Eberhard Fass is a carpenter, life long bachelor, German born immigrant, cat owner, sailor and skier. His picture hangs over the till at the store, looking down on his legacy with a Mona Lisa smile.
Eb came to Canada in the 1950's and finding it difficult to get equipment for the sailing and skiing that he loved, he built his own store from the ground up. On December 1, 1973, Eberhard Fass opened up Eb's Sport and Ski Shop to the general public.
"I was dumb enough that I said I was going to go into business and that would be my job for the rest of my life... If I'd known what I was getting into I probably wouldn't have gone into business."
The first years were tough and the store almost failed a number of times. Eb ate weiners and beans and lived on the second floor. That's why we have a closet in the office, (which used to be his bedroom) and a bathtub in our washroom.
Back when the business was smaller there was room to have a couch upstairs, where many a lively discussion was had about who was the greatest Nordic skier of all time, what kinds of boats were superior to others, who had the most exciting trip of the summer. And of course, it was great for power napping.
Great staff was always the backbone of the store and Eb fostered us all with a crusty - yet endearing - patriarchal mentorship.
While Eb was busily involved in the sailing and cross country skiing communities in Saskatchewan (helping create Eb's Trails was one initiative), his Siamese cat was busy networking in the store.
Max lived upstairs and would come down to mingle with customers when the whim caught him. For 19 years that old cat roamed the store, tail held high, cracking his rusty "meowr" when he either approved or disapproved of something you were doing. He and Eb probably debriefed at the end of each working day, companions as they were.
Eb is still around today but rarely makes it into the store anymore. James and Kevin continue to care for him in his sunset years, just as they continue to run the store as a team. Despite lean economic years and increasing competition, they've stayed true to Eb's original mission: to promote a passion for outdoor sport and to provide the best customer service possible.
Here's to you, Eb :)