By Sterling McGinn
The U.P. Trading Company and Exclusive Moose of downtown Newberry is now under new ownership.
Newberry natives Ben and Beth Rahilly have officially taken over ownership from longtime entrepreneurs Bill and Sharon Magnuson.
The sale of the business took place on Tuesday, September 27, and two days later, the Rahillys opened the doors of the iconic business for their first time.
The two stores are a staple of downtown Newberry and a favorite of visitors and locals alike.
Customers flock to the shops to buy gifts for any occasion and holiday and for those visiting the area, there are numerous items to purchase as a souvenir of their trip.
Sharon Magnuson, who is the founder of the stores, started her first business in Newberry 35 years ago in a house on Newberry Avenue. “My first store was the Country Gallery across the street from the school,” she explained. “We did floral arrangements with fresh flowers for weddings, and we sold ice cream from a soda fountain.”
Magnuson started selling more of the rustic type of merchandise and decided she needed a different building. That is when she purchased the building that now houses U. P. Trading in the late 1990s.
U.P. Trading Company has now been in operation for 25 years and the Exclusive Moose portion of the business was added 11 years ago.
Sharon, and her husband Bill, were always on hand with their friendly staff to help customers find just the right gift.
After operating the successful business for many years, both Sharon and Bill were ready to retire.
“It was time—we just wanted to retire,” Sharon said. “I loved it and it was sad leaving.”
In the meantime, longtime customer Beth Rahilly heard that the legendary store was going on the market.
“I came in just to shop, and Sharon said they really wanted to sell and retire,” Beth stated. “I was thinking it could be a real cool endeavor.”
After talking it over with her husband Ben, other residents and business owners, the couple received many words of encouragement. They decided it was a venture they wanted to pursue.
The Rahillys received assistance for the purchase from the Luce County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “This has would not have been possible without the EDC,” Beth said.
Shoppers will be happy to know that there are no major changes in store for the business. The Rahilly’s, however, changed the name just slightly. “We took out company, so it’s U.P. Trading and Exclusive Moose LLC.”
The Exclusive Moose portion of the business will continue to offer Michigan made products, high end furniture and decorations and accessories for cabins and homes. The U.P. Trading store will stay the same as well.
“We are keeping everything basically the same,” explained Beth. “There have been many rumors that we are going to be selling hockey equipment, and we are not.”
The store will eventually offer online sales for customers, especially during the slow time after Christmas.
The Rahillys are also keeping the original seven employees but are adding additional help from their two daughters, Katie Sue and Becca. “This is a family endeavor; I don’t get to see the kids that much because they work with Ben and Rahilly Concrete.”
“We are going to put our own feelings and touches into it,” said Ben. “[The Magnusons] were running a successful business and that is why it appealed to us and was one of the big steps in taking over.”
“We are going to miss all the people and customers,” Sharon explained. “There were so many loyal customers and many visitors said they have to stop every time we are in the area.”
For more information and news from the businesses, visit their Instagram and Facebook pages at U.P. Trading & Exclusive Moose LLC.