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Seaview hopes to branch out to Alaska

By Freeland Oliverio
On October 4, 2012

Just over one year ago, Seaview Outfitters opened its store Uptown. Now Jack and Steve Thomas, the store's founders, are hoping to open another branch in Alaska.

"[When we first opened the store] it was all about fighting to get your name out there," Steven Thomas, co-founder of Seaview Outfitters, said. "Over the fall, we were able to grow, put more inventory in the store and add new brands. Now, we can focus on growing the company and the community aspect."

The brothers hope to open a Seaview Outfitters store to Alaska and engrain different types of outdoor guide services into the business, including whitewater rafting and fishing.

The brothers' varied skills, acquired both in Alaska and at Miami University, have not only allowed them to take an active role in Oxford's community, but have also enabled them to pursue a venture in which they both find true passion.

The brothers have most recently expanded to include Patagonia and are hoping to soon add Under Armour to their inventory. In addition to Patagonia, the store sells a wide variety of clothing, including Columbia, Osprey and Vineyard Vines. The store also has a vast inventory of outdoor products, including knives, hiking/camping equipment and fishing equipment.

Another change is the Seaview concert series. Both Jack and Steven said that these concerts were inspired by their aunt's bar and restaurant in Alaska.

"We've spent five summers in Alaska working at our aunt's bar, and the bar hosts live musical shows every Thursday, Friday and Saturday," Steven said. "So, we asked ourselves, 'How can we continue to develop that Alaskan culture here in Oxford?'"

The result was putting on shows in Oxford along the lines of the ones they took part in back in Alaska. By hosting community events such as these, the brothers hope to bring the close-knit communal aspects of Alaska to Oxford.

"They'd put on shows and the whole community would come out and enjoy the concert," Steven said. "Afterwards, we'd have a party with a smaller group of people just sitting around a campfire and having a good time. We hope to bring that sort of closeness to our community right here."

The store has put on two community concerts to date, bringing country singers Zach DuBois and Tim Easton to Oxford. Although the end of the summer brought a close to Seaview's outdoor concerts, Jack and Steven are seeking a possible partnership with a local bar to set up an indoor concert series as a way to continue strengthening Oxford's community.

Putting on concerts are not the only changes that have occurred among the owners of Seaview. Steven has now graduated from Miami University's masters of accounting program, while Jack continues his studies as an undergraduate accounting student. In addition to being a third-year accounting undergraduate and member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, Jack also works as an EMT.

"Last year, I was inspired to take a course at Miami to become an EMT after taking a wilderness aid class," Jack said. "After taking the EMT course, I wanted to develop my skills beyond the classroom. You wouldn't learn the same abilities [in a classroom] as you would practicing as an EMT on the field."

EMT skills in Alaska are valuable because of the distance between towns and hospitals, Jack said.

"Alaska consists of lots and lots of small, secluded towns," Jack said. "Many are hours away from the nearest hospital, so any emergency has to be flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital. In the meantime, towns have a first response group until people can be flown out. So, having experience and skill as an EMT in Alaska is very important."

"Jack and Steve Thomas are two of the most driven people I know," Adam Piccus, Miami student and personal friend of Jack and Steven, said. "They don't really allow anything to inhibit their pursuit of their goals."

The brothers' drive carries outside of the business world as well.

"I would encourage people to not just follow the beaten path," Jack said. "You have to go out of your comfort zone to get what you want out of life."

"We can legitimately say that we can wake up every morning and be excited to go to a job that we love, but it's hard to take that leap of faith," Steven said. "We fully support anybody who takes those kinds of calculated risks."

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