MINNEAPOLIS– Midwest Mountaineering is closing its doors in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis after 53 years, but not before a bankruptcy sale takes place that raises thousands.
It’s not just for the deals, but also to say thank you for the memories.
The line of customers stretched all around the outside of Midwest Mountaineering on Saturday.
“It’s incredible,” said Champlin’s Bob Swenson. “I’ve bought quite a few things here.”
Customers lined up for big deals and to say goodbye to the man behind it all.
“What really amazes me is that so many people talk to me and thank me for the 53 years Midwest Mountaineering has helped them have more fun outdoors,” said Rod Johnson, owner and founder of Midwest Mountaineering.
What began with sales from Johnson’s kitchen was followed by a storefront on Hennepin Avenue. It ended up in Cedar-Riverside in 1976, with a physical location.
“My hair used to be much longer and there was a lot more of it,” said Johnson.
According to Johnson, competition from online outdoor stores and a diminished youth interest in the outdoors made his store financially impractical.
“If your expenses are greater than your income, you really can’t go on,” said Johnson.
“I got to know Midwest Mountaineering when I was a student at Macalester College,” says Jason Schlude.
Schlude bought boots from Midwest Mountaineering twenty years ago. He still wears them.
“This place has played a very important role in my story and that of my family,” he said.
As the store closes on Oct. 8, Johnson will preserve the memories of all the customers he can now call friends.
“It’s been the best 53 years of my life. I’m not complaining at all,” Johnson said.
Midwest Mountaineering is hosting a farewell party for its customers on Thursday, October 12 from 5-7pm
As for plans after his store closes, Johnson said he will be partnering with a nonprofit he founded.