In the winter of 2017 the original owners of Crew’s Quarters, Don and Lisa Gram, were winding down a business that had provided goods and memories to locals and tourists for over 29 years. They started the business after they retired from the Education sphere and the store was more of a way of life for them than it was a place to make money. Anybody lucky enough to have met Don & Lisa knew that they truly loved what they did and every inch of Crew’s Quarters reflected that.
Don and Lisa put the building up for sale in the early winter months of 2017. The days Crew’s Quarters was open were sporadic. Day by day the future of Crew’s Quarters seemed bleaker and bleaker. By January of 2018 the lights, it seemed, were off for good. Word around town was that Crew’s Quarters was no more.
Would Crew’s Quarters just become a memory? Before I answer that question let me give you a bit of background on my connection to Don and Lisa and Crew’s Quarters. Most people don’t know this, but Don & Lisa are my Aunt and Uncle. I live right beside them out at Morgan’s Point on the lake. We’ve been neighbors for 10 years and family forever. I’ve also worked on and off at Crew’s Quarters for over 22 years.
The Lake has a powerful current, and I’m not just talking about the water. For a number of years I left Port Colborne for what I thought would be good. Life took me to the far corners of Canada for a lot of years, having lived and worked in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. But something about the lake, that indescribable and powerful current, drew my family and I back to Port Colborne. We’ve been here for over 12 years as a family.
Since being back I found myself helping my Aunt & Uncle at the store now and then. They are getting older and helping them out just felt natural. The experience was also a little distressing because I could see, first hand, that Crew’s Quarter’s was winding down. Once the signs went up in the windows to sell the building that reality seemed all but inevitable. The store had a 29 year run, a good run by any accounting. Sometimes things just end.
Or do they? Life is a funny thing. Crew’s Quarters isn’t going anywhere and if I have my way it will be around for another 29 years. My husband and I talked over the winter and made the decision that Crew’s Quarters was NOT going to close. In fact, it was going to be reborn, updated for a new generation, while always paying homage to the couple who started it nearly 3 decades ago. Crew’s Quarters re-opened in June of 2018 and we’re thrilled to carry on the tradition.
Crew’s Quarters is much more than just a store. It is an idea that was born and continues to pay respect to the great lakes. Lake Erie Love. It’s real. This blog series will reflect that love. We’ll be blogging about the lake and posting photos at least once a week. We hope you’ll follow us and share your own moments inspired by the lake. #lakeerielove
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton