Business profile: Salt Life Supplies

By Jaymie White

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

STEPHENVILLE — A new business is opening that promises to fill a need on the province's West Coast. Husband and wife entrepreneurs, Chasity and Mike Holder, will be opening their business, Salt Life Supplies, on Monday, Jan. 16.

Salt Life Supplies, located across from Subway at 136 Main Street, is a marine and industrial supply store that will offer everything from fasteners to industrial and safety supplies, as well as commercial fishing supplies.

When they moved back to the province, the Holders decided they wanted to put down some roots and soon the idea for Salt Life Supplies was born.

“I’m originally from Cape St. George. My husband is from Ontario,” said Chasity. “I’ve been gone the last 14 years, back and forth, and we just moved back home last February. We’re both truck drivers. We both owned our own trucks. My husband was in the trucking business for the last 25 years, me for the last 14, and we wanted to stay put. We don’t want to be out on the road anymore.”

They soon identified a need and realized they could help.

“There was a need in the area for a marine store and industrial supplies; fasteners, hydraulics, and it took us all year to come up with the idea of what we’re going to do. We paid attention to what wasn’t in town basically, and a friend of ours was always on about how he would have to drive for hours or wait days for marine parts. Even for rope, once a year he would have to make a special trip just to go get his rope for the season. Trap supplies, fishing supplies, if he needed paint, same thing. He would have to do a day trip just for the marine paint and pay a bunch of money for shipping just to get a gallon of paint shipped to him,” explained Mike. “So, it kind of started with the marine, but then we added on the industrial supplies because a lot of the marine stuff is industrial anyway, so we just added more to the industrial line. We spread our wings and ventured into what we thought the area needed.”

The fact that there is no marine supply store on the West coast of the province (the closest is in Port aux Basques) made it an easy decision for the Holders.

“From Port aux Basques to Clarenville there’s nothing,” said Mike.

The Holders have been working hard as they get ready to open the doors to Salt Life Supplies.

“We had a few issues getting our inventory in. It should be here when we open on the 16th. We're never going to have everything in the store, but we’re going to have availability for everything,” said Mike. “With the Christmas holiday, a lot of inventory got backlogged, people taking their vacation time, but by the 16th it should all be back on track and if somebody comes in to order something, depending on where it comes from, it should be here within a week. If it comes from Ontario, they would have it within the week, all depending on Marine Atlantic too. We can’t control the storms. Good weather and good sailing, we can have it in within a week. If it’s from St. John’s, we could have it in overnight.”

The business name was registered on Oct. 21, and since then it has been a whirlwind, but intention is to hire local staff.

“We don’t have any on staff right now. I put out looking for people on Facebook and Instagram and word of mouth around Stephenville that we’re looking for people,” said Chasity. “I’m hoping to get people because we’re going to need help.”

Mike added that any do-it-yourselfer or hobbyist can find what they need at their store as well

“Pretty well any type of fastener you can think of we are able to get our hands on and we will have a lot of it in stock,” said Mike. “Wire rope. We also have a new product in stock that is a synthetic rope. It's tougher than a wire rope itself, so people can use it to replace their winch lines on their ATVs, quads, side-by-sides, and even their pickup trucks.”

They can also fulfill bigger orders.

“We will also do company quotes. Like if there is a big construction company looking for anything, we can also do company quotes for any size of project that is needed here on the West coast. We have availability to get all of that. We discussed that with our supplies already, which is a good thing, because a lot of good things happen here on the West coast of Newfoundland.”

Recommendations from local fishermen did a lot to help decide the stock options for the store.

“One of the fishermen here in Stephenville, he owns one of the biggest boats here in Stephenville. He gave us a really big list of stuff we should carry and have in stock for the marine side of it,” said Chasity. “Other fishermen in Sheaves Cove and Cape St. George gave us recommendations on what we should have in the store also. Another couple out in Three Rock Cove did the same thing, and our suppliers too, they let us know what is new, what are good sellers, so we’re hoping it’s going to work out. We’re both very excited about it.”

They continue to explore stock options for their fledgling business.

“It took a good month to pick through everything and still, to this day, we are picking through stuff,” said Mike.

“We’ve been talking to quite a few fishermen and fisherwomen,” said Chasity. “We brought in the pink oil suits for the fisherwomen down here because they couldn’t get them here in Newfoundland. So I am hoping a lot of fisherwomen are really interested in the pink oil suits. They are something new I’m told. There’s also a construction company that’s been asking about our hydraulics and our fasteners, the industrial part of it, for the grades and stuff like that, so we’re getting there slowly.”

If an item that a customer is looking for is not in stock, the couple promise to do their very best to get it in, and as quickly as possible.

Chasity said that community support has been fantastic in Stephenville and they look forward to their grand opening. They are keen to meet more of their fellow business owners and the customers they will be serving.

“We don’t know too many people around here, but Mr. (Bob) Byrnes, I talked to him and he is going to do me up a list of who we should invite to an evening here at the store before we open on Monday, some of the town officials, so we can get to meet more people,” said Chasity. “The fire captain, Don Gibbon. He was an awesome help to us also. We’re hoping to make friends and get to know a lot of people in the Town of Stephenville.”

Jaymie White, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wreckhouse Weekly News