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 AdventuresThere 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. 

Member Spotlight: Bardy’s Trail Rides

Q&A With Breanna Dodson of Bardy’s Trail Rides

It’s often said that people make the place and we couldn’t agree more. Our spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Bardy’s Trail Rides offers diverse 2-hour horseback rides twice a day from May through September to locals and visitors alike. Seward local, Breanna Dodson, takes riders through the rain forest of Seward where moose and bear roam and shows guests part of old town Seward that was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1964. Then the horses carry guests out to the grasslands at the beach of Resurrection Bay where the wild flowers meet the ocean. Often riders will find themselves trotting beneath massive bald eagles and encounter diverse birding opportunities. The horses meander through moss-laden forests and take riders across rivers where salmon swim between the horse’s legs on their way to spawning grounds. Breanna has spent the last eight years developing this unique tour to show visitors a different side of Seward.

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

Seward local, Breanna Dodson, takes locals on a ride of a lifetime through temperate rainforests, beaches and rivers. Photo by Ron Niebrugge.

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

We pride ourselves on excellent customer service. We keep out tours at 7 people or less so everyone is getting the attention or service needed.

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

I was born and raised in Seward and started this business with my dad when I was 14 years old. It was intended to use it to pay my way through college, which I did. I always thought I would sell it when I graduated, but I enjoy the business and meeting new people. Every year I keep saying “Oh, just one more year.” I think I have been saying that for 8 years now!

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

We were ranked top 10 trail ride by USAToday and we were on a TV series called Equatrekking which aired on PBS.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

I hear quite often that our ride was the best trail they have ever done from guests who ride on every vacation. We also hear how well-maintained and cared-for our horses are. That means a lot to me because our horses are part of the family.

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

Every customer is important. Treat them like a person; without them you have no business.

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

Off the Beaten Path

Bardy’s Trail Rides gives visitors a glimpse into the history of Seward. Photo by Ron Niebrugge.

How do you spend your free time?

There is no free time when you own horses.

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

I love the small town atmosphere and how most in the tourism industry work together to make Seward a fun-filled stop for our guests.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

On my horse’s back, riding through the woods.

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

My favorite place to explore and experience is camping on Porcupine Island on Kenai Lake.

Feature Image: Bardy’s Trail Rides gives visitors and locals a unique perspective on the epic views of Resurrection Bay. Photo by Ron Niebrugge.

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For more information about Bardy’s Trail Rides or to book a tour, click here or call 907.362-7863.

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

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.

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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.

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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. 

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.