By Mike Baker
There’s almost always a story behind a name, and as it turns out Haliburton’s newest downtown business has a pretty neat one.
Delancey Sports opened to the public on Friday, Dec. 11. The new store specializes in providing high-level seasonal sports gear to residents at a knockdown price, say owners Erika Mozes and Josh Karam, Canadian entrepreneurs who recently relocated to the Haliburton area after five years living among the hustle and bustle of New York City.
And, getting back to the name, it’s the Big Apple that served up the inspiration for the christening of the couple’s newest venture.
“Erika and I run another company called Hyr [pronounced hire], which was headquartered out of New York City. We’ve been living there, half time, for around five years. We had to abandon our apartment there in March for obvious reasons, at the time not knowing that we were never going to go back and see that place again,” Karam told the Echo. “Our lease expired in May and everything we had was just left there. I thought we’d go back at some point, but we never did. That apartment was on the corner of Suffolk St. and Delancey St. in the city.”
Haliburton was an obvious settling point for the couple as they sought out a new permanent home upon their return to Canada. Born and raised in Ottawa, with ties to Toronto, they were looking for a picturesque community they could call their own. As long-time visitors of the county, it seemed a no-brainer to pitch up in the area.
“We’ve always rented up here in this area, and really have always loved Haliburton. There was always something in the back of our mind where we thought, one day, we wanted to get a place up here,” Mozes said.
And that’s exactly what they did. With the help of Century21 realtor Andrew Hodgson, the pair purchased their dream home right on Ross Lake. Paying homage to their old American abode, they named the property ‘The Suffolk’.
As self-described outdoor enthusiasts, with a particular passion for skiing, Mozes and Karam wasted little time updating their equipment. They visited JoAnne Sharpley’s Source for Sports back in October, and were surprised by what they saw.
“We park and immediately see there’s a big retirement sale on all equipment in the store. We bought some new cross country skis, and as we were buying them we got talking with Cindy-Jo [Nesbitt] and she told us all about what was happening, and how the store was closing” Mozes said.
“Twenty minutes later, on our drive home, Erika decided that we should open a sports store,” Karam added.
And thus Delancey Sports was born.
Nesbitt has been brought over to serve as director of store operations at Delancey, and two more part-time employees have been hired.
The space itself, located at 160 Highland Street, has been completely renovated, with all work carried out by local contractors. The shelves have been jam packed full with hockey, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and showshoeing equipment and apparel. Also available is the popular ‘hali’ brand, launched by Haliburton native Matt Duchene in 2018.
“We made the decisions regarding what to stock based on what the community told us they needed, wanted and expected. Before opening, we were asking literally anybody what they wanted to see in a sports store in Haliburton, so we’ve really taken that and run with it,” Karam said. “Then we took a look ourselves, as outdoor enthusiasts, and said ‘what can you not get in Haliburton’, or even ‘what can you not get in Ontario’. Yes, you can get Nordic skis. But what if you could get a handmade Nordic ski that comes from Sweden, and was designed by an Olympic athlete, at a very, very amazing price. That’s the kind of thing we’re going to have here.”
In terms of brands, Karam says Delancey will carry a wide range of Blizzard skiing equipment, and will also offer Stark Hockey products for women. While the snow will be sticking around for a while, there are already plans to launch a summer-line of products, with a focus on water sports, golf and rollerblading.
Perhaps most important for some residents – Delancey will be offering skate sharpening on-site. Since Sharpley’s closed over a month ago, locals have been forced to head out of town to get their blades tuned up. During their first couple of days of opening, Karam estimated more than a dozen people stopped by to make use of the new machine.
Dozens more have popped their head in to offer a good, old-fashioned Haliburton welcome, something Karam has particularly been appreciative of.
“People coming in and making purchases has been great, but even more than that has been the people stopping in to say welcome, and thanking us for opening this store. That’s been pretty wild,” Karam said. “Lots of people seem to be really happy that we’re here.”
Delancey Sports will be open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. To enquire about any particular product, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 705-455-9938.