Member Spotlight: Camelot Cottages

Q&A With Mallory and Levi of Camelot Cottages

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.

Camelot Cottages are a family-run, independent cabin getaway a few minutes drive from the heart of Seward. Serving both local Alaskans and tourists, they provide a tranquil setting that gives people a taste of real Alaska.
 
We recently sat down with Mallory and Levi to learn more about the journey they have taken as a small business owners in Seward.
Mallory and Levi enjoy getting outside and enjoying the natural beauty of Alaska. Photo Courtesy of Camelot Cottages.


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

We have lived in Seward for two years. We became a part of this community in hopes to share our love for Alaska and Seward specifically with those that may only get one chance to experience it.


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

The people are our favorite. We have never been to a place where we have so welcomed and accepted into not just a community, but a family.


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

We are unique because we not only provide lodging in cabins with full bathrooms, but we also work in conjunction with local fishing charter Alaska Dream Charters offering package deals and overnight trips.


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

This business has been staple of the Seward community for over 20 years and we are doing everything in our power to return it to its original glory.
The whole family is happy to be a part of the Seward community. Photo Courtesy of Camelot Cottages.


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

We are particularly proud of our all-inclusive feel. Not only does each cabin have a kitchenette and all the amenities of home, we have multiple fire pits throughout the property, gathering places, and an upcoming game yard that contains horse shoe pits, Giant Jenga and more! Customers never have to leave if they choose.


What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

We have been told it is “refreshing” and “a breath of fresh air in the middle of the woods.”


How do you spend your free time?

We spend our free time FISHING, hiking, hunting and anything outdoors with our kiddo.


Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Anywhere that has good food, good beer and good company. Usually around a fire pit.


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

We decided to hire local high school students to assist in renovating the cabins and to keep up the property. We couldn’t be prouder of the work they continue to do and pride they show in the business.


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

NETWORK! And mean it when you get to know someone. It’s always nice to know someone you can call if you get in a bind.


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

“The Never Ending Story”


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 may hike the Caines Head trail; plan a trip that coincides with the tides along the beach trail to the old military ruins. We would camp there for the weekend either at our own site or rent a public use cabin and hike back the next day on the tide’s schedule.

Feature Image: Rustic cabins dot the Camelot property. Guests enjoy the feeling of a true Alaskan escape. Photo Courtesy of Camelot Cottages.

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For more information about The 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: Dr. Michael Moriarty, DDS

Q&A With Dr. Michael Moriarty, DDS 

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.

Dr. Michael P. Moriarty, D.D.S has been providing general dentistry services to Seward families for over 27 years. The success of his practice is based on a foundation of building relationships.  Taking a family-oriented stance in his practice has led to fourth-generation Seward families travelling from as far away as Wasilla for dental appointments. Keeping in contact with extended families from around Alaska and creating new relationships within Seward and Lowell Point has grown his business over decades.
 

We recently sat down with Dr. Moriarty to find out more about his journey to become Seward’s dentist.

Dr. Moriarty teams up with his wife, Maya, to run a succesful dentist practice in Seward. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Moriarty, DDS.

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

I moved here in 1991 and worked as an associate under Dr. Warren Huss, until I purchased the practice in 2004. I’m an outdoorsman; I loves to fish and hunt and I like the cold! The Alaska climate and culture were a good match for a guy from South Dakota.

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

Seward is a great place to raise a family and to be a part of the community. Our children have been raised by a village; the community is warm and welcoming. We were part of a babysitting co-op that also went on hikes and other adventures together. As for work, I get great pleasure in seeing someone smile!

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

We’re known for exceptional quality work, a conservative approach that focuses on our patients’ needs and a friendly, professional environment. I tell people all the time that I wouldn’t recommend any treatment that I wouldn’t perform on my own mother. We’re also known for being a happy place – we try to stay upbeat and make people smile and laugh.

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

We provide custom-made mouthguards to local athletes at an extreme discount regardless of whether the athlete is a patient. Our focus is on saving teeth.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

Due to HIPPA regulations, I can’t give specifics, but several times I’ve been educating a patient about a particular topic specific to their situation and they’ve told me no dentist had ever told them that. The fact that I can give people insight into their dental care and make a difference in their lives is a huge compliment. It’s also heartwarming when patients move away from the area and they tell me that their new dentist has complimented them on the work I’ve done in their mouths. Gordon Christenson, a well-known dentist and advocate in the industry, has also complimented my work which means a lot to me.

Dr. Moriarty was inducted as a fellow of the International College of Dentists in 2016 for outstanding service and work in the profession and community. Photo Courtesy of Seward City News.

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

We invest 5%-10% of our profits back in to the community that has been so good to us over the years.

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

Hiring assistants with no experience! I believe it’s easier to teach people the technical side of dentistry than to teach them how to treat people. So I’ve always hired employees for their work ethic and customer service skills, regardless of their knowledge in the field.

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

It’s cliche, but I built my business on giving my best and doing what’s right for the patient.

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

It’s hard to pick one person, so I’ll pick an organization. We are so impressed with the Seward Community Foundation and its support of so many projects and organizations in Seward.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time with family, hunting and fishing.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

My wife and I enjoy walking along the boardwalk and down the bike path along the waterfront. We usually run into friends, meet tourists, catch a glimpse of wildlife, watch the boats enter and exit the harbor or just enjoy the peace and beauty of Seward.

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

It depends, if it’s fishing season, I like to be on the water dropping a line. If it’s hunting season, you’ll see me hiking up Mt. Alice or the Jeep Trail.

Feature Image: Dr. Moriarty’s team has helped make his business a success. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Moriarty, DDS.

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For more information about Dr. Moriarty’s dental practice, click here or call 907.224.3071.

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

 

Member Spotlight: Seward Properties

Q&A With Nicole Lawrence of Seward Properties

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.

Seward Properties is a Seward-owned real estate company that takes pride in being a contributing member of the community. Since starting in 2013, they have grown to handle sales, property management and vacation rentals in the Seward area.

We recently sat down with Nicole to learn more about the journey she and her team have taken to create and grow Seward Properties.
Owner Nicole Lawrence is celebrating 5 years of Seward Properties serving the community. Photo Courtesy of Seward Properties.

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

I first moved to Seward in 2006 to work as a boat captain for the Military Rec Camp. You could say I moved up here for love; I was dating my now-husband, Colby Lawrence, at the time. I had been a boat captain since 1999 and he convinced me to follow him to Alaska to work for a summer. Colby and I weren’t ready to settle down yet, so at the end of that season, we entered the world of yachting and worked around the world as captains on private yachts for three years. Then, in 2009 we received job offers as captains from Tom Tougas at Major Marine Tours and decided we were ready to spend more time in Alaska and to have a stable lifestyle. I figured we would be here for two years at the most, but now we are at about our 10-year mark and I doubt we will be going anywhere else anytime soon.

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

I am most proud of Seward Properties’ reputation. My team and our clients are amazing and we couldn’t succeed without them. Our company has represented nearly 50% of all the sales transaction in Seward since 2015; plus, we manage over 100 local rentals. It’s amazing to me how the business continues to grow and I have to thank my awesome team and our great community.

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

Overall I think the friendliness, knowledge and full-time availability of our team really helps us stand apart. Plus the amount of real estate services we offer ensures that we can answer just about any real estate question for any housing situation that exists. Having a full-time staff is great because we work as a team to help each other out and we have cumulative knowledge of the local real estate that we are able to share with our clients. Since our services range from sales to property management and even vacation rentals, we can help buyers and sellers through the transition of renting and becoming buyers. We’ve also assisted sellers from the transition of being a landlord to selling a rental property and re-investing in new properties using 1031 tax exchanges. Even if someone isn’t an active client, we love helping answer tricky real estate questions!

Nicole credits the success of her business largely to her year-round team: (L-R) Allyson, Callie, Nicole and Pamela. Photo Courtesy of Seward Properties.

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

Most people are surprised to know that I am a boat captain and have been since 1999. I graduated from University of Michigan in 2003 with a degree in business and a degree in science. However, I never really wanted to settle down and get a “real” job…I just wanted to travel around the world on boats. I did that until I was about 30, and then I was finally ready to settle down and unpack my bags here in Seward. Oh and it’s not really business related but I was on Fear Factor and I think that’s pretty surprising to some people!

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

For people entering into real estate, I would say that you should find a good broker and take a lot of classes. It’s really important that you have good training from someone who has experience. Without sufficient real estate knowledge and someone to ask questions, it’s very difficult to succeed in such a competitive market. Since it is such a word of mouth profession, you need to start out on the right foot and do a good job for every single client. Having a good amount of training, education, and ethical integrity will help ensure your success.

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

I think a big risk that I took was building my own building. We used to rent an office space downtown and after a few years I realized that we needed something more permanent and something that was a better long term investment. I found the perfect piece of land and constructed the building where our office now sits, on the corner of Fourth and Madison. We designed it to have rentals to help cover the cost of the construction and it has worked out well. We love our office!!

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

The best compliment was receiving the Seward Chamber of Commerce’s “Excellence in Profession” Award after opening up my business. I had no idea how I would do when I started my business. I always strive to be ethical, professional and to go above and beyond for my clients. It’s nice to be recognized as a new business because it’s a lot of work getting up and running and building a reputation for yourself.

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

When I look at what I admire in people, it comes down to three things: they are good-hearted, they go out of their way to help other people and they put time and effort into improving our community. Many people in Seward fit this description, but one that has meant a lot to me is Tom Tougas. I am in Alaska largely because he offered me a job as a captain. Since then, he has been my business mentor and has helped guide my decision-making on numerous occasions. Tom has helped out a lot of businesses in this town in different ways without seeking credit for it. He does it because he enjoys helping our community grow. He’s a great role model.

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

What I enjoy most about Seward is the sense of community and connection that you get in a small town. The longer I live in Seward, the more I fall in love with the people here and develop strong community ties through volunteer work. Seward is a special place and I don’t know of anywhere in the world quite like it. I consider myself lucky to live here.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

My favorite place to unwind is with a mug of tea on my living room couch with my husband and dogs. He has been one of my biggest supporters with my business and I respect and value his opinion. Plus, I think dogs are the best therapy after a long day at work.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time with my husband, friends and dogs. Seward is one of the most magical places for outdoor recreation. I enjoy various activities from hiking with my three dogs, skate-skiing on Bear Lake, back-country skiing in Summit Lake, kayaking in Resurrection Bay, picking blueberries, four-wheeling up to Crown Point Mine, to snow machining to the public use cabins for a weekend with friends. This place is incredible in every season and you can usually find me outside.

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

Say Yes to New Adventures

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

In the winter, I would ski or snow machine into one of the public use cabins. If it were summer, I would probably be out RV-ing with friends, hiking, or riding my four-wheeler.

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

Seward Properties is celebrating the end of our 5th year in business! Our plan for 2019 is to donate 5% of all our net proceeds to the community. We are so thankful for such a supportive community and we want to give back any way we can!

Feature Image: A beautifully designed new office stands tall on the corner of 4th and Madison in downtown Seward. Stop by and say hi! Photo Courtesy of Seward Properties.

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For more information about Seward Properties click here or call 907.312.7660.

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

2018 Gift Buying Guide

Give the Gift of Seward for the Holidays!

Steep mountains, remote landscapes and abundant wildlife inspire Seward handmade crafts. We spent a day checking out the wares in gift shops and stores around town and compiled a list of unique products from local artists and makers that showcase Seward’s talent, along with creative ideas for stocking stuffers and everyone on your list for the holidays.

Jewelry
Whether it’s a delicate piece featuring brilliant crystals or unique upcycled earrings, the gift of handmade jewelry will brings smiles to your loved ones this holiday season.

Delicate earrings with Swarovski crystals are available at Urbach’s. Bohart Photography.

Katy Lee produces sterling silver earrings, necklaces and rings. Each piece is unique and sparkles with various Swarovski crystals. Prices vary. Urbach’s, 218 4th Ave, (907) 224-3088.

From compass necklaces to tassel earrings embellished with bullet casings, Sam Clemens combines modern and vintage styles with her company, Brass Bones. Resurrect Art, 320 3rd Ave, (907) 224-7161.

Jennifer Hedke creates brightly colored hand-beaded necklaces that fly off the shelves. The Ranting Raven, 228 4th Ave, (907) 224-2228. 

Libby Ferrera makes delicate earrings with intricate beadwork on handmade salmon leather. Available at Salmon Sisters. Open Fri-Saturday only through Dec. 22, 2018 until spring. 501 Railway Ave, (907) 299-5615.

Health
Health conscientious loved ones will appreciate various handmade goods and therapeutic services available from knowledgeable Seward locals. Lip balms and moisturizers make great stocking stuffers!

Jacara natural skin therapies are great stocking stuffers. Bohart Photography.

Made from a native medicinal and spiritual plant said to have strong healing and pain relief qualities, Devil’s Club Salve alleviates pain from arthritis and can help skin infections. The Frontier Trading Post, 233 4th Ave, (907) 362-7802. 

A local family has created globally aware skincare with their line Jacara. It features various therapies for lips, hands, feet and body. The Frontier Trading Post and The Ranting Raven. Starting at $6

Seward’s spa is the place to go for holiday skin and hair care packages that will ward off the dry winter air. Gift certificates are also available to treat a loved one to a variety of luxurious services from massages to manicures. The Retreat, 500 4th Ave, (907) 224-3223. 

Food
For gifts that go straight to the stomach look no further. Any lover of Alaska’s great bounty will savor these delectable treats.

Everyone will appreciate some hand-made chocolates for the holidays! Bohart Photography.

Taste a lifetime of smokehouse experience with Jim Woodside’s smoked salmon and black cod. From flavors like truffle or orange and with a wide variety of dips and smears, you’ll find something for everyone here. Saltwood Smokehouse, 2101 Seward Highway, (907) 491-0189 . If Jim’s green pickup is in the driveway, he’s open for business.

Whether its making your own sourdough starter or creating epic grilled cheese sandwiches, from fermenting to winter cocktail creations, you can find cookbooks to feed any Alaskan soul at The Frontier Trading Post, 233 4th Ave, (907) 362-7802. $15-35

Alaska Back Country Coffee’s Cold Brew is new in town and available by the growler. Handmade chocolates and other sweet treats are also on offer and make great stocking stuffers! Sweet Darlings, 205 4th Avenue, (907) 224-3011 Growler and fill – $15, fill only – $9

Art
Winter weather inspires the artist in many a Sewardite each year. Creative and resourceful folk manifest unique pieces from found objects to stunning photography to handmade treasures.

Beautifully designed pottery from Nakao Ceramics line the shelves at Resurrect Art. Bohart Photography.

After finishing construction of her homemade kiln last year, local artist Jenny Nakao turns out everything from mugs to oil dispensers inspired by Seward’s surrounding nature. Nakao Ceramics: call (907) 362-0062 for a studio appointment. Select pieces also available at Resurrect Art. $25-$40

Kalani Woodlock’s photography will make you fall in love with Seward and the Kenai Fjords National Park all over again. Choose from affordable canvas prints or vibrant metal displays that depict scenes and places that tug at the heartstrings. Custom order available. Select pieces available at Brown & Hawkins and the Sea Life Center. Starting at $85.

Delicately etched wine glasses by Sewardite Joellyn MacKennon depict local scenes such as the Mount Marathon Race and Mount Alice. The Ranting Raven, 228 4th Ave, (907) 224-2228. $25 each.

Give a Kalani Woodlock photo to someone who misses the wilds of Seward. Bohart Photography.

James and Sarah Minden collect scraps from different local industries that would otherwise end up in the landfill and turn them into beautiful sculptures and “usable art”. Many of their pieces have historical significance in Seward. Check out their work at Brown & Hawkins, 207 4th Avenue, (907) 831-1995. Prices start at $40.

Decorate your walls with affordable prints from local artists. Marissa Amore’s vibrant artwork depicts intricate tidal life on the shores of the bay. J. Leslie’s bright geometric paintings bring a splash of color to local landscapes. Available at Resurrect Art, 320 3rd Ave, (907) 224-7161. Starting at $50

Susan Swiderski is a local artist who paints landscapes of Seward and beyond. Pick up prints and originals at Resurrect Art or see the rest of the collection at www.susanswiderski.com. Prices Vary.

Clothing
Keep your loved ones warm and ready for outdoor adventures with these products made right here in Seward.

Gift the Salmon Sister’s most popular design, “All good things are wild and free,” available on hoodies, t-shirts and more. For every item bought, a can of salmon is donated to the Food Bank of Alaska; buy one gift, give two! Salmon Sisters. Open Fri-Saturday only through Dec. 22, 2018 until spring. 501 Railway Ave, (907) 299-5615. Starting at $25.

Keep warm with these fuzzy collars knitted by Dorothy Urbach. Bohart Photography.

Knitting is a well-loved hobby in Seward and Tanya uses fine yarn and delicate stitches to create colorful socks and other items that keep out the cold. The Ranting Raven, 228 4th Ave, (907) 224-2228. $26 each.

Dorothy Urbach knits warm collars out of various types of yarn. Each collar is embellished with a handcrafted ceramic button made by local artist Jeannie Shirk. Available at Urbach’s, 218 4th Ave, (907) 224-3088. 

Give the gift of warm, dry and fashionable feet with Extra Tuf’s new printed designs by the Salmon Sisters. Available at Salmon Sisters or The Fish House, 1303 4th Ave, (907) 224-3674. 

Looking for something unique? The quirkiest outfits and great stocking stuffers can often be found at Seward’s second-hand store, Ukanuzit, 339 5th Ave, (907) 224-5268. Bargains at $ .50 on up!

Kids
From plush toys to educational games, several places in town have a good selection for the half-pints in your life.

Choose from shelves of educational toys at the Alaska Sea Life Center. Bohart Photography.

Pique the little one’s curiosity in science with packaged kits and explorer games. Teach them how to “dig” for gold and fossils or grow their own crystals; there’s plenty of educational fun available at the Alaska Sea Life Center, 301 Railway Ave, (907) 224- 6300. From $15.

A favorite find of the day was a transformer robot that changed into a polar bear. Get to the Alaska Sea Life Center gift shop before they sell out!

Cuddly toys and other knick-knacks make great stocking stuffers. We found the best selection at Brown & Hawkins, the Harbor 360 Gift Shop and The Alaska Sea Life Center.

Gift Certificates
A number of businesses are open year-round and selling gift cards or memberships that would make great gifts.

Give the gift of unlimited rainy day activities with a yearlong membership to the Alaska Sea Life Center. Membership gives two adults and dependent children admission to the center all year long, as well as discounts on experiences and merchandise. Alaska Sea Life Center, 301 Railway Ave, (907) 224-6300. $140

Treat your loved ones to a night out in Seward with a gift certificate from a variety of restaurants. From soul food to Thai food, the following are open all year-round:

The Cookery (907.422.7459), Ms. Gene’s Place (907.224.6447), Apollo Restaurant (907.224.3092), Woody’s Thai Kitchen (907.422.0338), Chinook’s Waterfront Restaurant (907.224.2207), Seward Subway (907.224.7165), Zudy’s Café (907.224.4710), Thorn’s Showcase Lounge (907.224.3700), The Highliner Restaurant (907.224.3950), The Smoke Shack (907.224.4789).

Drink chips make great stocking stuffers as well. Choose your favorite watering hole: Tony’s Bar (907.224.3045), The Yukon Bar (907.224.3063), The Alehouse (907.224.2337)

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Feature Image: Resurrect Art is a perfect place to kick back with a cup of coffee and browse for holiday gifts. Photo by Bohart Photography.

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

Member Spotlight: Seward Subway & Harbor Street Creamery

Q&A With Young Jin Park of Seward Subway and Harbor Street Creamery

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.

Young Jin Park owns and operates Seward Subway® and the Harbor Street Creamery. Subway not only offers sandwiches, salads, wraps & side dishes, but they also sell Subway To Go box lunches for Alaska adventures. Harbor Street Creamery serves up Cascade Glacier ice cream of all flavors, milkshakes and more. As the owner of the only franchise restaurant in Seward, Mr. Park is happy to serve the community healthy sandwiches and sweet treats all year round. He is also a generous supporter of Seward events such as the Mount Marathon Race, the Halibut Derby and the Silver Salmon Derby.

We recently sat down with Mr. Park to learn more about the journey he has taken as a small business owner in Seward.

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

The biggest shipping company in Korea used to own and operate the coal terminal in Seward. I came here in 1999 as the general manager. When they tried to transfer me back to Korea, I had fallen in love with the town and decided to stay. In 2004, the opportunity to take over Subway presented itself. There was only one condition. The previous owner said that it had to be open year-round and that I would have to be in Seward year-round. I agreed and have now been running Subway for almost 15 years!

Mr. Park owns and operates Seward Subway and Harbor Street Creamery year round. Photo by Seward Chamber of Commerce

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

Because Subway is the only franchise in Seward, I feel a responsibility to support the community that supports my business. I always try to think of my customers and my employees first. Subway stays open all year-round mostly because I want my employees to have work all year round. This is why many of my employees have worked with me for 5 to 10 years. I’m proud that many of my employees and patrons are like family to me.

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

Working within the framework of a franchise can sometimes be difficult in a small town. There is a balance that needs to be struck between doing what is best for the community and working together with Subway’s larger corporation. Luckily, Subway Alaska’s team is great to work with and understands many of the unique circumstances that arise with doing business in rural Alaska. 

Seward Subway is a proud sponsor of many of Seward’s events such as the Mount Marathon Race. Photo Courtesy of Subway AK

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

Seward has given me so much that I try to contribute to the community as much as I can. I am a strong supporter of youth sports such as The Tsunami Swim Club and Seward Subway contributes a $5000 scholarship to the Seward High School Scholarship program. Seward Subway has always sponsored town events, but this year we were proud to be the exclusive sponsor of the 4th of July Fireworks Display for the Mount Marathon Race. It’s important to me that I give back and support my community.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

I am sometimes told by Subway that we make our sandwiches too big with too many veggies on them, but I don’t care! My customers love that our sandwiches are big and loaded with vegetables.

At the Creamery, a family from Oregon—a state known for its dairies and creameries—told me that they had never expected such good ice cream in Alaska. We use Cascade ice creams from Oregon and I’m proud to give my customers big scoops!

The Harbor Street Creamery is a convenient place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Photo Courtesy of Harbor Street Creamery

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

Staying open in the winter is always a risk. It’s a challenge to find quality employees and make sure they have enough hours to make a good living, especially in the winter. I always push them to continue to improve themselves and push them to find better jobs if they want to, so I’m always looking for new workers. Because of this, I do have employees that are like family and who are always welcome to come back to work for me, even long after they leave.

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

I came from South Korea, which is a small country with a lot of people and a very hectic lifestyle. I like the peace and quiet of Seward and the people are very nice. I’m really happy here and love Seward.

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

I appreciate all the business owners who contribute to the town that helps them make their money.

How do you spend your free time?

In the summer I work about 18 hour day, so I only really have free time in the winter. Then, I like to spend time with my family at home.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

This might sound strange, but I really like the schools. I like the calm and quiet of the schools and I also like being a part of everything that’s going on there. My wife and I also really like walking on the waterfront.

Feature Image: Residents and guests take in the firework show sponsored by Seward Subway on the Fourth of July. Photo: Joel Krahn.

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For more information about Seward Subway, contact marketing director Dee Buchanon at dbuchanon@subwayak.com or click here.

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

Member Spotlight: The Nauti Otter Inn and Yurt Village

Q&A With Heather and Clint Davis of The Nauti Otter Inn, Cabins and Hostel

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.

Recent construction of the Yurt Village has nearly doubled the size of the Nauti Otter Inn, located just outside of Seward at Mile Post 5.  The Nauti Otter Cabins and Hostel offers inexpensive lodging from dorm style bunks to vintage campers to rustic cabins.  One mile away lies the Yurt Village nestled in a forest reminiscent of childhood fairytales.
 
We recently sat down with Heather to learn more about the journey she has taken as a small business owner in Seward.
Co-owners Heather and Clint share their love of Seward with their guests. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

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

Guests love the quirky feel of the inn and the fairytale vibe of the yurt village. Both locations are set up to encourage mingling of travelers. Many have made life-time friends from their time at the Nauti Otter. We have nightly bonfires with s’mores, family-style group dinners, group hikes and various other activities planned to encourage guest interaction.

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

I first visited Alaska during the summer of 2008.  Being a school teacher, I took the whole summer to have an “Alaskan Adventure.”  I flew into Anchorage from Texas the day school was out, bought a car and drove to Seward.  I found the Seward Highway location where the owner allowed me and my cousin to work at the inn in return for housing.  When the summer was over, the owner asked me if I wanted to stay all winter as a caretaker. I said “Yes!”, resigned from my teaching position in Texas, flew home, packed bags, and started the journey back to Alaska.  After a few months, the owners offered to sell the inn and I gladly accepted! In 2016 I found my first mate and married Clint. We now own and manage the properties together and hope everyone falls in love with Alaska as much as we have!

Quirky Cabins make guests’ stay in Seward unforgettable. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

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

We are super excited about finishing the construction of the Yurt Village. It took a lot of hard work to create a fairytale atmosphere in the forest.


What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

“The stay at the Nauti Otter was our most memorable experience in Alaska”. “This is the coolest place we’ve ever stayed!”

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

When we purchased the yurt village property, we had to choose between being safe and starting with a few yurts or go all the way and purchase 12 yurts. We’re glad we decided to go big because we have been filled almost to capacity since the season started.

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

Take chances! When I first bought the inn, I went about it with an attitude of, “Worst case scenario: I can rent the rooms out to roommates to help with the mortgage”. Fortunately, she was able to rent it to nightly travelers and the business succeeded.
Heather and Clint hope to use Seward as a stunning backdrop for destination weddings in the future. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.


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

Seward is a beautiful town with a close knit community. We also enjoy the laid back lifestyle.

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

I admire Rissie Casagranda. She’s a mom, a hard worker, owns her own business, serves as a council member and cares about the city. She went above and beyond to help us find a new property to purchase when we wanted to expand our business.  When we couldn’t find property in Seward, she even drove us to Homer to look there. She stomped through feet of snow, while FaceTiming us during the winter to show us various properties.

How do you spend your free time?

Clint and I travel as much as we can and enjoy seeing what this world as to offer. We love Mexico and the Carribean!

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Thorn’s Showcase Lounge! They created a drink for us called the “Nauti Otter” which is printed on the menu.

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

Nauti by Nature – The Davis Adventures

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 want to visit Katmai State Park and view the bears!

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

We are thinking about partnering up with Marathon Helicopters and offering wedding packages. We have our first wedding this summer. If all goes well, you will find us all over the US offering destination wedding packages.

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Feature Image: Sunlight plays on the roof of the fairytale Yurt Village. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

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For more information about The Nauti Otter click here or call (907) 491-2255.

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

Member Spotlight: Flynn Fotography

Q&A With Kally (Flynn) DiMarzio of Flynn Fotography

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.

Kally (Flynn) DiMarzio is a wedding and family photographer, specializing in adventure elopements and small intimate weddings. Born and raised in Juneau, she turned her love of photography from a hobby into a business, and in 2012 Flynn Fotography was born. From local families updating their family portrait, to a couple from the Midwest eloping to Alaska to tie the knot on a glacier, to a couple from the other side of the Peninsula who are planning a wedding with 20 of their closest friends and family; her clients are go-with-the-flow and up for anything, which is how Kally creates works of art encapsulating special moments in each photo.

We recently sat down with Kally to learn more about the journey she has taken as a small business owner in Seward.

An avid adventurer, Kally uses the natural scenic beauty of Alaska to create lasting memories for her clients. Photo Courtesy of Flynn Fotography.

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

I am a life-long Alaskan girl, raised in Juneau.  I love LOVE. I love LOVE stories. I love my husband. I love adventuring. I love camping and fishing. I love trail running with my dogs in the rain. I love yoga. I love good lighting. I mean, I really love good lighting. I really love capturing love and life by way of photography. Seward is one of the few places where all of my loves coexist. 

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

A boy brought me to Seward; I met my husband Ken in Juneau and we started our journey to Seward in April of 2016. We opened business as a new charter company, Seward Maritime, with our boat, Point Retreat. We primarily work with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking to take visitors into the Kenai Fjords National Park. Along with helping to manage the charter company, I’m building a client base for my photography business in Seward.

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

Starting the business itself was a risk. It’s been six years now and I’m happy I took the risk.

Whether it’s family portraits or weddings, Kally captures natural and scenic moments. Photo Courtesy of Flynn Fotography.

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

My specialty is small outdoor intimate weddings and elopements. I am so lucky to have the greatest clients that are open for anything. I have been known to jump in and play hairstylist, makeup artist, chauffeur, wedding planner, even the officiant! Whatever it takes.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

During my first few years of business in Juneau, before moving to Seward, the community voted and awarded me 1st Place as “Juneau’s Favorite Photographer”. That reassured me that I made the right choice in starting Flynn Fotography.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

The trails in and around Seward are spectacular. I’m happy on any trail with my pups and husband.

Feature Image: Kally’s eye for beauty creates stunning photographs with a natural backdrop. Photo Courtesy of Flynn Fotography.

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For more information about Flynn Fotography, click here or call 907.723.6195.

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

 
 
 
 
 
 

Member Spotlight: The Veggie Bus

Q&A With Jeff Babbit of Alaskan Homegrown’s Veggie Bus

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.

Owner Jeff Babbit runs Alaskan Homegrown; a 30 acre, off-grid farm located in Kasilof with less than 10 staff members. He started in 2006 and has grown to include 26 greenhouses which provide much of the vegetables for sale in the Veggie Bus, which is the first mobile farmer’s market in Alaska. The Veggie Bus travels around the Kenai Peninsula selling produce from his farm, as well as organic pork and eggs from a neighbor’s farm, and other homemade products from local artisans and producers.

We recently sat down with Jeff to learn more about the journey he has taken as a small business owner in Seward. 

Jeff Babbit brings his Veggie Bus to Seward every weekend year-round. Photo Courtesy of The Veggie Bus

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

I live in Kasilof, but the Veggie Bus has been coming to Seward for some time. We are happy to announce a regular schedule this summer. The Veggie Bus will be in the parking lot near The Cup coffee shop on the Seward Highway year-round every Friday from 11 am until 6 pm and Saturday from 11am until 3 pm.

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

Well, growing veggies in Alaska is pretty unique! As the summer progresses, you’ll find more and more vegetables and fruits available from Kasilof. In the meantime, we’re supplementing what we do have with eggs and meat from Lisa Rae’s farm in Kasilof, along with year-round produce like potatoes, turnips, potatoes and more.

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

Our lettuce is the best product. We can grow and have available 100 pounds of lettuce a day all the way until late September!

Lettuce grows at Alaskan Homegrown farm through late September! Photo Courtesy of The Veggie Bus

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

Ten years ago, a friend and I started the first farmer’s market in Soldotna with just two vendors. It took a lot of work, but now it’s grown to over 60 businesses participating with live music and entertainment. I’m hoping I can recreate that in Seward and am looking for vendors and farmers to join in!

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

Buying the Veggie Bus was a huge risk. At the time, it was a lot of money, but now I have a mobile market and can reach a lot more people in communities all over the peninsula.

Yellow beets are a local favorite from the farm. Photo Courtesy of The Veggie Bus

What do you like most about working in Seward?

Seward is such a great small town and the community has been incredibly warm, friendly and supportive. I appreciate people going out of their way to support local produce.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

Customers tell me a trip to the Veggie Bus is “fresh and friendly”!

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

I’m not very good at the technology side of things, so I really appreciate all of the locals who have created Facebook posts on Seward Events or Seward Services to get the word out when the Veggie Bus is in town.

How do you spend your free time?

HaHA! Farmers don’t have free time; something always needs to be done!

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Tony’s Bar has friendly bartenders and is great for an after work drink. The Zimmerman’s at The Highliner have been so helpful and kind to me and their food is delicious. The Highliner and The Cookery are serving up products from the Veggie Bus too!

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

There is a lot of interest in starting a farmers market in Seward. I’m still looking for vendors, and hope to get enough contacts to make this happen next summer. Get in touch with me if you or someone else is interested in creating a locally sourced food and artisan market in Seward!

Feature Image: Welcome to Alaska’s first mobile farmers market! Photo Courtesy of The Veggie Bus.

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For more information about The Veggie Bus click here.

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

Member Spotlight: Brown and Hawkins Mercantile

Q&A With Cliff and Linda of Brown and Hawkins Mercantile

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.

Linda Chichester and Cliff Krug moved to Seward in 2015 and acquired the historic business, Brown and Hawkins Mercantile. This general store offers a unique assortment of apparel, jewelry, art, and home goods along with an assortment of Alaskan made treasures. They celebrate the 100+ years that Brown & Hawkins has served Seward locals and its visitors by maintaining a connection between yesterday and today through dynamic product selections, displays, customer service and community engagement.

We recently sat down with Cliff to learn more about the journey he and Linda have taken as small business owners in Seward. 

Co-owners, Cliff and Linda celebrate all that Alaska has to offer with their store, Brown and Hawkins Mercantile. Photo Courtesy of Cliff Krug.

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

We try to offer a wide range of interesting things for the entire family that aren’t easily found but are still reasonably priced.  Our goal is to cover a wide range of categories so that guests can enjoy a one-stop shopping experience. We are flexible with our buying so that we can bring in what is needed when it is needed. Our commitment to celebrating artisans extends, not just to Alaska beyond as well. There are so many talented people to discover and share together; they can enrich our lives. Finally, we are always looking for deals to pass on to our customers. We will always maintain an off-price section of things, in limited quantities that are really, really, really, good deals.

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

That is a tough one because there are so many things – in the end we never stop trying to find unique things that can create meaningful connections, no matter how small, between a vendor or artist and our customers. We are proud of the range of products that we carry and this range is ultimately a reflection of Brown & Hawkins’ history. It’s not just a nice place to shop, it can be an inspiring place to just visit.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

All the local support. So many people come into our store saying that they came because someone had told them they had to check it out.

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

We opened in the off-season, but a lot of concerned people suggest to us strongly that we should wait until spring. However, we felt that it was the best time to get comfortable in the space, interact with our shoppers and nurture the store. Not only was it the right choice but it really allowed us to bond with the Seward community on a whole different level and identify unique opportunities like Seward Second Saturdays. This wouldn’t have been possible if we had opened in the spring instead.

Flexibility in buying makes Brown and Hawkins a one-stop shop for Seward locals and visitors alike. Photo Courtesy of Cliff Krug.

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

In today’s market, in order to maintain sustainable growth, we recommend trying to create meaningful connections with your customers. Get to know your customer and find out what they really want. Be flexible and willing to adapt to their needs and evolving lifestyles. There are so many ways, big and small, to do this day in and day out.  And it is through doing these things and finding new ways to do these things that you will keep yourself and your business fresh, relevant and vital.

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

Linda crewed Hot Air Balloons for 15 years in USA & Europe. I taught Theater Lighting in Europe for 7 years. Linda & I first met when Linda hired me to work with her at the Mt. Roberts Tram in Juneau before we moved to Girdwood.

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

First, the amazing world that surrounds us everyday. It can take your breath away in a moment. Second, the people and the community that they have built. Third, the history is all around you and even if you dig just a little you can appreciate how vital Seward has been to Alaska over time.

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

I got a job managing the retail shops at Pursuit/Kenai Fjords Tours three years ago while Linda worked as Director of Retail for Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. She transitioned into managing the Once in a Blue Moose stores here in Seward seasonally over the following year.

Cliff and Linda work hard to showcase local Seward and Alaskan artists that are both well-known and up-and-coming. Photo Courtesy of Cliff Krug.

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

Wow, that is a tough one too. There are so many amazing people here in Seward. Tom & Kathy Gillespie, Hugh & Iris Darling, Jennifer Headtke, Judy Odhner, Ron Wille and Nicole Lawrence just to name a few. They have all helped, encouraged and guided us in so many ways, big and small, from the beginning. These are all people that welcomed us to Seward and in one way or another showed us their way. And they have even provided a timely reality check or two when needed! We are grateful to know them all.

How do you spend your free time?

We love what we do so we are always looking for new products, assessing numbers and strategizing. But a good walk, a good meal and a nap are always welcome in between!

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Right now, we love eating something scrumptious at Zudy’s on the deck, in the sun, as the whales are bubble net feeding. In the fall, we enjoy our decks in the morning or evening. There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee in the morning or a chilled glass of riesling in the evening looking out onto the bay. It does the soul good.

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

Fox Island is a special place for us. Cathy Martell has really created a magical place out there to stay. We are dying to get out to Orca Island Cabins too. We also want to get out kayaking more.

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

We will be adding outdoor gear and some more specific things that locals have been asking us to carry this fall. We are continually looking for great bargains so watch our Facebook page for arrival announcements. An eCommerce site is on the horizon for end of 2018 too with the help of our friends at Able Millane Web Services!

Feature Image: Shopping in the historic Brown and Hawkins Mercantile is like stepping into the past. The city of Seward is lucky to have a store that has endured more than 100 years in the historic downtown district. Photo Courtesy of Cliff Krug.

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For more information about Brown and Hawkins, click here or call 907.831.1995.

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

 

Member Spotlight: RAWsome Photography

Q&A With Oksana Skolnaja of RAWsome Photography

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.

Oksana Skolnaja was born in Lithuana with a camera in her hand. As a long-time resident of Seward, she has made a name for herself fileting halibut quickly and perfectly while deckhanding with Crackerjack Fishing Charters and has recently turned her attention back to her photo art with her business RAWsome Photography. Whether she is capturing lifestyle, family events, wildlife, travel and glamorous portraiture, her lively and fun style shines through each photo. She strives to capture beauty and special moments and create memories with clients who favor a less traditional approach.

We recently sat down with Oksana Skolnaja to learn more about the journey she has taken as a small business owner in Seward. 

Photographer Oksana Skolnaja balances being a full-time mom with her new business. Photo Courtesy of RAWsome Photography

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

My photography is unique in my own expression, the way I see things through the lens. I’ve been told I make people look happy and beautiful and I am good at creating memories.

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

I just recently finished photo visuals for The Retreat Salon and Day Spa’s new website. It’s going to be great! I am grateful and happy I was able to collaborate with Crista and her amazing team. Stay tuned for the updated website! My marine wildlife and bird canvas prints will also be available for sale at the salon through the month of June.

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

I’ve been taking photographs ever since I can remember. This year I decided to become a business owner and continue capturing people in their essence.

Shots like this one capture Oksana’s fun and energetic perspective behind the lens. Photo Courtesy of RAWsome Photography

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

There have been a few, but one of my favorites was being told that I captured some precious moments that would last a lifetime.

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

I’ve recently made business decisions that paid off financially and more importantly created new partnerships that are growing my business. Networking is a must if you’re a business owner!

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

I would recommend a good client management system to keep track of contracts, emails, proposals, and invoices among other things. As a busy mom, I am definitely trying to work more efficiently!

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

The first time I came to Seward was during my college years back in 2005; I worked at the Breeze Inn as a waitress for the summer. This lively and beautiful town fascinated me, so I had to come back! I moved to Seward in 2009 and began spending summers in Seward and winters in Girdwood. Four years ago, I moved full-time to Seward.

Focusing on the smaller wildlife in Resurrection Bay, Oksana finds the beauty in things that others often miss. Photo Courtesy of RAWsome Photography

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

I love the arts and Resurrection Bay. Summer brings so much life and interesting people. During the winter, I love hiking and skiing, doing yoga and relaxing.

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

I admire quite a few small business owners who took a leap of faith and grew their business in this community; there are too many to name.

How do you spend your free time?

I’m a full-time mom, which takes a lot of time, but I also manage to get in a lot of hiking, running, biking, fishing and relaxing with my family.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

I love hiking Lost Lake Trail! And now that Yoga Space has opened I will be attending more yoga classes!

Oksana captures Alaska’s iconic bald eagle fishing the waters near Seward. Photo: RAWsome Photography

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

The Rawsome Adventures of Oksana Skolnaja

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 would go on an overnight camping trip to Caine’s Head or out to Orca Island for a more private getaway. I would also go to Harding Ice Field, which is one of my favorite spots to go on long hikes along with Lost Lake.

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

I would like to focus more on capturing families and couples who are visiting Seward who would like me to photograph their adventures and special trip of a lifetime moments. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about taking quality photographs of their trip; they could just focus on enjoying their time in this amazing place!

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Feature Image: Oksana’s keen eye captures seals hauled out on a waterfall. Photo: RAWsome Photography.

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For more information about RAWsome Photography click here or call 907.903.7793. 

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