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Cousins buy North Croghan Outpost business

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CARTHAGE — Two cousins have embarked on a business venture, taking the reins of an established mail order company.

Jo Ann Miga Johnson and Tamara Avallone Charette have bought North Croghan Outpost from the company’s founder, Teri L. Ellis. Mrs. Ellis started the company about five years ago to “offer our quality north country products from one source via the Internet.”

Mrs. Ellis said she had the idea for the business for many years, but it was not until the Internet was established that she had resources to make the venture feasible. It was not long before the business blossomed and demanded too much time to run on a part-time basis. Mrs. Ellis, director of training/executive assistant at Carthage Federal Savings & Loan, decided she had to sell the business.

“The decision to sell was not an easy one, as this was something I had developed and built over a period of five years. I knew the person or persons who purchased would have to embrace the entire concept much the same as I did or it would not succeed,” she said.

Mrs. Charette, who retired after 25 years working with Fort Drum Youth Services and Fort Drum Army Substance Abuse Program, was looking for a part-time business.

“Mrs. Charette did understand my business directive and thought this would fit in perfectly with her plan,” Mrs. Ellis said. “Within a few short months, partnering with Mrs. Johnson, the new owners are continuing without skipping a beat. Locally the gift basket business is also growing. Tammy is attending local shows and establishing her own footprint at the Outpost. Although bittersweet, this is a very positive move and I wish them the best of luck.”

Mrs. Charette, a 1971 graduate of Augustinian Academy, said she enjoys working with her cousin. The two named their corporation North Country Cousins LLC and affectionately call each other “my little cheese curd” (Mrs. Charette) and “my little maple nugget” (Mrs. Johnson).

North Croghan Outpost items include 1000 Island River Rat Cheese, Croghan bologna, Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans, maple syrup, maple products, Shultz Family cheese curd, Chamberlain’s pepper spreads, Martin’s Pretzels, Morgia’s pasta and sauce and Spicy Wench products.

“I always wanted to own my own business after retirement and thought this website would be a great opportunity to do so,” Mrs. Charette said. “People who grew up in this area and have moved away still want that north country taste. Now I have the opportunity to send what they want fresh.”

Her business partner has ties to Carthage, which was her family’s home base during her father’s Army career, and she attended high school in Boonville.

The new owners plan to keep the business basically the same but expand the product line and make improvements to the website to spotlight gift basket offerings.

“With gradual persistence we intend to grow,” Mrs. Johnson said. “We want everyone who has visited or resided in north country — the soldiers and vacationers who have a love for the products of the area — to know that we exist and that we will ship products anywhere. We want to give them a taste and a fond remembrance of the area.”

To order a basket for local delivery, call Mrs. Charette at 493-1794. The website can be accessed at http://www.northcroghanoutpost.com.

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