May 2021
A Note from the Executive Sponsor
We have a lot of news to share this month on the BuyAlaska front! First off, we are absolutely thrilled to announce our partnership with Royal Caribbean Group and to create an online Alaskan product marketplace that will be promoted to all of the people outside the state who had planned to come to Alaska this summer but can't. We couldn't be happier to be able to help local businesses promote and sell their products in these difficult times.

Why are these kinds of buy local efforts so important? We asked the UAA Center for Economic Development that same question and the data they came up with was amazing! Not only does significantly more money stay in the Alaskan economy when you shop local, but the number of jobs that are created by local small businesses is also amazing as well. Check out the data below and see for yourself why buying local is always the best option. 

I hope that all of you are as excited as I am about getting out to explore Alaska this summer. From fishing trips on the Kenai, to hot springs in Fairbanks to exploring Utqiagvik, the northernmost community in America, I'm hoping to cross all the things off my bucket list this year. There's never been a better time to explore your home state and support the local businesses that help make it such a great place to live!


Jon Bittner
Alaska SBDC Executive Director
BuyAlaska Partner Highlight
University of Alaska Center for Economic Development
At the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development, our team loves local shops and products. Some swear by Alpine Fit’s merino tops, while others are devotees of all things Alaska Salt Co. We’re loading up on summer reading from Title Wave and already planning dinner menus around anticipated farmers market finds.

Not only do we love the quality products, expert insight, and thoughtful service, for every dollar spent at a local business, 63 cents stays in Alaska compared to an estimated 22 cents at non-local businesses. That’s three times the impact on the economy when you choose to shop local! (More on this below)

This finding comes from our recently released report, Buy Local: The Impact of Spending at Local Businesses in Alaska. The report is an example of the kind of work our applied research team does - we focus our analysis on actionable recommendations and strategy to support economic growth in Alaska. Other analysis includes COVID-19 Impacts on Alaska’s Economy, Alaska: State of Entrepreneurship, and Economic Impacts of the Military in Alaska.

Our entrepreneur development team supports early-stage founders, and manages the Upstart Alpha Startup Accelerator along with offering workshops, sprints, and coaching. We also lead Alaska Startups and volunteer as organizers for 1 Million Cups.

UACED is a program of the University of Alaska Anchorage Business Enterprise Institute, part of the ARCTIC Program, and is one of more than 50 University Centers designated by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. 

We’re proud to be a supporter of BuyAlaska!
In Business for Alaska Businesses
Center for Economic Development Quantifies Benefits of Shopping Small
This year, the BuyAlaska program partnered up with the UA Center for Economic development to quantify the impact of a $20 per week shift in household spending to Alaskan-owned businesses.

The state’s supply chain, the revenue distribution of local businesses compared to non-local businesses, and the economic impact of spending at local businesses on local jobs and wages were all assessed.

It was found that three times more value is retained in Alaska when consumers shop at local businesses than when they spend at non-local big box stores and chain restaurants. For every dollar spent at local businesses, an estimated 63 cents stay in Alaska.
Royal Caribbean Group Announces Support for Shop Local Alaska -
an Initiative by BuyAlaska and
Thriving small businesses in Alaska means good business for Alaska travel suppliers. As small businesses in Alaska face another season crippled by the loss of 1.3 million visitors to the state by cruise lines, Royal Caribbean Group has agreed to raise awareness of Alaskan-owned businesses in port towns that are struggling to survive.

Shop Local Alaska will be marketed to guests of the company’s cruise lines — Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises — around the globe. They will be able to browse virtual Alaskan stores and buy with confidence on during this period when ships are not able to take them there.

“Travel brings people together. We are thrilled to support the Shop Local Alaska campaign. It is a small way for our cruise lines and guests to stay connected to Alaska until our ships return to sail to the 49th state," said Wendy Lindskoog, associate vice president, Government Relations for Royal Caribbean Group.

Royal Caribbean Group is the first major travel supplier to hop on board with the Shop Local Alaska program in support of keeping Alaska’s small businesses open for when cruise visitors return to Alaska.

The Shop Local Alaska program will be marketed directly to consumers out of the state; however, the website exists as a resource for anyone who is looking to shop and support Alaska businesses.
BuyAlaska Wants to Feature Your Business on Social Media
As a BuyAlaska member, we want to connect customers to your Alaskan-owned businesses. We often post about our members, highlighting industries and businesses across Alaska.

Please provide your permission/release below and we will curate a social media post about your business to our statewide audience.

Don’t forget to like, follow, and share BuyAlaska from your business page, too!
BuyAlaska Champions
ATIA Accepting Travel Specials for Show Up for Alaska Campaign
The Alaska Travel Industry Association is launching the Show Up for Alaska campaign once again this summer and ATIA is accepting travel specials from businesses.

To list a travel special is $25 for 30 days and will run on Questions can contact

In addition to resident specials, the Show Up For Alaska page is full of trip ideas and helpful resources to plan your next staycation.
Spruce Root Path to Prosperity Competition Sprouts Regenerative Tourism Businesses in Southeast Alaska
Path to Prosperity is an annual business development competition for businesses with a positive economic, environmental, and community impact on Southeast Alaska. Businesses are judged based on their feasibility and their contributions to community development.
This year’s competition cycle is open to tourism-related businesses or start-ups operating in Southeast Alaska. In an effort to promote sustainable and regenerative tourism in our region, Spruce Root will prioritize applicants that uplift their environments and communities by modeling their business operations in a way that benefits people, planet, and place.

“Regenerative Tourism is a holistic approach to tourism that proactively works to improve ecosystems, elevate local economies, and promote meaningful and responsible visitor experiences. Authentic local representation, deep community involvement, and practical and innovative steps for conserving and enhancing the environment are central to this approach. Regenerative Tourism reveals how the industry can protect, enable, and grow strategies that benefit communities, cultures, and ecosystems of Southeast Alaska.” - Sustainable Southeast Partnership

For each competition cycle, up to twelve finalists will participate in an intensive business Business Boot Camp and two winning entrepreneurs will receive awards of $25,000 to grow their businesses. Program awards can be used for consulting, technical assistance, and long-term capital expenditures. 

Spruce Root has 2 upcoming information sessions: Tuesday, May 4th at 12pm or Monday, on May 11th from 5-6pm. The link for the event is here.

Applications close at 11:59 PM on May 31, 2021. For more information, view competition details.
Shop Seward Program a Success for Local Business Support
The Seward Chamber of Commerce has reported that its Shop Seward CARES Act fund program proved a tremendous success for area businesses and nonprofits.

Over 200 households participated in the program, each spending over $200 on participating businesses, which granted them another $100 in vouchers to be further redeemed in $25 increments at the businesses or nonprofits of their choice.

Over a six-day period that included Valentine’s Day weekend, shoppers spent more than $42,000 locally, resulting in 836 vouchers distributed among three local nonprofits and 31 businesses, totaling an additional $20,175 for businesses and $850 in nonprofit donations.
What You Can Do
  • The #1 thing you can do is to think local first!

  • Sign up as a member on and we’ll email you when we have news, updates, and opportunities to support local businesses.

  • Submit a photo release and we will feature your business on social media

  • The mission of BuyAlaska is to promote and elevate local businesses to better Alaska’s economy. We do that with YOU. Please like, follow, share, and most importantly, interact with us.
Interested in providing discounts to other BuyAlaska members?

Give us the details and let's work together!

Promotional items are available for FREE!

Visit the Members Page to find a pickup location.
About BuyAlaska
BuyAlaska is a multi-stakeholder initiative housed by the AK Small Business Development Center
We work with the following organizations to find ways to elevate our economy.

BuyAlaska is a collaborative program that supports businesses statewide and welcomes all ideas for supporting Alaskan-owned businesses. Email us with any questions at
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)