2019 Signature Events Logo Contests

The Seward Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the logo contests for our 2019 signature events:

92nd Running of the Mount Marathon Race

64th Annual Seward Silver Salmon Derby

13th Annual Seward Halibut Tournament

Designing a logo is a great way to be associated with some of the most iconic events in Alaska! Winning designs will be widely promoted and used for event brochures, web/social media content, t-shirts, and more. 

Each event will be holding its own separate logo contests with varying rules and regulations. Read on to find out how to enter and win!

How to Enter 

Important dates for all three contests:

  • The contest begins on December 4th, 2018
  • Submissions will be accepted through January 31, 2019
  • Winners will be announced in mid-February via email, Seward.com, and the Seward Chamber of Commerce’s social media channels

In order for your entry to be submitted and reviewed by our judges, all entries must be:

  • Submitted directly to Elizabeth Hashem at events@seward.com.
  • Submitted in their original source file (a scalable, vector format such as .ai or .eps).
  • Submitted as a high resolution .pdf with 300 dpi or higher.

Logo Requirements

Mount Marathon Race

  • Theme: To best convey the unique nature of the Mount Marathon Race, the logo design must include a mountain theme.
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Mount Marathon Race 2019
    • 92nd Running
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.

Silver Salmon Derby

  • Theme: To best convey the nature of the Silver Salmon Derby, the logo design must include a fisheries theme.
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Seward Silver Salmon Derby 
    • 64th Annual
    • August 10th-18th 2019
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.

Halibut Tournament

  • Theme: To best convey the nature of the Halibut Tournament, the logo design must include a fisheries theme.
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Seward Halibut Tournament 
    • 13th Annual
    • June 2019
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.

Contest Details

  • One winning logo design will be selected for each contest.
  • Contestants agree that the Seward Chamber of Commerce may publish their logo and name(s) and may use both for advertising campaigns and/or marketing materials in the future.
  • Contestants assign all ownership rights, including all intellectual property rights to the logo, to the Seward Chamber of Commerce.
  • The Seward Chamber of Commerce may alter, modify or revise the winning logo as necessary for its intended use.
  • The Seward Chamber of Commerce reserves the right to not select a winner if, in its sole discretion, no suitable entries are received.  

Prize: The winning designer of each contest will receive $200!

Deadline: Thursday, January 31 at 11:59 pm AK.

Contact Elizabeth Hashem at the Seward Chamber of Commerce with any questions: 907.224.8051 or events@seward.com.

Shop Local on Saturday, Nov. 24!

Kick off the holiday season by showing some love to Seward’s local businesses! Join us as we celebrate Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24. 

Start at our welcome station for free swag!

Start your day at our welcome station inside Sweet Darlings (205 Fourth Ave) from 10 am – 2 pm. Order a warm drink, sample their new beverages on tap, and pick up a free canvas tote bag (available to the first 200 shoppers). Then grab a Shop Small bingo card—enter to win great prizes by visiting participating businesses—and head out to shop!

Participating stores and restaurants will be ready with a variety of special treats and discounts. You’ll find sweet deals all across town, from our historic downtown to the harbor and beyond!  

Enjoy special promotions from the following small businesses.

DOWNTOWN

A Flyin’ Skein 
20% off storewide. Open 11 am–6 pm. 

Alaska SeaLife Center
10% off reusable water bottles. Open 12–5 pm.

Brown & Hawkins Mercantile 
50% off select items. Santa pictures with SOS Pets from 11-4. Rise bAKed goods. Free tea, cider, and butter cookies all day. Open 9 am–7 pm. 

Frontier Trading Post
Free 12 oz latte with $50 or greater purchase. Open 9 am–5 pm.

Ranting Raven Gallery
Closeout sale on clothing and select jewelry. Open 10 am–6 pm.

Resurrect Art Coffee House
25% off Rez Art merchandise (hydroflasks, hoodies, ceramic mugs). Open 7 am–5 pm.

Sew’n Bee Cozy 
25% off all regular price fabrics. 10% off clearance. Open 10 am–6 pm.

Sweet Darlings
Buy two, get one half-off packaged items (popcorn, fudge, peanut brittle, bark, and taffy). Open 10 am–6 pm.

The Retreat Day Spa & Salon
20% off all retail. Open 10 am–5 pm.

Ukanuzit 
50% off all dresses and coats. Open 10 am–4 pm.

Urbach’s 
30% off storewide. Open 9 am–6 pm.

HARBOR

Breeze Inn
Kids 12 and under eat free. 10% off stays booked on Small Business Saturday. Open 7 am–10 pm.

Chinooks
$5 appetizer special. Open 12–9 pm.

Harbor 360 Hotel Gift Shop
$2 coffee drinks of any size. Buy one get one free keychains and 5×7″ stickers. Buy one get one free $10 t-shirt bin. Open 24/7. 

SEWARD HIGHWAY

LuLaRoe Amanda Hughes
Open House from 10am-2pm at 33194 Peace Avenue
Gift Boxes for the first 20 customers! All leggings are buy 3 get 1 free. 40-60% off select items. Door prizes, coffee, cocoa, and yummy treats!

CALL FOR DEALS

Ascent Wellness Alaska
15% all wellness services booked on Small Business Saturday. Book by calling at 907.500.8415.

Seward Ocean Excursions 
15% all trips booked on Small Business Saturday. Book by calling at 907.599.0499. 

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If you’re a business with a question about participating, please contact Elizabeth Hashem at the Seward Chamber of Commerce: events@seward.com or 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.

Seward Tops List of “Most Instagram-Worthy Destinations” in the U.S.

Seward is a photographer’s dream, with towering fjords, dramatic glaciers, rugged coastline and incredible wildlife. So we were thrilled (but not surprised) to see our coastal town top this recent list of the “8 Most Instagram-Worthy Destinations in the United States.”

The scenery surrounding Seward is so stunning it doesn’t seem real. But, oh, it’s as real as ever. Located on a fjord of the Gulf of Alaska called Resurrection Bay, this city is one of the most beautiful in America and was made for Instagram. Have your camera at the ready when you hike through the thick forests of Two Lakes Trail. Trade the woods for the water with a day tour of the gulf, courtesy of Alaska Dream Charters (look out for orcas). If boats aren’t your thing, hop in the car and drive the Kenai Peninsula via Alaska Route 1.

Check out the full list here. Thanks to CarRentals.com for the recognition! 

Feature image: Joel Krahn

 

Join Us For The Seward Music and Arts Festival Oct. 5th-7th!

We are delighted to welcome back the Seward Music and Arts Festival! A favorite celebration of music, creativity, and community returns October 5th-7th. Great tunes, tasty local food, family activities, and artisan craft vendors all come together for the perfect showcase of this seaside town’s deep love of the arts. 

SMAF logo design by artist Rob Ammerman

Now Playing!

This festival is known for an eclectic lineup that has entertainers from a wide variety of genres. There is sure to be something to get everyone dancing, no matter your taste!

Seward band Blackwater Railroad owning the stage at SMAF 2017. Photo credit: @flynnfotography

SMAF begins the evening of Friday, October 5th at 5pm with a dedication to Rockwell Kent, the artist who inspired the “Wilderness” theme of this year’s festival. Following that, the show begins! 

Over the full weekend more than 20 music and performance artists will take the stage. Prepare yourself for some mesmerizing dance moves, enchanting costumes, and immersive art. Get your dancing shoes ready for swingin’ jazz and foot-stompin’ folk. Sweet bluegrass tunes will be mixed in with psychedelic jams, funk, and alternative rock. We are not kidding when we say there is something for everyone – you might even discover a new favorite!

Music will go on late into the evening on Friday and Saturday night with the final artists starting their sets after 11pm. On Sunday the final act goes on at 4, closing out the festival. For a detailed list of artists and set times, check out the SMAF website here.

More than Great Music

Wondering what to do in between sets? SMAF offers a great variety of activities for the whole family:

  • Treat your taste buds to some festival fare including decadent smoked fish spreads, fresh baked goods, mouthwatering spinach bread, and gourmet crepes – just a few of the many delectable options!

    A potential offering by Le Barn Apetit Creperie!
  • After sampling a tasty treat, enjoy a cold brew or glass of wine in the beer garden
  • Check out handmade pottery, jewelry, skincare, fine art, tie dye, and more as you browse the wares of Alaskan artists and artisan craft vendors
  • Get a henna (temporary!) tattoo from the henna artist booth 
  • Visit the Kid’s Area for a fun open play place where the kids can get in the creative spirit. On Saturday the space will be hosted by the Boys & Girls Club with art supplies and additional activities!

SMAF Train – Arrive in Style

The Alaska Railroad is currently offering a can’t-miss package for round-trip travel to SMAF. Departing from Anchorage in the morning, you’ll arrive in Seward just in time for the beginning of the festivities on Saturday. After a full weekend, you’ll head back to Anchorage late Sunday afternoon. 

Not only will you get treated to the gorgeous fall views of the Kenai Peninsula, you’ll have on board entertainment on both legs of your journey. With her breathtaking vocals, Emma Hill will get you feeling inspired to have a weekend filled with amazing performances. On the way back up to Anchorage, Syran will end your Sunday with a unique blend of folk/rock paired with heartfelt lyrics. 

The ticket price of $125 includes your round-trip fare, live music on the train, and entry to the festival on Saturday and Sunday. Besides that, you’ll benefit from free shuttle service around Seward for the weekend along with free Alaska Railroad depot parking. 

This is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up! Book your train tickets here.

Catch fall views like this on the SMAF train! Photo credit: Alaska Railroad

Maximize Your Visit!

Seward is one of the greatest playgrounds Alaska has to offer – you’ll want to take full advantage of this incredible place while you’re here for the weekend. If you need a little change of pace from festival festivities, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you:

  • First things first – energize your morning with an expertly poured cup of coffee from Resurrect Art Coffee House or Frontier Trading Post
  • Fuel up with a hearty breakfast from The Smokeshack or The Breeze Inn
  • Take a scenic cruise in Resurrection Bay! Major Marine Tours is offering a 20% discount for SMAF attendees on their 3.5 hour Wildlife Cruise 
  • Get up close and personal with local wildlife at the Alaska SeaLife Center
  • Walk our Historic Downtown District to visit local shops and galleries
  • The waterfront bike/walking path is a wonderful way to stretch your legs! Watch for wildlife and look for the glaciers peeking out of the mountains

October is a beautiful time of year to find yourself in Seward. Our Music and Arts Festival is such a lively celebration of the creativity that makes this community shine. We hope to see you there!

Join us for the Silver Salmon Derby Aug. 11-19!

The Silvers Are Back!

We’re thrilled to announce that the silver salmon have returned to Resurrection Bay, just in time for the 63rd annual Silver Salmon Derby! This year the Derby begins Saturday, Aug. 11 at 6 am, and runs until Sunday, Aug. 19 at noon. 

Anglers are reporting taking limits both in the outer islands of the bay, and the fishing spots closer to the head of the bay. Across the board, we’re hearing that this year’s returning class is full of big coho! There are plenty of fish to go around, so don’t miss your chance to land some fresh, bright silver salmon! 

Many Ways to Win

We’ve got loads of prizes, including tagged fish (up to $50,000 cash!), prizes for the top 20 heaviest fish overall (up to $10,00 cash!), daily prizes for heaviest fish and random weights, and more! 

Proceeds from the fish buy-back program support our smolt rearing program, in partnership with Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. 

Ticket Info

Daily tickets are $10, or fish all nine days for $50. Purchase your tickets at the Derby booth (across from the Harbormaster’s office near B dock) or The Fish House (1303 Fourth Ave). 

Special thanks to our most generous partners for making this great summer tradition possible!

Visit salmon.seward.com for more info on rules, prizes, and partners.

Follow us on Facebook for daily fishing updates and photos!

Fish on!

 

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.