Friday, April 13, 2007

Silver Creek strikes gold

Longstanding Ketchum fly shop honored as Business of the Year

Express Staff Writer

Silver Creek Outfitters is this year?s Business of the Year in the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau?s annual community awards contest. Some of the staff, from left to right, back to front are: owner Terry Ring, Todd Vanbramer, David James, Barb Cardeau and Joe McKinnon. Photo by Greg Stahl

Each year, the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau recognizes eight active and community-minded individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Wood River Valley. Candidates are brought to the attention of the chamber through nominations from local citizens whose lives have been touched through the actions of the nominees. The Mountain Express is recognizing each of the winners in the weeks preceding the chamber's awards dinner Saturday, April 21.

Seventh in an eight-part series

For Terry Ring, running a business in Ketchum is more than measuring profit margins.

"I consider myself as a merchant," said Ring, who owns Silver Creek Outfitters. "I enjoy it, but it's old-fashioned. But I think that's part of the appeal for people who live here."

Silver Creek was named Business of the Year in the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau's annual community awards contest this year. The business will be honored along with other local community awards winners at a banquet at River Run Lodge on Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m.

Silver Creek Outfitters was nominated and honored for its charitable community contributions, but it's a business with a storied story. Started in 1961 by Dick Alfs, it was very likely the first fly shop in Idaho.

Ring started working as a guide for Silver Creek in 1980. In 1989, he bought the business from Pat Bauman, Bill Bishop and Jim Kurran, who had bought it from Alfs. The current building at the corner of Fifth Street and Sun Valley Road was built in 1994.

"I was flattered but surprised because there are a lot of great businesses out there," Ring said. "We try to support the community to the extent we can and are capable of."

To that extent, the Wood River Land Trust nominated Silver Creek for the award because of Silver Creek's annual donations of a percentage of one weekend's profits to the nonprofit land trust. In fact, the land trust is a regular beneficiary of Silver Creek charity work. This year, that meant an additional $8,300 in land trust coffers.

Silver Creek has also supported St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, the YMCA, The Community School and local Scouting groups. It is "through time and volunteering or through donations made in cash and in-kind," Ring said.

Ring has something of a business mantra consisting of three interconnected parts. Silver Creek's first responsibility is to its customers; its second responsibility is to its employees; it's third responsibility is to the community. "It's the social responsibility of business," he said.

And he stressed what every good business owner knows.

"If there's anyone who deserves credit, it's our staff," Ring said. "We're honored, and we just hope we're able to live up to this honor.

"One of the real privileges of living not only in the U.S. but in a small community like this is that we can give back. This business is not only here to make money. It's here as much as anything to serve a community need."

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