The man behind the business Great Lakes Outdoor Supply is none other than Ralph Spidalieri. Ralph is a personal friend for mine and I was pleased to learn a few months ago about some big plans that he has to further expand his business right in downtown Middlefield. Ralph further explained that this would be the new location for Great Lakes Outdoor Supply as well as having a opportunity to further expand his business.
Before we get into the details for the new location of the store, I thought it would be best to give you some history on who Ralph is and how he successfully started a business right here in Geauga County.
Born in 1969, Ralph grew up in South Euclid but spent much of his time with friends and family visiting Geauga County enjoying the beautiful splendor that this county has to offer. Ralph always dreamed of moving to Geauga County and that dream became a reality when he moved here in 1998.
Ralph comes from a background of 22 years in Law Enforcement and worked for Shaker Heights Police Department starting in 1990. Ralph has also served as a deputy to the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office for the last 6 years.
Ralph founded Great Lakes Outdoor Supply in 1999 as a home-based business selling outdoor products online. This online business comprised of 4 different outdoor websites for deer, turkey, predator, and waterfowl, and has since grown into three thriving retail stores for outdoor supplies. The stores specialize in hunting, fishing, and archery products. You can find a Great Lakes Outdoor Supply in Middlefield, Chesterland, and most recently in Madison.
As I continued to talk to Ralph about his business, I was curious as to why he would want to start an outdoor supply business…especially with the likes of Gander Mountain, Cabella’s, Fin, Feather, & Fur, and Bass Pro Shops already being well established in the market. I quickly learned that Ralph is an avid hunter and fisherman and has traveled many parts of the world for that.
“I have always had a passion for the outdoors”, Ralph said.
That passion for the outdoors is what led Ralph into having a strong desire to be a self-employed business owner. Ralph uses all of the same products that he sells explaining, “This allows me to help our customers choose gear that would be right for them ultimately making their trip successful and comfortable.”
The success that resulted from a once small home based on-line business has catapulted Ralph into purchasing a building that has sat vacant for many years in downtown Middlefield. Ralph has currently begun renovation on the old Sparkle Market building and plans to open the 30,000 square foot facility this year.
The new location for Great Lakes Outdoor Supply will not only include the retail portion of the store but will come equipped with an indoor Archery Range, meeting room spaces for CCW (Carry Cancealed Weapon) classes, and a State of the Art archery simulator called TechnoHUNT, which Ralph describes as the virtual golf of archery.
What intrigued me the most about my conversation with Ralph is that he is revitalizing a once decrepit location in downtown Middlefield by expanding his business and ultimately helping to create more jobs in Geauga County!