New owners take over marina store in Stagecoach |

New owners take over marina store in Stagecoach

Thurstons’ plans for Stagecoach business include cookouts, ice fishing supplies

Zach Fridell
Tami Thurston's niece Tori Allen was recruited to manage the marina store.Matt Stensland

— The Thurston family is rapidly expanding across the Stagecoach area, and as they do, they are building a family environment for the community and visitors.

Tami and Tom Thurston began operating the Stage­coach marina store two weeks ago after they leased the building and bought the boats.

Tami is a real estate agent, and the family also has a sled dog touring business the couple bought last year and a construction company. The family's children already have started working at the shop, and Tami Thurston said they're quickly becoming expert crawfish catchers.

"We're having a really good time, and if it can be somewhat of a successful business, we're really excited to have this opportunity," she said.

Tami Thurston said the store was an opportunity family members decided they couldn't ignore.

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"It was up for bid, then Tom's a builder, and I'm a real estate agent," she said. So she told her husband, "If you're not building houses, and I'm not selling them, we don't have an income."

So the family, with daughters Leona, 10, and Greta, 8, and niece Tori Allen, a recent college graduate, decided to run the business together. The Thurstons hired Allen as the store manager, and the family members all take shifts working at the shop.

But beyond the day-to-day operations, the Thurstons plan to expand what the marina does.

Tami Thurston said she hopes to host cookouts on the dock and have swim lessons at the beach. Tom Thurston, who has raced in the Iditarod and other dogsled races, said he plans to base his dogsled touring company out of the shop in the winter. The marina store typically is closed in the winter, but the Thurstons said they would like to open it in the coldest month and rent ice augers, sell hot chocolate and cater to the ice fishers.

"Since it's a family business, you can be flexible," Tami Thurston said. She added that they still are working to find the best hours to stay open, though they said they're spending more time at the shop than necessary because they like it.

Just last week, Leona, Greta and Allen caught 27 crawfish, and Tom Thurston is having plenty of luck with fishing.

"I caught my limit every night but one, when I tried," he said.