Member Spotlight: Alaska Dream Charters

Q&A With Levi and Mallory of Alaska Dream Charters

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.

Alaska Dream Charters provides a personal and individualized fishing experience. Specializing in six-passenger charters, Levi Rangel and Mallory Rice offer a smaller boat and fewer patrons on each trip allow for one-on-one time with experienced captains and deckhands. Chasing everything from big Halibut, Salmon and Rock Fish, their captains and deckhands have a flair for teaching and are willing to provide as little or as much assistance as desired in each fishing adventure.

We recently sat down with Levi and Mallory to learn more about the journey they have taken as a small business owners in Seward.

Owners Mallory Rice and Levi Rangel share their love of the outdoors with their guests. Photo Courtesy of Alaska Dream Charters.

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

My husband, Levi Rangel and I have lived in Seward for 2 years with kiddo Camille. We are in our second year of business in Seward. Operating a business like this has been in our sights for years. With over 20 years of fishing and hunting experience, Levi has fished all over North America from Canada to the U.S and Mexico. He has done it all, but Alaska is where big fish live! That is why we have decided to pursue this business and this dream in Seward, Alaska.

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

Alaska Dream Charters not only prides itself in specializing in six-pack charters but we also specialize in customized trips. We allow customers to buy out our boats for the day for a private trip or create special packages that can include everything from sightseeing, hunting drops and of course FISHING!

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

We pride ourselves on customer service. Guests have a personal interaction from the moment they call us all the way to being personally escorted to the boat. We take complimentary photos during and after the trips so that the customers can focus on catching fish and not the camera.

Catching monsters on board F/V Hell on Reels. Photo Courtesy of Alaska Dream Charters.

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

It’s not a 9-5 job and requires dedication and sacrifice, but is worth it in the end.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

We have been told that it is nice to have a company that not only produces fish but also professionalism.

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

Seward is a community of like-minded individuals who seem to share a love for this state that is unmatched. We very much enjoy Seward’s quaintness, hard working values and people.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

Jessie and Samantha Osborn are two individuals that we admire. They are a couple that is in business together and they continue to help us navigate the road as both business owners and a married couple.

Mallory and Levi have now acquired Camelot Cottages to make their guests’ fishing adventures even more comfortable. Photo Courtesy of Alaska Dream Charters.

How do you spend your free time?

We hunt and fish of course!

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

We enjoy the Breeze Restaurant. It’s easy going, good food, and enjoyable atmosphere.

There are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?

We would probably take the boat into Aialik to the glacier, camp overnight, fish and bear hunt along the way.

Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?

We have purchased Camelot Cottages in Seward; while it is a separate business we are creating both stay and play packages joined with Alaska Dream Charters to include lodging and fishing.

Feature Image: Everyone loves salmon! Photo Courtesy of Alaska Dream Charters.

***

For more information about Alaska Dream Charters click here or call 907.422.7070. For more information about Camelot Cottages, click here or call 907.362.7843.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051. 

Member Spotlight: 60 Degrees Adventure Charters

Q&A With Laura Schneider of 60 Degrees Adventure Charters

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. We’re proud to present one of the few multi-day charter options in Seward, 60 Degrees Adventure Charters.

Laura Schneider and Kenneth Cardwell create customized trips to explore the waterways of Seward and the Kenai Fjords National Parks for families or groups of friends. Whether it’s fishing, wildlife viewing, kayaking or other water sports, beachcombing or hiking, these two adventurers have done it all and enjoy sharing their passion for exploring and sharing the treasures of the Resurrection Bay and the fjords with their guests.

We recently sat down with Laura to learn more about the journey she and Kenneth have taken as small business owners in Seward.

Captains Laura and Kenneth regale guests with stories from years of working in Alaska waters. Photo Courtesy of 60 Degrees Adventure Charters.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

What makes 60 Degrees Adventure Charters special is our flexibility. We help guests craft a custom itinerary that’s perfect for them. It may be four days of halibut fishing, a focus on whale watching, becoming an expert kayaker, or balancing time on the water with evening campfires on the beach and hikes to a glacier, the only limitation is our guests’ imaginations! We love creating multi-day excursions that allow visitors the best chance to truly experience Alaska’s wonders from the water.

Cooking and putting together bright, fresh recipes that plate well and taste delicious is another of our passions. We showcase local ingredients whenever possible, including beef and pork raised in Alaska and freshly-caught fish. Veggies that grow well in Alaska are complemented with other items from the market. Sometimes, I even make goat cheese that I share with guests.

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

Our boat, the M/V Caroline offers transportation, lodging, meals and outdoor excursions all wrapped up in one inclusive experience. 60 Degree Adventure Charter’s extended tours focus on our guests interests, and reveal some of the most beautiful views anywhere in the world. We serve as your captains, tour guides, chefs and hosts and will regale you with tales from Alaska, delicious home-cooked meals, and expert suggestions on wildlife viewing, fishing, kayaking, hiking, beachcombing, and more.

Get up close and personal with a tidewater glacier on your customized adventure. Photo Courtesy of 60 Degrees Adventure Charters.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and earned a degree in Information Technology from the US Naval Academy. After a tour in Japan, I started commercial fishing in Alaska and was hooked. Kenneth was also a commercial fisherman for seven seasons. Years of commercial fishing has now led us to owning a charter company in our new home where we can show visitors all of the wildlife, mountains, glaciers and ocean that we love.

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

We chose to move to Seward one year ago because it is one of our favorite towns in Alaska. I first visited when bringing friends’ boats from Prince William sound after the fishing season. I always walked away from my visits wishing I had been able to spend more time here.

Seward is also a thriving tourism market, but there were few multi-day charter companies. So we saw an opportunity for growth and started 60 Degrees Adventure Charter to meet that need. This also allowed Kenneth and I to spend our whole year working together. Not only did we build something that allowed us to be out on the water we love so much, we’re also able to share that passion with others.

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

Getting to know people over the winter and the beautiful view every time you drive into town! The views from Seward from mountains to see are incredible!

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

We have been overwhelmed by how supportive the charter community has been to us. Everyone has helped with tips and referrals and genuine goodwill. We could not be happier to be part of this great group of people.

There are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?

We love hiking up to Lost Lake with our dog Elri.

Feature Image: M/V Caroline offers guests a luxurious experience exploring Kenai Fjords National Park. Photo Courtesy of 60 Degrees Adventure Charters.

***

For more information about 60 Degrees Adventure Charters or to book a trip, click here or call 907.521.8196.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051. 

New Vessel Joins Major Marine Fleet

Major Marine Tours Welcomes a New Vessel to its Seward Fleet

SEWARD, Alaska—Major Marine Tours is kicking off the 2018 summer season with a new addition to its fleet of vessels! The Kenai Fjords 360 is a custom-built, high-speed catamaran is named for its 360-degree wraparound top deck. This design offers passengers unparalleled wildlife and scenic viewing opportunities. 

The state-of-the-art catamaran arrived in Seward from La Connor, Wash., last week, and will go into service for Major Marine Tours beginning mid-May.

“This custom-built catamaran was designed so our passengers could have a unique and memorable experience viewing glaciers, wildlife and scenery,” said Tom Tougas, owner of Major Marine Tours.

“As a locally-owned company that has been investing in Alaska’s tourism industry for more than two decades, we are certainly thrilled to introduce this new vessel to our fleet. We’ll be able to take more Alaskans and visitors out to experience and appreciate the stunning beauty of Kenai Fjords National Park.”

Designed with passenger comfort and the environment in mind

In addition to the wheelhouse being located on the second deck to allow for top-deck viewing, the Kenai Fjords 360 is also the fastest catamaran of Major Marine Tours’ fleet. The new vessel has the ability to cruise up to 30 knots (about 35 miles per hour).

Environmental sustainability is a top priority for Major Marine Tours. The Kenai Fjords 360 is powered by EPA Tier III, fuel-efficient and low-emission Caterpillar C32 engines, minimizing its environmental footprint.

The 150-person capacity catamaran was designed with passenger comfort as another priority. Features include snack and beverage bars on the first and second decks, a large galley for dining, and three restrooms on board.

The vessel’s new home

The Kenai Fjords 360 will board directly behind the Seward Harbor 360 Hotel, a Major Marine Tours accommodation. Both are conveniently located less than a block from the Alaska Railroad Depot.

The Kenai Fjords 360 is the ninth vessel in the Major Marine Tours fleet and will support Major Marine Tours in its six-hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise. The cruise visits an actively calving tidewater glacier, provides opportunities for whale and wildlife viewing and features Major Marine Tours’ Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet.

About Major Marine Tours

Major Marine Tours offers world-class wildlife and glacier cruises from Seward and Whittier, Alaska. Major Marine Tours is a locally-owned, family company celebrating over 25 years of sharing the beauty of Alaska with its guests. Seward cruises explore the tidewater glaciers and abundant wildlife of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park, and the Whittier cruises explore the dense concentration of glaciers and waterfalls found in the calm, protected waters of Prince William Sound. Most cruises feature National Park Ranger narration and an Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet, freshly-prepared on board and served during the cruise. For more information, visit majormarine.com

Member Spotlight: A Flyin’ Skein

Q&A With Cindy Clark of A Flyin’ Skein

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.
 
A Flyin’ Skein is a yarn store and more. Not only does owner Cindy Clark supply Seward with a variety of fibers, but she also has art supplies, jewerly-making supplies, and offers classes for a variety of crafts. She is always expanding what she does. She caters to creative clientele who have exciting new projects and want to experience fiber with new techniques and color blending.
 
We recently sat down with Cindy to learn more about the journey she has taken as a small business owner in Seward.

 

Owner Cindy Clark makes her yarn store a haven for creative endeavors. Photo Courtesy of A Flyin’ Skein.

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

A Flyin’ Skein is known for customer service. We will help in any way with anything we can, even if it isn’t yarn related. In addition to helping people in person, I’ve done Facetime sessions with customers who have a problem with their knitting and don’t know how to fix it. I’ve also even shown customers how their keyless systems work on their new cars, others how to navigate their new iphones or ipads and fixed problems for them. I’ve given the term “full-service yarn store” a whole new meaning!

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

In my other life I was an Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technician. I never imagined being known as ‘The Yarn Lady”. I thought I’d have a quilt or bookstore. But here I am, more than ten years later and it is my passion. I love being able to empower people. Sometimes people feel as if they are powerless over lots of stuff in their life; learning to make something and control how it happens is very satisfying. It also gives people the opportunity to believe in themselves. If you find out that you can do something you thought was impossible, other doors will open because of the confidence you gained. Some people I’ve taught can’t imagine how they survived without it; knitting is not only a creative outlet but a great strategy for stress relief as well.

Sheep Shades Yarn is hand-dyed, custom-colored yarn available in Seward. Photo Courtesy of A Flyin’ Skein.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

Last summer we introduced Sheep Shades Yarn – our very own colors of yarn, hand-dyed in Seward Alaska. It has been a big hit and a very enlightening experience; the logistics of keeping up with the high demand has been a learning experience. Most people don’t realize that yarn and quilt stores are vacation destinations for visitors or at least a significant factor to vacation planning. Stores that produce something that can only be acquired at that one store has a magnetic pull for those looking for something unique.
 

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

We now have classes that are based on personal schedules. On the webpage is a tab for Classes, you can see everything we do, fill out the form for what you want to learn, along with the days and times that are good for you and we create a class for you. You can even request a craft or class that isn’t listed and if it is possible, we’ll create it. We also started DIY or Make n’ Take kits. You can either sit in the store and make the craft or buy the kit to take home and make later.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received? 

“The only reason I come to Seward is to go the yarn store.”

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

Go to the Small Business Development Center, they have the answers to all the questions you could possibly have and they can help with the finances to get you up and going.
 
A yarn shop is a refuge for people looking to relieve stress. Photo Courtesy of A Flyin’ Skein.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

Cindy Capra is one of the most creative people I know and she inspires me to expand my skills and knowledge. She is also my go-to person when I have an idea and she helps me work out the details. She has always been, and continues to be, my biggest supporter and advocate.

 

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

My husband came up on a fishing trip and when he got home announced that he wanted to move to Alaska. I responded with “I’ll be ready at two.” We came up two months later. He had been to Homer but not Seward. When we got to the Homer turnoff, we decided to see what Seward had to offer and it felt like home. We moved here the next spring.

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

I just love Seward, the views, the people, and even the weather. Best of all, there are no bugs or slithery things. I’m from Florida, the land of cockroaches and snakes.

How do you spend your free time?

In my free time I’m knitting, crocheting, preparing classes, updating the webpage and searching Pinterest; sometimes I’ll be really irresponsible and read a book. My mind is always “on”. I have a hard time not thinking about how to make the store experience better.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Curled up in my chair, binge watching an old TV series with a project, hoping to not drop any stitches while laughing or crying at whatever I am watching.

If your life was a book, what would the title be?

Aside from yarn, A Flyin’ Skein has everything you might need for any craft project. Photo Courtesy of A Flyin’ Skein.
Never Saw That Coming!!!

There are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?

I am not much of an adventurer. I’m more of a homebody. If I have a free weekend it is usually spent being a little lazy, at least in the morning, but by the afternoon, I’m either working on a new project or finishing a Work-In-Progress (WIP) that has been hanging around for too long. Don’t ever ask a crafter how many WIPs they have; it ranks right up there with never ask a woman how old she is.?

Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?

I’m always on the lookout for new classes or techniques to introduce and a couple of new Sheep Shade colors are being examined.

Feature Image: Shades of summer brighten up this little corner of Seward all year round! Photo Courtesy of A Flyin’ Skein. 

***For more information about A Flyin’ Skein click here, call 907.224.KNIT (5648) or head down to 223 4th Avenue in Seward.


Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051. 

Member Spotlight: Ukanuzit

Q&A With Shelly Shank and Melissa Houselog of Ukanuzit

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.

In 2014, Michelle Blalock, Melissa Houselog, Brad Entwisle and Shelly Shank opened a local thrift store, Ukanuzit. They are supported by items donated by the community, which they then sell for reasonable prices. While they are not a non-profit, they do give back to the community in the form of scholarships, prizes and donated items for charities and events.

We recently sat down with Shelly and Melissa to learn more about the journey all four owners have taken to run a small business in Seward.
These four have made Seward a hot spot for second-hand shopping. L to R: Melissa Houselog, Shelly Shank, Michelle Blalock, Brad Entwisle. Photo Courtesy of Ukanuzit

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

Shelly: We all love this community. We have a very giving and caring community and we are proud to be part of it.
 
Melissa: Ukanuzit has been fulfilling and a true labor of love. Our customers are the best!

 

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

S: Last year, blogger Trent Jonas rated us the #1 thrift store in the State of Alaska. Since the Seward community is so great about donating items to us, we have a ton of inventory to turn over and are making a name for ourselves as a “funky boutique” with a lot to offer.

Family fun means dressing up at Ukanuzit! Photo Courtesy of Ukanuzit.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

S: Our prices are lower than the thrift stores in Anchorage. We actually have a customer base that travels from Anchorage to shop with us.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

S: We are proud of the relationships that we have gained. Our store seems to be a great meeting place for some.
 
M: Knowing that we have helped keep tons of stuff out of the landfill and keeping prices low so we can offer treasures to people in Seward is truly a heartwarming and rewarding experience. It really is a dream come true.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…Ukanuzit brings happiness to all! Photo Courtesy of Ukanuzit.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

S: People tell us we are the best thrift store they have ever been to.
 
Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.
 
S: Jumping into our business was our biggest risk and it has paid off with a lot of hard work and support.

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

S: The biggest one would be to “Make sure there is a need for the business”.
 
 Feature Image: Kids find rainy day fun dressing up at the local thrift store. Photo Courtesy of Ukanuzit.

***

For more information about Ukanuzit click here, call 907.224-5268, or head down to 339 5th Avenue in Seward.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.