Q&A With Monica Cooper & Rick Brown of Adventure 60 North
It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.
Whether you’re looking for half-day kayak trips, multi-day expeditions, ice hiking or gold panning, Adventure 60 North gives year-round visitors an experience to remember. Co-owners Monica Cooper and Rick Brown also provide rentals—from camping gear to satellite phones—for solo adventures into Kenai Fjords National Park.
We recently sat down with Monica to learn more about the journey she and Rick have taken as small business owners in Seward.
How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?
We both came to Seward repeatedly on vacation and loved it. Rick moved here permanently in 2003 and I became a year-round resident in 2004. Rick started as a kayaking guide and then later hung his own shingle as Adventure 60 North. I found full-time work at the Seward Chamber of Commerce, and after a few subsequent jobs in marketing and tourism, I found my happy spot at Adventure 60 as general manager and eventually as co-owner with Rick.
What do you like most about living and working in Seward?
The people, the place, mountains and ocean—what’s not to love? We both love the outdoors and meeting all the folks that come to visit.
What makes your business special or unique?
We are open year-round. Rick was always big proponent of winter tourism during my tenure at the Chamber. I told him he needed something for me to pitch, and the next thing I knew, he bought a snowcat. People thought it was crazy, but now we’re celebrating our sixth year of being open all year. Even though the snow isn’t what it used to be, we continue to adapt our services with the changing climate.
Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.
Our customer service. We go out of our way to take care of our customers. Sometimes that entails a 45-minute phone call about Seward, climate change, Alaska State Troopers, you name it. We never rush our conversations and make sure to give our clients our undivided attention.
Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.
Making the decision to stay open year-round has been tough and not always profitable, but we both feel that Seward has a lot to offer in the off-season. Our payoff hasn’t always been in terms of money; it is awesome to see more owners joining us in offering year-round or extended shoulder season activities and services. The momentum created by the Seward Business Network is exciting and can only bring great things.
What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?
Hang in there. Things don’t develop overnight. Network, network, network. There is nothing better for you than to pound the pavement with cards in hand and introduce yourself to everyone. In this day and age, many think everything can be done online, but nothing beats meeting people in person and having a good old-fashioned talk. Be prepared to be married to your business, so make sure it is something you love. Passion for what you do and the desire to get up and do it over and over will carry you far.
How do you spend your free time?
We are both hands-on and always available at the shop. When we are able to carve out a little time, Rick heads to the Legion for steak night and I go foraging or bake something crazy.
Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?
Rick and I love to bond with our staff at the bonfire pit behind the shop. We’re a close-knit family.
Feature Image: The Adventure 60 North crew enjoys a sunny summer day. Photo Courtesy of Adventure 60 North.
For more information about Adventure 60 North, click here or call 907.224.2600.