Stories From Stanley, Idaho

The Little Store by the River

The Little Store by the River

Meet me at the Lower Stanley Country Store, Cabins and Motel.

When Ben and Janet Forsgren first moved to Stanley, Idaho they weren’t looking for much – just a home where raising 7 children could be done with the help of the countryside and a way to make a living that didn’t make Ben sneeze.

It was Ben’s hay fever that drove them off their cattle ranch in Thatcher, Idaho. The hay fever and the life style.

“I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life and raise 7 little children on a cattle ranch. That was barely survivable,” Ben says.

So Ben and Janet and their kids picked up, moved to Lower Stanley and bought Jerry’s Country Store, Cabins and Motel on the banks of the Salmon River.

“Can you imagine the school district when we showed up with 7 children?” Ben says.

The Forsgrens had no experience running a motel or a store. When they first walked through their newly purchased business, gazing at the grocery items that were now theirs to sell, they didn’t even know what some of them were.

“What’s hummus? It must be exotic,” Ben says, “Nope, turns out it’s just squashed up garbanzo beans.”

With the help of the former owner, the Forsgrens figured it out and now, almost 17 years later, Jerry’s has been renamed Lower Stanley Country Store, Cabins and Motel and is a mainstay of Stanley for tourists and locals alike.

The Stanley locals go to the Country Store for its selection of gluten free flour and large tubs of Adam’s peanut butter and bags of kale. They go to buy live bate worms and rent movies. They go to the small but well-stocked store to chat with the Forsgrens about the latest snowstorm – which roads are closed and strategies for getting cars unburied.

For the couple, the residents of Stanley can be tracked by the items they buy.

“When somebody moves away we wonder “why aren’t we selling this so much anymore? Oh, that's right, Duane left,” Janet says.

The Forsgrens make strides to accommodate the food preferences of their patrons, stocking the shelves with both name brands and specialty items. They are always aware of who wants what.

“Joel and his wife who live in Oregon always rode their bikes through Stanley on the way to Glacier. We had to make sure we had our tofu and fruits in the store when they came through,” Janet says.

The Forsgrens have not only made their grocery store a welcome place for locals and tourists, but also their motel and cabins. The accommodations on the banks of the Salmon River serve as a place of relaxation after a day of adventure in the summer and a place of refuge from the storm in the winter.

If a traveler needs a place to stay, no matter how much money they have in their wallets, the Forsgrens will not turn them away. In the dead of winter, it is between giving someone a bed, and sending them on their way over treacherous snowy passes.

 “You can’t send somebody down that road in the middle of the night in the winter,” Ben says, “That's the legacy that Jim, the former owner, left us. You don’t ever send away anybody.”

Even in the summer, when their cabins and rooms are fully booked, Ben has sleeping bags that he will hand out to those who need them.

“I’ve had people sleep on our front steps in our sleeping bags,” Ben says.

The Forsgrens’ experience in Stanley is different than many who live here. They don’t have the deep quite that most have. They don’t have the solitude.

“We are never alone. We always have people coming in,” Ben says, “It’s kind of like being a barkeeper. But not really.”

From their little spot by the Salmon River in Lower Stanley, the Forsgrens see all sides of the Stanley populace, from the family touring through on bikes with their 3 and 5 year old children strapped to the back, to the locals who come in to buy the same thing every week. The Forsgrens witness, through the passing characters of the town, the shifting of Stanley, from winter to summer, from year to year.

They witness and they take note and they try their best to adjust their business accordingly. And though at times the tourists get too needy or the locals too grumpy, overall the Forsgrens love the company of their patrons.

“I’d rather be here than anywhere else as far as the people go. The local people…they are kind of like family to a degree,” Ben says, “And of course how can you beat the Sawtooths? You can’t.”

By Kelly Conde

Source Url: http://stanleycc.org/little-store-river/



Featured Local Events

DATE: January 26,2018

LOCATION: Stanley Outdoor Ice Rink

The Boise Curling Club will be hosting the sixth annual Sawtooth Outdoor Bonspiel (the “S.O.B.”) from January 26th through January 28th. The 2018 S.O.B. will be a 16-team, three-day open bonspiel (curling tournament) on the outdoor ice rink in Stanley. The S.O.B. will begin at 5pm on Friday and end at noon on Sunday. Curling teams from Wisconsin, Michigan, California, Arizona, Washington, Montana,and Utah will be traveling to Stanley to compete in this year’s S.O.B.

Games will take place Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning. Up to five curling games will be played simultaneously in a series of 2-hour “draws”, which start at 5pm on Friday. Spectators are welcome to come and watch the Bonspiel for free. Each of the sixteen teams plays at least three games during the weekend. There will be a free “Learn to Curl” class on Saturday at noon (weather permitting) for those who want to learn how to curl.


LINK: http://www.sobidaho.com

TEL: 208-310-1207

CONTACT: Jared Beisher jared@boisecurlingclub.org

DATE: February 9 - 11, 2018

LOCATION: Multiple locations around Stanley

The 9th Annual Stanley-Sawtooth Winterfest has been scheduled for February 9th through February 11th with events for everyone. All events are FREE!

Events planned for 2018:

  • Glow in the Dark Pub Crawl and Parade
  • Beach Party
  • Fat Bike Fondo
  • Ski Plane Fly-in
  • Kid’s Concert with the Boise School of Rock
  • Street Dance on Ace of Diamonds
  • Outhouse Race
  • “Wild ‘n’ Woolley” Drag Race
  • Three-Legged Race
  • “Howlin’ Wolf” Raft Ride
  • Bridge Street Chicken S__t pool

Live Music at Mountain Village and The Kasino Club! No cover charge


LINK: stanleywinterfest.com

TEL: 614-260-4468

CONTACT: info@stanleywinterfest.com

DATE: February 17, 2018

TIME: Mulitple times

LOCATION: Mountain Village Resort Restaurant & Lounge/Parking Lot

The Salmon River Snowmobile Club 2017 Snowmobiler’s Ball & Fun Run has been scheduled for February 17th, 2018

  • 10:00am – Snowmobile “Fun Run” begins at Mountain Village Resort parking lot. Sign up from 10:00am to 12:00noon. Riders will leave from the parking lot and must be back by 3:00pm.
  • 5:00pm to 9:00pm – “Meet, Greet, & Eat”
  • 9:00pm – Raffle, Silent Auction, and Prizes at the Mountain Village Resort Restaurant and Saloon. Restaurant is available to all ages, Saloon 21 years and older. The $20 Raffle will be for the following prizes: 1st: 2018 Polaris Pro RMK 163″; 2nd: Husqvarna 455 Rancher Chain Saw; 3rd: $100 Cash


LINK: mountainvillage.com

TEL: 208-774-3609

CONTACT: Gary Cvecich cvecich@ruralnetwork.net, salmonriversnowmobileclub@gmail.com

DATE: March 2 - 4, 2018

TIME: Multi-times

LOCATION: Park Creek Ski Area, Alturas Lake Ski Area, Community Building, Stanley, ID

March 3rd & 4th, 2018 — Sawtooth Ski Club 16th Annual Ski Festival

  • SATURDAY, March 3rd, Park Creek Ski Area
    Highway 21, 7 miles W. of Stanley
    11am-2pm Homemade Chili & Treats
    Poker Run!!!
    Winning hand called at 1:30 pm
  • SATURDAY EVENING 5:30-8:30pm
    Stanley Community Building
    Dinner Extravaganza
    Incredible Silent Auction, bring your checkbook!
  • SUNDAY, March 4th
    Alturas Lake Ski Area
    Highway 75, 20 miles S. of Stanley
    11am-3pm Soup Kitchen Social
    Great ski trails and a great time!!!

The Sawtooth Ski Club will host the 16th Sawtooth Ski Festival March 3rd and 4th. Come ski, play, feast, dance, shop and socialize, all while supporting Cross Country Skiing in Stanley Sawtooth Country! At 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd at the Park Creek Ski Trails, homemade chili and treats will await eager participants at the annual Poker Run. Donating fun lovers ski or snowshoe a fun course, stopping at stations to collect cards and when the game is called at 1:30, whoever has collected the best poker hand wins a most excellent prize! At 5:30 Saturday evening at the Stanley Community Building, our ski club celebrity chef will present a delicious dinner and at the same time an amazing silent auction will take place. Many local businesses, arts and crafts people and friends of the club donate lovely things, wonderful services, ski and fashion accessories and deliciously fantastic items to the auction. At 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 4th at the Alturas Lake Ski Trails Soup Kitchen Social, enjoy great skiing along with with trailside soup and cookies. All events are donation based, so be sure to bring your check book or cash for the donation jars. The Sawtooth Ski Festival is our only fundraising event of the year. We depend on memberships, donations and Ski Festival proceeds to fund our efforts to provide quality groomed cross country ski trails at Park Creek and Alturas lake. Call Karen Keiski at 208-774-3487 if you wish to volunteer for any of the events or donate to the silent auction. See you at the Festival!


LINK: http://sawtoothskiclub.com/

TEL: 208-774-3487

CONTACT: David or Karen keiski@ruralnetwork.net


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