Diane Petryna has been a business owner in the Fort William Neighbourhood for nearly 11 years. Her store, Take A Hike, was designed to take advantage of growth in the outdoor activity market across North America. She also wanted to fill a niche and cater to a demographic that she says was being ignored by the industry - women age 30+ and their multi-generational families.
“A men’s small was not a sure fit for all women”, Petryna said with a laugh when talking about options that were previously available for female outdoor enthusiasts."
|Diane Petryna at her Victoria Avenue store.|
Take A Hike, located on the corner of Victoria Avenue and Brodie Street, carries quality apparel for women and men, footwear, gifts, books, imaginative toys, and outdoor gear for hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and eco-tourism.
The store will be going global when Petryna launches a full e-commerce store online this summer. Ecommerce is rare for independent outdoor gear stores, making her an industry leader. Petryna earned degrees in Recreation Administration from the University of Waterloo and always thought she would launch her career in Southern Ontario. A job shortage in the late ‘80s brought her back to Thunder Bay and she really fell in love with her home town.
“I was amazed at the opportunities that existed for young people to get involved in the community,” she said. “I met people from every walk of life, had a chance to develop my skills and establish a network of fantastic people. This community has so many incredible resources at its fingertips - our people, nature, LU, the College, an international airport. There are not a lot of communities this size that have all of these things and are so accessible. We have world class businesses, restaurants, community organizations, and artists in Thunder Bay. We need to celebrate this.”