All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Call of the North

When Mrs. Ipsa and I were married we had two ideas of how to spend our honeymoon.  Maybe I should say two ideas of where to spend it.  I had a good idea how I wanted to spend it.  She wanted to take a color tour of the Northeastern US.  I wanted to get married and start working on that how business.  The one thing I didn't want to do was wait until the fall of the year to do it. 

We compromised.  She got to marry me in the spring, before I could wise up and get away.  I agreed to take a color tour vacation in October.  The big question was what to do after the wedding.  I had a pretty good idea.  She wasn't willing to go along with Plan A. 

I had always wanted to spend a week fishing in Canada.  My new wife was game.  That kinda sold me on her too.  How many women are going to let you take them into the northern wilds to fish on your honeymoon?  Only the good ones.

I picked up the phone and called Joe at Call of the North and told him what I wanted to do.  He thought it was a great idea and even cut me a break on the cabin.  The fishing was always good and the rates reasonable.  I was hooked and made other trips over the years.  I always wanted to hunt up there but never had both the time and the money.

I've gone to Canada and used other outfitters.  I've never liked them as well as Joe.  After getting a moose this year, I decided I wanted to try again, and maybe get some fishing in too.  So I decided to check out what it would cost me to hunt with him.  That's when I learned that they are retiring and they have the place up for sale.

Years ago Joe offered to sell me the place.  Maybe I should have taken him up on it.  I hope its been a good life for Joe and Paula.  I hate to see them go.  Their son is a banker in MN and I don't think any of the kids want to keep the business going.  I hope a good family buys it and makes it a place for memories for another generation.


  1. WaterBoy5:26 PM

    Kinda sounds like a great opportunity for you, man. Get your hunting/fishing in and make money while you're at it. Did Joe happen to tell you the financials when he offered to sell it to you? Having those numbers would let you know whether it was a viable business opportunity or not.

    Only disadvantage might be relocating farther away from extended family...though that could actually be an advantage, too. Imagine hosting family get-togethers up there.

    Lots of hunters amongst the Ilk, too. Great place for an Ilk-Hunt (hehehe).

  2. Susan3:14 PM

    Seems like the son would grow tired of the muslim influx in his state and would want a place to escape to eventually.

    This just sounds like the kind of business that would suit you to the proverbial T. You know everything there is to know about what makes a good outfitter, and to have this kind of place to raise your family would be just outstanding.

  3. I could run an outfitter business. You're insightful about it being a good fit. I like making people happy and ensuring they have a good time. What Joe provides is known as "semi-guided". He gets you to the lake and in a boat with bait and some pointers about what to do. All in all not a bad job.

    I don't know how I'd feel about guiding other hunters. Hunting has a different meaning for me than what I think guys who pay to hunt want.

  4. WaterBoy12:27 PM

    Dude, seriously...if you think this is something you might even remotely consider, ask Joe for the financials and see what kind of profit/loss you're talking about overall.

    And if it's something that looks feasible, initiate a Kickstarter or GoFundMe project to get some help with the down payment. You know I'd kick in. You can set up different award levels and give away weekend getaways or even guided fishing/hunting trips at the highest levels. Even if you look at hunting in a more holistic approach, you don't have to sacrifice that to make other people happy and ensure they have a good time. You do your hunting your way, and let them do theirs -- you're just the guide to show them where the prey is. The rest of it can be worked out, if you follow me.

  5. WB, I'll give it some thought and then maybe talk it over with the Mrs.

  6. WB,

    I changed my mind. I sent the listing agent a request for the property information as well as a request for details on an American buying and running a business in Canada.

    What would be really cool would be if I could get my tribal card, then there wouldn't be any immigration issues. I also wouldn't ever need an Ontario hunting or fishing license again.

  7. WaterBoy7:11 PM

    Just as important as the property details are the business financials, though...probably more so, really. If the business doesn't bring in enough revenue to cover costs plus living expenses, then you're going to need an additional source of income to make up the shortage. Ideally, the numbers would go back a good 5-10 years so you could get an idea of the outfitter market trends in that area.

    I know I'm not saying anything you don't already know, given your background. But to me the opportunity would be a non-starter from the get-go if it isn't self-supporting with enough extra to feed and clothe the family. I've also done a bit of work in this area toward WaterGirl's business, and can offer a hand in things like document prep, if you want it. Email me if you need anything specific.

    If you qualify for tribal eligibility here, I would go ahead and get that done, now. Not only would it make it easier to get a card in Canada afterward, but it might also qualify you for certain business funding programs.

  8. WaterBoy7:34 PM

    "as well as a request for details on an American buying and running a business in Canada."

    I would also suggest hooking up directly with Joe himself. He can give you a lot of pointers in dealing with all of these issues you're about to encounter, if he also came from the U.S. Things have probably changed a lot since he did it, but his experience could still prove valuable.

  9. WaterBoy7:38 PM

    Just so you know...if you become a Canadian citizen, you probably still won't qualify for Prime Minister....

  10. I've had a good email conversation with the listing agent. I asked for 5 years financials. I was guessing that they were asking 10x's annual revenue and that the operation would be showing either a) wages paid to the owner in the area of 50% of revenue or b) an operating profit of 45 to 50% of gross.

    Those assumptions aren't even close. They are asking over 20x's earnings and lost money last year. I believe I could turn that around simply because (based on my assumptions) I suspect the main reason is age and health related.

    To take that risk, I'd have to go into the deal with a purchase price of no more than 8x's earnings and operating capital of $400k to improve and expand the business. I'm not setting on that kind of cash.

    The listing agent suggested another property that's pulling $250k gross with a good P&L. The asking price is higher but the ROI is much better and the deal would be bankable provided I came in with solid $$ backing.

    My tribal eligibility is in the Six Nations, which is in Ontario. The back story on that is interesting but very long and convoluted. About 10 years ago someone from the reservation was doing research on members who left the res. They found us. I've not been back east to talk to them but my uncle received his tribal card based on his father (my grandfather). The original treaty that the tribe has with the US government calls for "one drop of blood" to be recognized as whole. Before the government will recognize you, you have to have the tribe sign off and claim you. I've not done the leg work for that.

    1. WaterBoy11:34 AM

      Res Ipsa: "Those assumptions aren't even close. They are asking over 20x's earnings and lost money last year."

      Ah, disappointing. Even though the listing says the price is negotiable, I doubt they're willing to negotiate that far down. Too bad.

      "The listing agent suggested another property that's pulling $250k gross with a good P&L. The asking price is higher but the ROI is much better and the deal would be bankable provided I came in with solid $$ backing."

      Is that something that a tribal small-business program could provide? Not familiar with that particular tribe, but the one my cousins belong to has small grants for tribal members (though nowhere near this scale).

    2. I don't know but I kind of doubt it. The US government would loan program money on something like that, but the business would be in Canada.

      This is one of those convoluted tribal situations. Back in 1722 there was no political significance to which side of the St Lawrence the tribe was on. As I understand it, it didn't even matter much until the 1960's. At one time the tribe's territory stretched from Ontario and Quebec to South Carolina to the Ohio River basin.

      As far as the US government is concerned members of the tribe are recognized and entitled to BIA programs. Most of those economic development programs are designed to benefit projects on US soil. As far as the Canadian government is concerned, members of the tribe are recognized and entitled to aboriginal rights and privileges, like unlimited sustenance hunting and fishing, cheap license plates etc. The Canadians don't have enough white guilt to aimlessly throw money at their Indians.

    3. WaterBoy4:24 PM

      "The Canadians don't have enough white guilt to aimlessly throw money at their Indians. "

      I was thinking more along the lines of tribal money for investment, often coming from casino revenue. Many tribes are expanding from only casino-oriented businesses to diversify their revenue sources, and equity investment is one of those areas. It would seem if they are looking to lend, NA businesses would be likely to stand to benefit.

      If Indian casinos aren't as big a business in Canada as it is in the U.S., then it's probably a moot point anyway.