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3rd generation to run Sitka family store

Posted: May 5, 2013 - 12:09am
In this Tuesday, April 30, 2013, photo, from left, Harriet and Ron McClain stand with Ashley and Steven Eisenbeisz behind the counter at Russell's, in Sitka, Alaska. The family business has passed to the third generation. (AP Photo/Daily Sitka Sentinel, James Poulson)  JAMES POULSON
JAMES POULSON
In this Tuesday, April 30, 2013, photo, from left, Harriet and Ron McClain stand with Ashley and Steven Eisenbeisz behind the counter at Russell's, in Sitka, Alaska. The family business has passed to the third generation. (AP Photo/Daily Sitka Sentinel, James Poulson)

SITKA — One era is ending, but the family tradition will continue, as new owners take over Russell’s, a clothing and sporting goods store on Lincoln Street.

Ashley Eisenbeisz, a niece of the former owners Ron and Harriet McClain, and her husband Steven are the new owners. The new corporation name is Stash Inc. — for Steven and Ashley — but the store will remain “Russell’s.” Ashley is the president of Stash, and will run the business. Ashley said customed ideas into it,” she said. “We’ll continue on with the wonderful business it has been for 57 years.”

The store sells clothes, athletic equipment, sporting goods, camping gear, footwear, pet supplies and tourist-oriented fare.

The store has been in the family since Ron’s father Cecil McClain purchased the business and its 1920s-era building in 1956. Ron worked for the business for 35 years, and said he’s looking forward to retirement and having another family member running the business.

“I’m 70, all my friends are retired, the place needed some new energy,” Ron said. He said he looks forward to pursuing other endeavors including his ceramics work, volunteer work and some leisure activities.

Ashley, the daughter of Ron’s brother Kerry McClain, was born in Sitka but when she was nine her family moved to Horton, Kansas, where she graduated from high school. She returned to Sitka in 2008, worked as a hairstylist at Hair Play for about a year and a half before joining the staff at Russell’s three years ago with clerking and bookkeeping duties. About a year ago, she took over as manager.

McClain said he’s pleased that Ashley was interested in buying the business. “It was something she wanted to do,” he said. “We didn’t want her to feel obliged to take over. She has a good feel for it, a good personality for business. She likes people.”

Ashley said she is looking forward to the adventure ahead. “I wanted to continue the family tradition, and Ron wants to retire, so it was perfect,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to continue the store in this community. I want to stick around, and I hope the store sticks around too.”

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