By Paul T. Choate
Aug. 14, 2012. When Ric and Edi Crosby moved to Banner Elk from Miami they purchased a ski shop. Little did they know, over time the business would evolve into two businesses, one of which is unique to Banner Elk.
The Crosbys moved to Banner Elk last year after selling their commercial embroidery business in Miami.
“When we got up here we thought we might have to go down to Asheville to really make a living and, after being down there and finding that it felt like we were in Florida it’s so busy down there, we came back up here and found Snow Toys for sale in this same building,” said Edi Crosby.
They purchased Snow Toys Ski and Snowboard Rental, a business that had been around for about ten years, last winter. After suffering through a tough winter for the ski and snowboard rental business, having virtually no snow, an idea began to form in Edi Crosby’s head. Why not move the skiing/snowboarding supplies into storage in the warm months and do something different?
“After living here through the winter I realized how hard it was for someone living in Banner Elk that wanted to buy a gift – we always ended up going to Boone or Blowing Rock,” she said. “Since I had the room I decided to bring in gifts also, so it’s turned itself into a nice little unique, eclectic type of store for anybody that might want to buy a gift. Or, if they really are a birder, they can find any of their birding supplies.”
And so a new business was born called WingN’It that operates in the Snow Toys building from May until the end of October. First and foremost, WingN’It is a bird center – the only one of its kind in Banner Elk – that sells a wide array of feeders, birdbaths and other birding supplies. They also carry premium birdseed – Wild Delight – that contains no filler and is 100 percent seed for songbirds.
The store is also a gift shop and garden center with many gifts, trinkets and garden items. Ric Crosby said that while the approximately 400 pairs of boots and 250 sets of skis have been stored away the shop has been seeing weekly increasing numbers of customers for WingN’It. He and his wife are seeing more and more repeat customers and many are bringing friends along.
Edi Crosby added that as of the most recent count, their frequent buyers program has over 80 members. She always tries to make sure there are new items in the store so that every time people come they see something different that was not there before. She said that her goal is that, no matter where people look in the store, they have a smile on their face.
Loyal fans of the popular Snow Toys need not worry though. From November through mid-March the boots and skis return and the Crosbys will be happy to help customers of any skill level.
“A lot of the big places are so busy they are like, ‘Here, figure it out.’ … We try to work with them and try to make that experience a good experience,” said Ric Crosby. “We want to make sure those boots are okay on that child. We have them walk around and make sure it fits before they’re out there and uncomfortable and have a bad experience,” Edi Crosby added.
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