Joe and Alison Elder

  • Couple or Team
  • Creator
  • Smile-ify'er

While Joe and Alison Elder were sailing with friends among the islands of the Caribbean in the early 1990’s, they visited – as sailors are wont to do – many of the local bars, including the world-famous Pusser’s (makers of rum for the British Navy since 1655) in Tortolla and Marina Cay. That’s not noteworthy at all, except Joe and Alison were less enamored of the rum drinks (Pusser’s has a famous one called a Painkiller) than they were of the nautical decorations. It wasn’t an idle interest: Joe and Alison – both scuba divers – are members of the Maritime Archeological and Historical Society.

It took them about 15 years, but in 2003 they opened Skipjack Nautical Wares, a gallery of antique nautical gear and maritime memorabilia. The shop was in Portsmouth, Virginia (right next to Norfolk), and they lived above the shop for 4 years until a nearby fire spread and consumed both their home and business (rough day!) In 2008 they rebuilt the business in a new building twice as big on the Olde Towne Portsmouth waterfront, very near the beginning of the historic Intra-Coastal Waterway (affectionately known as “The Ditch”, it enables safe boat traffic from Virginia to Key West, Florida.)

The reason we’re including them on this site is because they built a life around something they love. In fact, on their website they say, “Live the life you love, love the life you live!” And in doing so, they’ve enriched the lives of all the people who love the same things they do.