Inside Alaska Business
Northrim Bank
A new loan production office extends Northrim Bank’s services in Homer. The office at 601 E. Pioneer Avenue, Suite 209, provides loan information and applications. The office is staffed by Jennifer McLay, a former city council member in Kachemak and a thirty-year veteran of the Alaska financial industry. She started working for Northrim in April. Northrim Chairman and CEO Joe Schierhorn says he is pleased to welcome McLay to the company and to expand into a new market.
Three Bears Alaska
The Wasilla-based supermarket chain Three Bears Alaska now has an outpost in Southeast. Company owner David Weisz used giant scissors to cut the ribbon on the new location in Saxman, just outside of Ketchikan. The only place to buy groceries south of Ketchikan city limits, the new Three Bears fills the retail gap left by the destruction of Tatsuda’s IGA Fresh Market by a landslide in 2020. The store has an attached ACE Hardware. It’s the chain’s eleventh Alaska store, plus ten smaller convenience stores, and a location in Butte, Montana.
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Nationwide sandwich chain Jersey Mike’s Subs opened its first Alaska location in Wasilla, preceding South Anchorage and Eagle River shops throughout the summer. The line of new customers at the grand opening, heading into Memorial Day weekend, was out the door during lunch hour, wrapping around the building, yet more than thirty staff on duty kept the line moving steadily. The franchise at 1451 E. Parks Highway, near the shore of Wasilla Lake, is owned by Fred Rosenberg, whose Gourmet Ventures, Inc. operates Red Robin restaurants as well. Jersey Mike’s Subs now has franchises in all fifty states, with more than 2,500 locations nationwide.
HighGold | CIRI
Advanced exploration is returning to the site of a proposed underground gold mine near the foot of Mt. Iliamna. Vancouver-based HighGold contracted for work this season at Johnson Tract, a prospect on a 20,000-acre parcel owned by Cook Inlet Region, Inc. inside Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Plans for a mine have been in the works since the ‘80s, but with no way to move ore out, the project sat idle for twenty-five years. HighGold wants to build a road to an airstrip, which would facilitate underground exploration as early as 2025. |
Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative
As internet connectivity expands in Alaska, so are the variety of service plans. Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative (ASTAC) is offering what it calls Unlimited Internet to members, lowering plan rates, and releasing more affordable plans for elders. ASTAC’s Unlimited Internet eliminates data caps, speed throttling, or additional charges for exceeding allocated bandwidth. “Our team is dedicated to bringing our membership a Top of the World connection and leading the way in unlimited and fiber services,” says ASTAC senior customer experience manager Ashlee Bobbitt.
D&L Construction
A contractor on the Kenai Peninsula gets the $3.2 million job to replace a bridge at Sourdough Creek Campground north of Glennallen. The Federal Highway Administration – Western Federal Lands Highway Division awarded the contract to D&L Construction of Cooper Landing. The project replaces a 50-foot bridge rated for reduced loads with an expanded 90-foot bridge to accommodate heavier vehicles. Completion of the new bridge is expected this fall. Work includes improved public access to the federal campground’s forty-two camp sites, interpretive trail, and boat launch. Funding is provided by the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law in 2020. D&L Construction has been operating out of Cooper Landing and Soldotna since 1985.
Alaska Regional Hospital
Reviving a request from 2015, Alaska Regional Hospital is asking state regulators to approve a stand-alone emergency department in South Anchorage. The proposed $18 million facility with a dozen beds would be the first of its kind in Alaska, separate from its parent hospital. The state health department turned down Alaska Regional’s previous “certificate of need” request for similar facilities in South Anchorage and Eagle River, instead approving the addition of thirteen emergency beds at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Freestanding ERs have been criticized as more expensive than hospital ERs or urgent care clinics.
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