The family-owned shop has spent half a century outfitting locals for adventure.
In downtown Wayzata, Sun & Slope has served as an outfitter for outdoor adventure since Jim started the business in 1972. “I came from a family that was very outdoor-oriented,” co-owner Jim McWethy says. “I started skiing at the age of 4 in 1945, and my family was always heavily involved in canoeing, biking, camping [and] skiing. When we started the store, our goal was to try to pass this enthusiasm on to lake area families.”
Sun & Slope pursued its goal in a myriad of ways, from lessons and demonstrations to sponsored events and celebrity appearances. “We have tried to stay on the cutting edge of new sports as they came online,” Jim says. Back in its days as a sports equipment shop, Sun & Slope was the second store in Minnesota to carry snowboards. When paddle boards came on the scene, Sun & Slope became an early adopter.
Spouses and co-owners Jim and Robin McWethy credit their longevity in the Wayzata area to residents’ abiding interest in the outdoors and loyalty to local businesses. “People that live in Lake Minnetonka or the Lake Minnetonka area, I think, already tend to be interested in outdoor activities, partly because of the lake itself,” Jim says.
Celebrating 50 Years
Sun & Slope is kicking off a months-long celebration of its milestone anniversary with a summer blowout sale over the course of Jame J. Hill Days.
“James J. Hill [Days] has been, for a number of years, kind of the culmination of our summer season,” Jim says. “We started with a progressive sale about a month and a half ago and worked our way up to pretty much everything.”
The sale isn’t the only thing to look forward to. “We’re going to have some fun with families as far as a bunch of free giveaways to families that are making purchases,” Robin says.
“Our experience has been that our customers in this area tend to prefer to be loyal to their local businesses. If you give them value and you give them good service, then they will tend to prefer to patronize the local businesses, including mom and pop businesses like ourselves.”—Jim McWethy