Familiar to locals and a convenient landmark to travelers, the Big Lake Trading Post, located at the intersection of highway 98 and Coppermine Road, has recently undergone a reinvention you won’t want to miss. The frequented facility, formerly misidentified as a building used simply to house employees to tend to the gas pumps, received its face lift through inspiration from new management hired this past April.
Big Lake’s new manager, Marc Ware, recently moved here from Texas. He has a strong background in customer service and a self-taught hard-working business acumen. He applied his business talents to transform the trading post into substantial and unique.
Gone are the days of shelves stocked with cup o’ noodles, batteries and Pepto Bismol. Big Lake took the stale feeling of the sepia colored aisles of most “run in-run out” gas stations and revamped the environment to depict a destination location. Strolling the store, your eye will quickly catch on the brightly colored Kool-aid soaked pickles in jars, reminiscent vintage candy bars, and the walls lined with over 150 different types of soda with flavors you won’t believe until you see them. Or taste them. The soda flavors include grass, bacon, ranch dressing to name a few.
Big Lake also features a grab “n” go style deli, original and characteristic to the trading post, whose menu offers interpretive meals of Canyon Country like Navajo Tacos and Beef Taquitos.
Initially trading posts were created as a tool of availability and resource for travelers and locals alike to stop in and potential make a trade of goods. Trading posts remain a staple in the west as a warm and welcoming facility to all who answer its open-door invitation. The appealing, crowd-drawing makeover to Big Lake not only utilizes its location to truly identify as a welcome mat, but goes further to translate its origins by representing goods traded with neighbor states.
The store also features some California-inspired items, thanks to its new California-residing owner, place new meaning on what trade goods have the potential to interpret.
“It’s a really big change,” Ware said. “Change can be hard. But the response we have been getting from the locals, especially, has been overwhelming. We carry items you won’t find anywhere else. We strive to stand out.”
Ware said inspiration blossomed between him and the owner. He says they have more plans for the store which will be forthcoming soon. In January Ware plans to add an awning in the front for additional customer convenience, as well as more bathroom facilities to increase the use and reliance on the facility from visitors.
One thing is for sure: Big Lake Trading Post has accomplished its goal of standing out with flying colors.