The impulse purchase of two Shetland sheep may have been the catalyst that created the Tin Shack Co., a local business owned by Penny Simonsen, but her heart for offering visitors to Isle something new was what has kept the business running for ten years.
The business, named after her and her husband Steve Venhuizen’s 1956 Spartan Chieftain travel trailer, sells handmade yarn from their own sheep, along with handmade accessories and curated handcrafted items from others.
The couple has lived in the greater Woodland area since 2000 and met while attending South Dakota State University. Simonsen is from Bancroft, Neb., and Venhuizen is from Wall, S.D. Simonsen has a degree in home economics and has knitted since the fourth grade. She also has one son, Brandon Belgum, an Isle High School and SDSU grad, who lives and works in Brookings, S.D.
The couple’s affinity for sheep stems from the fact that they both grew up on farms where sheep were raised. The couple has a flock of thirty sheep now on their farm.
When asked what she enjoys most about owning a business, Simonsen replied, “The customers who have become friends. It’s also nice owning a business in a small town; more people should do it.” The customer base is both locals and visitors. Simonsen strives to offer “goods and services that people value enough to invest in.” But she admits that has been one of the biggest challenges of owning a business.
When she is not at the store, Simonsen bakes cookies, biscotti and breads to sell at the Isle Area Farmer’s Market from May through October at Johnson’s Portside. Venhuizen sells the fresh baked-from-scratch baked goods.
The store’s yarn lounge is available for informal gatherings and knit/crochet classes. The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m year-round and located at 250 W. Main St., Isle. The business phone number is (218) 380-3573 and website is www.tinshackco.com/. They can also be found on Facebook at Tinshack. Co.