It’s fair winds and following seas once again for Poulsbo’s Longship Marine after reopening at its new location in July.
The Viking City’s only marine supply store reopened its doors after moving next door and tackling extensive renovations. Now prominently painted onto the gable end of the new building, located at 18969 Anderson Parkway, are the words “Marine Supply,” advertising Longship’s new home to anyone along Poulsbo’s Waterfront.
On just about any given day of business, owners Nico Jensen and Aaron Wenholz can be found explaining to their customers how to tackle various boat-related projects. As seasoned restorers of old boats themselves, Jensen and Wenholz have the practical skills and know-how — in addition to the hardware — necessary to outfit Poulsbo’s mariners with whatever they need for their DIY boat work.
“A huge component of our day is just spent educating people from our own experience,” Jensen said. “It’s hard to find that sort of interaction with someone when you’re a new boat owner or you encounter a problem you’ve never tackled before and you just need someone to talk you through it.”
Lining the aisles at Longship Marine’s new location
are the familiar shelves of various marine parts, equipment, tools and the familiar myriad of other bits, bobs, thing-a-ma-jigs and doohickeys whose true purposes remain shrouded in mystery, only revealing themselves to those repairing some intensely specific fixture on their vessel. Longship’s famous wall of rope has since migrated north, now conveniently placed along one of the store’s massive glulam ceiling beams.
“Really more of everything” is how Wenholz described the store’s expanded product selection. More paints and varnishes, as well as lumber, marine-grade plywood and Harken sailing gear, are all now available at Longship.
“Grundéns has expanded their women’s line and we realized we had been selling quite a bit of foul weather gear to women,” Jensen said. “It was a unisex line but once you got to the hips and the butt there were always some issues. Now we’re carrying their full women’s line.”
Wenholz and Jensen also noted that in addition to the products up for sale in their shop, they are also hoping to expand the wealth of knowledge they can share with their customers as well, through NOAA’s Sea Grant program.
“Sea Grant is a nonprofit organization that does a lot of basic diesel skills, basic electricity, corrosion and we would like to see some of those classes happening here,” Wenholz said.
A labor of love
In sharing their experiences renovating the new space, Wenholz and Jensen repeatedly took a moment to acknowledge the volunteer work of friends, neighbors and donors who were crucial to the process.
Thomas “the pirate” Gregory, the two owners said, worked tirelessly alongside them as they toiled away to get the store ready to reopen. A significant donation of bamboo from another Poulsbo business owner proved a much-appreciated act of kindness. The pair also thanked Michael Sager — a seasoned owner and operator of commercial real estate — for his mentorship and guidance throughout the often fraught process of purchasing and renovating a commercial building for the first time.
While Wenholz and Jensen are mostly finished with renovations to the downstairs portion of the new building, the question still remains: what will become of the building’s expansive upstairs? Previously the space upstairs hosted various events for the Sons of Norway. Despite receiving a number of offers for long-term leases, Wenholz and Jensen said they were still hoping that the space would remain an event venue.
“There’s been a lot of interest in people wanting to rent it, and not being realistic about what it’s going to take to get occupancy up there,” Jensen said. “We’re still really leaning toward event space and performance hall. We’re definitely eager to get the boaters classes going and to have somewhere where yacht clubs can have their rendezvous parties.”
Jensen and Wenholz added that they remain open to proposals from investors who might want to develop the upstairs as an event space.
While the final fate of Longship Marine’s upstairs remains to be seen, Wenholz said his regular customers are quite pleased with the results of their hard work downstairs.
“They’re very happy,” Wenholz said. “I think it’s a much more professional store than it was. You walk in and it feels like a real store, before it kind of had the junk shop feel.”
“Some people miss it, but there’s still the treasures and the digging and the good stuff that you’re not going to find anywhere else.”