Brian Menkal spent the past 34 years working for somebody else. Now, he's the boss.
Menkal opened Brian's Sporting Goods & More on Wednesday, Aug. 25. Prior to opening the store, he worked at Payless, Rite Aid and - most recently - Swain's Outdoor.
"I've always wanted to have my own sporting goods store," Menkal said.
"When Swain's closed, I knew it was my opportunity."
The store sells a variety of hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation items. Brand names include Carhartt, Merrell Performance Footwear and Life is Good.
"We want to show people how to have fun in the great outdoors," Menkal said.
Not only will Menkal sell a customer a pair of hiking boots - he'll give them advice on the best trails in the area. His knowledge of the North Olympic Peninsula is immense. He was, after all, born and raised in the area.
Tips about the area and all it has to offer are free. Questions are encouraged.
Scattered around the store are index cards with handwritten bits of information. "Use silicone-based sprays on Gore-Tex type boots. Avoid shoe oils and greases. Ask why? Shoe oils and greases are best for non-Gore-Tex type boots," one card reads.
"You can't get that at a box store," Menkal joked.
When he's not working, Menkal can be found enjoying and exploring the peninsula. He hunts, fishes, backpacks, bicycles and more.
"If we carry it in the store, I've done it," he said confidently.
Customer service is top priority at Brian's Sporting Goods. Menkal wants each and every customer to leave the store feeling fully satisfied.
"There's nothing worse than buying something and then wishing three months later, or three weeks later, that you'd gotten the other one," he said.
"That's where we come in - we help you make the best decision about what to buy."
More than the products and equipment, Menkal enjoys the customers.
"Retail is a people business," he said, "and I live and breathe it."