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Our Story

Down Wind Sports was officially opened in September of 1976 and located in the University Shopping Center on North Third Street in Marquette. Dennis and Nancy Henderson created Down Wind as a way to return to their native U.P. Initially, Down Wind sold Frostline pre cut sewing kit for outdoor clothing and equipment as well as sailing gear and Hobie Cats. The name Down Wind comes from the combination of down sewing kits and wind from sailing. After several years they started adding outdoor specialty products to the inventory. The first clothing line brought into the store was a little known company called Patagonia. We are proud of the fact that we were one of the first Patagonia dealers in the midwest! Over the years, we have been the first to introduce windsurfing, snowboarding and sea kayaking to the Marquette area.

By 1982 the business had outgrown its space and the Henderson’s moved to our present location at 514 North Third street. The building was expanded in 1992 and 2001 to accommodate a growing line of products including paddling, camping and skiing gear.

Long time employees Bill Thompson, Todd King, and Jeff Stasser purchased took over ownership of Down Wind in 1998 when the Henderson's retired and have been passionately running the store ever since.

Down Wind Sports Houghton was established in October of 1988 by the Henderson’s and former employee Tim Rohaly. Located in downtown Houghton, this store created its own image by adding products unique to the Keweenaw. Seven year's later, as a result of a major fire that burned down the Library Bar and Restaurant, Down Wind moved out of downtown to the Sharon Center where Ming's buffet is located today.

In May of 2000, Arni Ronis, Bill, Jeff, and Todd purchased DWS North from Tim and moved the store back downtown to its present location at 308 Shelden Ave.

In 2018, Down Wind opened a third location in downtown Munising. The store offers a convenient spot to pick up gear before heading out to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  This location is also home to the Michigan Ice Fest Guide Service offering guided ice climbing trips to Pictured Rocks and Grand Island.

We enjoy having shops located in three very different but amazing Upper Peninsula towns.  Each one feels like home to us with long time friends and great relationships.

We hope you’ll stop by the next time you’re in town!