Company of the Year 16-50 Employees

Northerners love the outdoors and one name is synonymous with making sure they are ready for any wilderness adventure.

Whether they are hoping to land the big one out on the water, go on that big hunting adventure on the land or just spend a leisurely day enjoying the natural beauty, Ramakko's Source for Adventure has the supplies.

From a tiny tackle shop on Paris Street, to a second location on Barrydowne Road, to the current large location on Regent Street, owner Brian Ramakko said the business's success and steady growth has come from one simple cardinal rule: know your customers' needs.

“We stock only what works for northern Ontario because we talk to our customers and learn from them what is working,” he said. “They tell us these are the lures they are using and catching fish in our waters. We have an amazing fishing department here because of that. We do a lot of research and try to carry gadgets and products that are relevant to us, you, northeastern Ontario.”

Their products include their signature fishing supplies, to canoeing, kayaking, hiking, boating, hunting and more.

The success of the business is being shared by everyone who works at Ramakko's. It is a reflection of how the public views them. The staff, Brian said, are seen and treated as partners in the business, everyone sharing and benefiting from the success. He currently has 45 full-time and part-time staff, all of whom live in the community they serve.

Even in the face of competition from box stores, national chains and online shopping, Brian says they have amassed a reputation for local knowledge and decades of great customer service.

He said they could order products that would be cheaper and outside what they would usually stock in the store but probably not a popular or practical choice for their customer base it would be wasted time and money.

The business started in 1984 as a small tackle and outdoor supply shop. Over the years, Brian said business was steady and soon he opened the second location on Barrydowne Road. Eventually, both were consolidated and moved to another location in the South end, until moving into what he called the “perfect” location on Regent Street in 2011.

Their involvement in the community goes beyond sales and service, they have been supporting initiatives like the Sudbury Game and Fish Protective Association's annual free public sight, which allows people to safely sight in their firearms and get help with any issues they may have. As well, they sponsored the ninth annual Reel Paddling Film Festival, in which proceeds went to of the New Northern Water Sports Centre on Ramsay Lake. They also shared their fishing knowledge by teaming up with Greater Sudbury Public Library to create the Tackle Share Program, where library users could sign out fishing equipment free of charge.