The BuyAlaska Buzz
A Note from the Executive Sponsor
With the new year comes new optimism about Alaska's economic future! As vaccines start to be deployed across the state (by dog sled in some rural communities) and Congress approving a last minute federal relief package, Alaska is heading into 2021 with a lot to be happy about. I don't know about you, but I think it's nice to have the new year start with a clean slate and some happy news.

Most of the programs and funding in the new relief bill will take some time to get up and running, but the stimulus payments to eligible individuals started hitting bank accounts on January 1st. While many people will need this funding to pay bills and other necessary expenses, I hope that those of you who can afford to will spend some of that money locally at your favorite small businesses. Get some take out, buy that new pair of jogging shoes, or just get some gift cards. Everything helps.

Businesses looking for assistance should keep an eye on the newly refunded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Congress has made changes that allow for businesses who received a PPP loan in the first round to get another PPP. If your business is in the 72 NAICS code category (Accommodation and Food Services) you are eligible for additional PPP funding. There are also funds set aside for businesses in low-income neighborhoods.

BuyAlaska was proud to support local businesses across the state in 2020 with the help of over 30 partner organizations and hundreds of locally owned small businesses. Our holiday gift guide was a fantastic resource that helped Alaskans find and support businesses across the state and our newly launched online business directory will continue that support past the holidays. I know that 2020 was rough for all of us, but I truly believe that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. As long as we continue to come together to support our friends and neighbors, I know that 2021 will a banner year for Alaska and our economy. 

Happy New Year to all of you from all of us here at BuyAlaska! 


Jon Bittner
Alaska SBDC Executive Director
Our Objective
BuyAlaska Partner Highlight
Seward Chamber of Commerce
Kat Sorenson, Director of Communications
The Seward Chamber of Commerce is a united voice championing for the businesses and community of Seward. Basic to all activities of the Chamber is its unifying influence. In serving on committees, coordinating events, and attending meetings, every Chamber member becomes involved in an organizational effort that is mutually beneficial to their community, their neighbors, and to themselves. Our membership, staff, and community work together to make Seward a better place to live, visit, work, play, and shop.

Our tight-knit community knows the importance of supporting small, locally owned businesses. From the marine trades to the tourism industry with a litany of everyday goods and services in between, Seward is home to a spectrum of businesses owned and operated by Alaskans. By supporting Seward businesses and those throughout Alaska, our community grows stronger and more independent. The Seward Chamber of Commerce knows that buying local is an investment directly into our economy and makes us more resilient. 

And the best part? In a small town like Seward, when you buy local, you’re supporting a friend or neighbor, pairing your purchase with a story and a sense of community pride.

The Chamber works to support local businesses through annual events, membership meetings and luncheons, learning and marketing opportunities, and networking events. When you join the Chamber, you are hiring extra staff; you hire a business advisor, a marketing team, public relations liaison, business broker, information coordinator, and more to assist your business.
In Business for Alaska Businesses
The New BuyAlaska Member's Page
The BuyAlaska website now has a members page where you can find links to our discount programs and business resources. *Important Information* Current members that have not signed in to the new page yet, please reset your password on the login page with the email address you used to sign up.
The BuyAlaska Statewide Directory is Here!
We are very excited to announce that the BuyAlaska directory and events listing page are up and running! If you are a business owner, visit our website and create a listing for your business. By creating your listing, you can fill in all the information that potential customers need to know in order to find and purchase from your business. Visit the member's page to create your listing today!
Small Business Development Workshops are FREE until March 31!
SBDC workshops are free until March 31! Visit AK SBDC's workshop page and take advantage of the incredible library of business resources. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to boost your business skills for FREE!
BuyAlaska Champions
Edible Alaska Winter 2020 'The Drinks Issue'
Amy O’Neill Houck and Jeremy Pataky
Edible Alaska is a quarterly print magazine dedicated to Alaska’s statewide local food movement. We advocate for a strong local food economy while exploring Alaska’s rich culinary and cultural landscape. Edible Alaska exists because of Alaska’s local economy—the magazine is supported by our advertising partners and readers like you.

Alaskans’ passion for all things local doesn’t stop with food. We like to drink local, too. The recipe-filled current Winter 2020 issue of the magazine is The Drinks Issue. Throughout the past turbulent months, our contributors and partners rallied, making this our biggest issue of a challenging year. Alaska appears ready for a little celebration as we sail away from 2020. 

In this rich issue, we celebrate the delicious beverages the state has to offer. Breweries and distilleries have proliferated like mad here in recent years, placing Alaska squarely on the national drinks map. Alaskans also love their coffee—Juneau and Anchorage rank first and second in the nation for the most coffee shops per capita. We profile two local micro-roasters in what is the beginning of an ongoing series. We also examine the state’s farm to bottle movement—did you know that most of Alaska’s wonderful distilleries use local ingredients? We also are pleased to feature mocktail recipes and wellness tips from Recover Alaska and Bartlett Regional Hospital, as well as columnist Julia O’Malley’s alcohol-free Party Basement Punch.  

Many recipes in The Drinks Issue use Alaska-produced beverages as ingredients or pairings, including Cardamom Black Tea-Rubbed Pork Chops by Jenny Tse of Sipping Streams Tea Company in Fairbanks, chef Lindsay Kucera’s Port Chilkoot Sazerac Spice Cake, and 49th State Brewing Company’s own Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe (spoiler: their secret ingredients come from The Spice & Tea Exchange). Nancy Alip and Alyse Staley of Jens’ Restaurant developed a delicious Kombucha-Brined Pork Chop recipe featuring kombucha from their neighborhood producer, Zip Kombucha

Find all this and more in the current issue, along with inspiration and ideas for sourcing another season of food and drink here at home, where our dollars go the extra Alaska-sized mile, making the rounds and spreading the #BuyAlaska love. Read articles and recipes from the magazine and learn where to find a copy or subscribe at
I Love Chugiak-Eagle River Boxes
The I Love Chugiak-Eagle River Boxes were made possible by the collaboration of BuyAlaska and the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce. 100 boxes will be available through pre-sales and for purchase directly at participating businesses in the Chugiak-Eagle River area! When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our Community was just making headway from the November 30th, 2018 Cook Inlet Earthquake devastation. With the continued difficulties we are facing, it is our intention to continue to support those in need as best we can! The boxes will provide funds into the local economy this holiday season and bring joy to many! Thank you for your support. Click here to purchase a box.
The Anchorage Gig Economy Network
The Anchorage Gig Economy Network “AGEN”, formed by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program, is for those that share a common interest in the future of the new Gig Economy and how it is impacted by the Anchorage business community. All gig workers are welcomed. This includes app-based workers, freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, professional service sector, and the like, working and living in Anchorage. It is about more than just Uber and Lyft. It is a sounding board for anything relating to the Gig Economy. AGEN’s mission is to advance opportunities for gig workers and expand Anchorage’s workforce prospects, allowing individuals to work, play, and live in our city.
AGEN does this by:
  • Creating a space for gig workers to connect and share lessons learned, challenges, and solutions
  • Allowing the chamber to be more educated with gig economy business needs
  • Igniting advocacy on issues that improve the rights and benefits of the gig economy

To learn more please visit The Anchorage Gig Economy Network webpage
The AGEN "What's Your Gig" Fast Pitch Competition
BuyAlaska proudly partnered with the Anchorage Gig Economy Network in the “What’s Your Gig” fast pitch competition. Participants were given 60 seconds to share a speed pitch or testimonial about their gig.

1st place of the fastpitch contest received the Manufacturing Your Online Market 3-part workshop series by the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

2nd and 3rd place won $300 and $200 credit respectively towards any of the Alaska Small Business Development Center workshops and webinars.

Read about the participating contestants below!
Amber Johnson Photography - 1st Place
As a professional commercial photographer, I’m inspired by the challenge of creating images in diverse situations and environments whether I’m photographing fast-paced events, outdoor business portraits at zero degrees, or on an industrial job site. Each photoshoot is unique. Collaborating with clients to provide images that are both creative and authentic to the subject and their story is important.
Design Cheeeese - 2nd Place
Design Cheeeese is a freelance based video production company specializing in Motion Graphics that is equipped to scale up as per the client’s needs all because of a freelance network. The owner, Jessica Weiss Thomas has been a motion designer for over 14 years. She has worked on all kinds of projects, commercials for RedBull and Coca-cola, Netflix documentaries, and won 5 South East Emmys, and does work for Alaskan clients, including the One Alaska campaign of 2020. Thomas is an Alaskan-born motion designer currently living and working in Anchorage taking on clients.
Aurora National Insurance - 3rd Place
Aurora National Insurance is an independent insurance agency, representing multiple companies saving you time and money. We shop the top-rated insurance companies in Alaska so you can have the best pricing and coverage. 
We can insure just about anyone, any property, and any business. With choices you’ll love, our licensed agents will help you navigate your insurance options and provide you with the expert consultation that only we can provide.
Because we live where you do, we understand the unique risks and needs you face with your insurance needs. We’ll help you find the right coverage for your situation.
Estuary Arts
Estuary Arts celebrates life in the Last Frontier with paintings of northern light, land, and life from Amanda Thompson and innovative art education solutions. Custom art prints can be ordered at Amanda's gallery site,, as well as commissions for originals of favorite landscapes, pets, and portraits.
Learn more about Estuary Art's Alaskan art and design education initiatives at
Savvy Lain Strategies
Digital marketing services helping businesses with SEO (search engine optimization), Social Marketing, Digital Ads (Google, Facebook, Instagram), Reputation, and Listings Management all from a single dashboard. Our goal is to make marketing affordable to smaller businesses and help businesses grow. | | 501-563-7848
Brown's Close
Brown’s Close is a place for navel gazers, general ponderers, and cloud watchers. If you enjoy a wry, irreverent take on the world around you, then Sarah’s website is for you. A freelance author and humorist, Sarah’s work has appeared in USA Today, The Practice of Writing, and The Maine Review. She is a regular contributor to The Alaska Journal of Commerce. Follow Sarah at, on Facebook at Brown’s Close, and on Twitter @BrownsClose1.
Anchorage re:MADE
Anchorage re:MADE offers neighbors, artists, and volunteers a retail location to remake donated items that otherwise would have gone to the landfill. We empower entrepreneurs to reach their dreams of business ownership by educating and coaching, providing a support system, and helping them find and grow their talents and skills.
Katari Creative
Katari Creative is a B2B digital marketing agency that focuses on building your brand's message to create online communities—especially for small businesses and agencies. With the global digital shift we saw in 2020, knowing how to connect with your audiences authentically online is more important now than ever. Find out more at
Lyle Tax Services, Inc.
If you’re looking for a firm that will focus on your individual needs, and always treat you like a client who matters, look no further. Our firm is large enough to offer a full range of professional services but small enough to give you the individual attention that you deserve. We will thoroughly and conscientiously study your personal situation, and tailor our advice to your specific needs.
How to Get Involved with BuyAlaska
BuyAlaska is a multi-stakeholder initiative housed by the Alaska Small Business Development Center. We welcome all input in finding ways to elevate our economy. 

Sign up as a member on and we’ll email you when we have news, updates, and opportunities to support local businesses. Share the link with your networks and help us get ‘The Buzz’ out about the benefits of buying local!

Alaska’s small businesses deserve a lot of love and we want to share with the world how great they are. Follow us on BuyAlaska social media channels and get in on the conversation.
BuyAlaska Partners
The BuyAlaska Program is a multi-stakeholder and statewide initiative housed by the Alaska Small Business Development Center (Alaska SBDC) under the UAA Business Enterprise Institute (BEI) and partially funded by the Small Business Administration (SBA)