Our Story


From an early age, while growing up in a New Jersey suburb, Michael Valentino became captivated by the beach lifestyle when his family vacationed every summer on the Jersey Shore. During family trips to Florida, he fell in love with water sports. This love of the ocean inspired him to make a better life for himself, to leave the suburbs, and live near the water. The pursuit to live on an island had begun!

Michael started his first job at sixteen with a local department store & quickly graduated to mall store manager. At 21 he was managing six stores from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania. At the young age of 24, he opened his own store, Eskil Clog Shop in Boston selling authentic Swedish clogs. Shortly after, in 1979, he opened Northern Pursuit, a ski shop embracing the outdoor lifestyle in Killington, Vermont. Over the course of the next three years he expanded to five stores, including Summit Ski Outfitters.

Michael had crafted his life to enjoy winters in the mountains, skiing daily, and summers on Martha’s Vineyard, pursuing water sports. As a complement to his “Northern Pursuit” stores in ski country, he opened “Island Pursuit” on Martha’s Vineyard in 1983. He was living the dream!

In the late 80’s the dream of the “endless summer” led him to Florida. With the goal of living half the year in Florida and half the year in New England, Michael kept the first Island Pursuit on Martha's Vineyard founded the next store on Saint Armands Circle in Sarasota, Florida in 1988. Today, Island Pursuit stores are located throughout resort areas in Sarasota, FL, Sanibel,Fl, Chatham,MA, Newport,RI, and Mystic, CT.

While enjoying island life in both Florida and Martha’s Vineyard, Michael became an avid water sports enthusiast, and took up windsurfing, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and boating. More recently, Michael’s passion for water sports has turned him on to kite boarding!

As Island Pursuit celebrates its 35th anniversary, we thank our loyal customers for helping us reach this milestone and our dream of island living.

Wherever you may live, be it in the mountains, or on the coast, we hope your own “island pursuit” leads you to build a life wherever you’re most at peace, wherever you truly enjoy being, and doing whatever it is you enjoy doing. So we ask you, what’s your island pursuit?

Here are some more images of Michael doing what he enjoys most, boating, kite boarding, and sailing!