Ski Hut / Sun & Slope proprietors have been part of the retail community for over 50 years
After an illustrious journey spanning more than five decades, the dynamic duo of Jim and Robin McWethy, proprietors of the iconic Sun & Slope store, have announced their well-deserved retirement. This milestone will mark the closure of their retail operations that have been a cornerstone of the Lake Minnetonka area since 1972.
The McWethys have dedicated their lives to fostering a vibrant community centered around outdoor recreation and have played pivotal roles in advocating for the preservation and enhancement of lake-area parks and trails. From their humble beginnings at Ski Hut in 1972 to the exhilarating Sports Hut era that ended with the sale of the shop in 2005, Jim and Robin have witnessed and contributed to the burgeoning enthusiasm for an active outdoor lifestyle, which has transformed the Wayzata community.
As they prepare to bid adieu to their current and beloved storefront Sun & Slope, Jim and Robin expressed their profound gratitude to the supportive Wayzata community that has been with them every step of the way. Over the years, patrons have seamlessly transitioned into friends, and friends into an extended family, rendering the past five decades an extraordinary journey filled with cherished memories.
In March 2024, Jim and Robin McWethy will embark on a well-deserved retirement, but not before sharing one last exhilarating winter season with their dedicated patrons.
When asked what they plan to do after the store closes, Jim stated via a telephone interview, “We plan to move up to Ely, we have a little cabin that we have had for about 15 years up there and we will spend a good portion of the year up there, and then spend our winters in Wayzata.”
McWethy also indicated they hope to spend more time with loved ones after closing the store, “We have family in Denver and Montana, and we hope to do more visiting with loved ones that we just haven’t had a chance to do over the years.”
According to McQwethy, the original Le Ski Hut was located on Barry Avenue, right behind Ted’s Drug Store. “Tom Anderson was the owner, and the store was already in existence, and because Anderson was an avid skier, he wanted to move to the Rocky Mountains. So my friend Bill Lund and I decided to purchase it.”
For Jim buying the store was a lifestyle choice, as he had received a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota.
The Hut initially operated exclusively during the winter months, “I had skied since I was about 4 years old, and didn’t know anything about retail. My friend Bill left after about 6 years togeteher operating the store. Another friend who was very supportive was Bob McNamara, (not the football player) he lived in Wayzata, had kids in the hockey program and got us into the hockey game.”
Over the years, Jim & Robin said one of the best and most exciting things about operating the store was watching new sports develop. “Windsurfing, snow boarding, rollerblading, none of those things existed in 1972,” stated Jim. “We gave windsurfing lessons at Baker Park as an example. Nobody was doing that at the time.”
Having sold the Hut in 2005, Robin & Jim felt called to get back into retail in 2011, focusing mainly on providing outdoor clothing to their loyal customers from over the years.
Asked why this is the time, Jim stated, “Our lease is up next year, and its time to move on now that I’m 82.”
As per usual, the Sun & Slope store is gearing up for this final season with a fresh inventory of fall and winter arrivals, ensuring that customers are well-equipped for the 2023-24 winter season.
It’s an opportunity for the community to join the McWethys in celebrating their remarkable contribution to Lake Minnetonka’s outdoor culture.
The retirement of Jim and Robin McWethy marks the end of an era, but their enduring legacy as champions of outdoor recreation and community development will continue to resonate in the hearts of the Wayzata community for generations to come.
Don’t miss the chance to be a part of their farewell season as they embark on this new chapter in their lives, stop and see them!