next for The Store by The Shore? A newly built 18-hole mini golf that opens on July 1, 2023. The mini golf is described as a “lay of the land” course by Anne and Wayne. “We wanted to keep the natural landscape intact, so it is somewhat challenging and a thrill to play. Nine of the holes are sports-themed, which we know will appeal to our sports enthusiast customers,” enthuses Anne. “I come up with the designs and plans, then Wayne follows through with the construction and fixing. We make a great team!”
“And we have some other excellent ideas in the works to grow our business. A number of these ideas started by taking a course offered by Community Futures (CF) Mid-Sask. I really enjoyed their Destination Creation course and the connection I had with other entrepreneurs through those learning sessions. I can’t recommend CF Mid-Sask enough to other business owners. Get in touch with them and find out about their services to small business!” comments Anne.
Find out more about The Store by The Shore. Drop out for a visit or follow Facebook:
Address: #14 Douglas Park Provincial Park, Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan
Phone: 306-854-4630 | 306-567-7857 (off season)