Two local businesses are among a dozen finalists chosen in the annual Path to Prosperity business development competition. They are the Beaver Brothers Trading Co. in Craig, and Ketchikan-based Exiting Eden Tannery.
Beaver Brothers in Craig was started in 2017 by Edward McCarthy, Shaun Owen and Quinn Aboudara. It offers handcrafted products by area artists and craftspeople.
According to the business’ website, which is still under construction, the three co-founders decided to create the business “after a night of successful trapping, and the drinking of much Jameson Irish Whiskey.”
The business started with fur products, and has expanded to hand-forged knives and other items.
The Ketchikan tannery is owned by Richard Harney. In an email, he said he’s been operating a taxidermy business for a few years. Harney writes that he was approached by an Alaska Native hunter and craftsperson who asked whether he could tan sea otter hides.
Harney says he did some research, and wants to offer that service locally to encourage other Alaska Native hunters to harvest otters, which are increasing in numbers. He says the cost of sending hides Outside for tanning is prohibitive. In addition to otters, Harney writes that he would offer tanning services for seal and other fur-bearing animals.
Other finalists in the Path to Prosperity competition are Mud Bay Lumber in Haines; a Juneau composting company; The Farm in Juneau; Blue Drum Farms in Petersburg; Petersburg Marine; Timberworks in Sitka; Ebb and Flow in Sitka; Tenakee Logging Co.; Gathered and Grown Botanicals in Wrangell, and Yakutat Sustainable.
All finalists will participate in a three-day business boot camp this fall in Juneau. They also will have access to consultants and mentors. Finalists must submit formal business plans by early December. A panel of judges then will select two winners.
Those winners each receive $25,000 for consulting and technical services.
This is the sixth year of the Path to Prosperity competition, which aims to support new or growing small businesses in Southeast Alaska, especially those that implement sustainable practices.
Path to Prosperity is a partnership between Spruce Root, Inc. and The Nature Conservancy. Below are links to the Craig and Ketchikan finalists’ websites.