I may earn income from affiliate links or partnerships in this post. *Only travel when it is safe to do so and you are not putting your destination or home country at risk. Some recommended tours, businesses, hotels, and excursions may be closed at this time. Please do independent research.
When I talk about my home state, Alaska, you’ll often hear me gushing about the women there. How they are strong, resilient, and can do any of the stereotypically male-dominated jobs out there just as well – if not better than men. In fact, this is one of the things that I miss most about Alaska. On my most recent trip home, I took a cruise with a female captain and then rode the train with a female POC conductor running the train. Women in Alaska are outdoorsy and athletic – gutting fish, going hunting, building houses, chopping wood, flying planes, all while leading daring and bold lives. The women in Alaska are creative, crafty and smart, and producing wonderful art. In fact, Alaska leads the nation in women-owned firms. Because the women in Alaska have created ingenious businesses, I will be highlighting some of my favorite women-owned businesses that every tourist and local in Alaska should support. These women and their team are excited to show off their gorgeous home state to visitors and will make you feel right at home. Every dollar spent at one of these businesses supports the local Alaskan economy and the savvy female entrepreneurs that make it so great. As an added bonus you can leave Alaska with a truly unique memory or souvenir that is one of a kind, and definitely not made in China.
Founder Pamela Manderson has lived in Alaska since she was 3 and has a long history in the tourism industry. She previously worked in a job getting Alaskans out of Alaska and to someplace warm and sunny. Unsatisfied with that career, she changed gears and ended up on a path that allowed her to start Alaska Private Touring. Her tour company caters to visitors seeking an in-depth, guided visit to Alaska, but away from the crowds and typical ‘bus’ tours. Each of their itineraries is custom designed with guests’ specific interests in mind. Whether they are traveling independently, with their significant other, or with the entire family – their specialty is to create the ideal Alaskan experience that they will always remember. They like to refer to themselves as ‘Alaskans selling Alaska,’ and it’s what sets them apart from other companies. They would be a great choice for the solo female traveler, a couple, a family group, or work colleagues.
Pamela’s works with a team of 5 female travel designers who know Alaska like the back of their hand. Pamela says,
It’s not particularly intentional that our travel designer team consists entirely of women, but it definitely works for us. I can’t tell you how much I value the women I work with – I couldn’t do this without them and I work very hard to make sure they know how much they are appreciated. I’ve always been a believer that my first priority is taking care of my team, and they will, in turn, take care of our clients.
Talk about ultimate female power! When Pamela isn’t busy creating dream Alaskan vacations, she’s busy being a super-mom to two kids. With the support of her loving husband and amazing tour guides, she rarely misses baseball or soccer games even during peak season!
I loved emailing with Monica, or MOMica, as she is known at Adventure 60 North, but don’t let the mom part fool you she is as tough as nails and the true embodiment of an all Alaskan savvy businesswoman. Adventure 60 North is a kayak and adventure company out of Seward, Alaska and they are the only company operating during shoulder seasons in winter. Can I get a hell yeah, from those who like to travel as I do? Offseason and away from the crowds. A60 is a small company and they want to stay that way, focusing on an intimate experience in Alaska and connecting and supporting the local Seward community.
Monica runs the business with Rick, who had been headhunting her for over a year to go into business together. She started as the general manager and quickly moved up to co-own the company. She says that being a woman co-owning a company she provides much-needed skills to keep the business profitable.
“We have a good balance. He is the idea man and I am at the Dasher of dreams – LOL. He worked hard to build A60 and it has been my job to finesse it and focus it into a profitable business. I enjoy being a female business owner in Alaska because Alaska has a long history of strong women, which means I haven’t faced some of the challenges of women in other states because strong female leads are taken seriously here in Seward. I am a pretty direct person and take charge automatically, so that may also have something do with it too.”
Aside from Monica keeping the business profitable, their lead kayak guide, Sunny, is a talented female leading kayak trips year round. Monica said that from time to time someone comes in and doesn’t deal well with having a female guide, but Rick and Monica put their foot down and say take it or leave it – with no refund. If you are thinking of booking a kayak trip to Seward this THE company to book through, you’ll be in good hands with Sunny and Monica.
I’ve toured Resurrection Bay in Seward on one of the larger charter sightseeing boats and the connection to nature was great, but I can only imagine what it is like on one of Seward Ocean Excursions small group tours. They take no more than 6 passengers on a Hewescraft 240 Alaskan boat and explore Resurrection Bay in an intimate setting. Co-owner and boat captain Krystin is what she describes as a do-it-all kind of woman. On top of having her captain’s license, she has a private pilot’s license and enjoys flying when she’s not on the water. It doesn’t end there, because she works as a professional engineer when she’s not helping run the boat business. Of course, like most super moms, she always makes time to play outside with her son and husband with whom she co-owns the company.
Aside from Captain Krystin, Seward Ocean Excursions also employs other female captains and just brought a new one on board. This makes them a great option for solo-female travelers, or anyone looking for a small group once in a lifetime tour of one of Alaska’s most beautiful places.
Salmon Berry Tours was started by Alaskan born and raised, female powerhouse Candice McDonald. Candice always knew she wanted to own her own business in Alaska and pursued her passions founding Salmon Berry Tours. Her business partner, Mandy Garcia joined the team first as a tour guide and worked her way up until Candice asked her to join forces. They now operate as a dynamic female duo and are making waves in Alaska’s tourism industry. Both Candice and Mandy are hard working mothers who are able to balance a successful business and quality family time.
Salmon Berry Tours operates year-round and specializes in locally-guided, small-group, all-inclusive, off-the-beaten-path day tours from Southcentral & Fairbanks Alaska, as well as curated multi-day packages across the entire state! Salmon Berry loves incorporating “hidden gems” that the large commercialized experience miss and they are able to do this by staffing seasonal and year-round local Alaskans like their glacier certified guide, Tiffany and incorporating the communities they visit with our guests. They have an exclusive partnership with the Alaska Native Heritage Center and have been invited by the Chickaloon Tribe to visit their site. They were the first small group tour company to offer winter tours from Anchorage — like their signature, pink vests say: “Alaska, always in season”!
Aside from providing authentic tours in Alaska, they are committed to going green by reducing their plastic use and often donate to women’s charities. Oh, and it gets better… they have a tour called No Man’s Land: Alaskan Wilderness for Women. So, ladies, break out your X-TraTufs and flannels because this is a tour you don’t want to miss!
The Mindful Marmot
Rachael Gordon, the owner of the Mindful Marmot grew up in Colorado with a love for the mountains, but she also loved the ocean. So she ventured to Costa Rica to get her yoga instructor’s license and ended up in Seward, Alaska a place where her love for mountains and the ocean met in perfect harmony. She now owns her own adventure and yoga company. She wants Alaskan nature to be accessible to everyone and offers custom adventures based on skill level. She leads guided hikes, outdoor retreats, land and sea tours, and even teams up with a helicopter company to lead remote yoga sessions in the wilderness. This is the perfect adventure for the solo female traveler as she is happy to take you out into the wilderness in a one-on-one tour or connect you with new friends for a group adventure.
My husband has his bachelor party in Talkeetna, yes it involved a lot of weed, booze, and of course rafting – not all at the same time though. They booked through Talkeetna River Guides and in no time a group of guys from around the world loaded up on a raft, where a female raft guide took charge and down the river. Not only does Talkeetna River Guides have female guides, but their owner Ashley Kaso is an inspiring female business owner.
Ashley was born in Connecticut and was often found wearing pearls, chinos, and polo shirts, so when the call to move to Alaska to be a river raft guide knocked on her door, she was hesitant. However, she traded her east coast posh for Alaskan wild and never turned back. She started as a river raft guide when Talkeetna River Guides was under the ownership of Margaret Salmon. She moved her way up becoming the general manager and eventually Margaret offered to sell the business to Ashley.
“I do my best to hire the people I feel most uphold our company values and often time guests will point out that we are a heavily female staffed company. My response is is that we always try to hire the best and it just so happens that the best applicants are female! It’s not something I regularly think about because a kick-ass female staff is just normal to us at T.R.G. It is pretty regular that on our 4 Hour Float Trip that our guests will come into the office raving about the strength of their female guide rowing a boat with eight people and a fierce head wind. So strong, independent, adventurous women is something that is an everyday experience at T.R.G.; we are very proud our girl power! “
Talkeetna River Guides offers daily scenic Natural History Float tours or custom options if you’re traveling with a group. They are perfect for families, groups of friends solo female travelers. This should be on everyone’s list when visiting Talkeetna as a train stop or on the way to Denali National Park.
Jordan and Llaura Reeves, the Gold Daughters themselves, have gold in their blood. They were born and raised in the golden heart of Alaska, Fairbanks, and were raised panning for gold. They opened Gold Daughters in 2014 to share their passion for gold panning with the rest of the world. The girls have a long history in Fairbanks and are dominating a male-dominated market, by simply being excellent at what they do.
Over the years, the community has seen our business flourish and we are proud to be the women calling the shots. In the beginning, many businesses that we worked with or customers were skeptical of our product because gold panning is not a typical profession for young women to aspire to. Not only have we proved our skill as prospectors, but as business women and as leaders. We strive to train and uplift our all female staff so they feel confident not only in their role at Gold Daughters, but outside of work as well.
A visit to the Gold Daughters will start with lessons from experts on how to pan for gold, you’ll then be set loose to try your own hand at panning. Gold isn’t the only thing you might find, as some people have walked away with woolly mammoth ivory and other precious gems. They practice the “finders keepers” motto and you get to take home everything you find. With Fairbanks’ long history with gold visiting the Gold Daughters should be on everyone’s to-do list in the golden heart of the state. Sometimes you just need to relax, pan for gold and enjoy your vacation!
Major Marine Tours get an honorable mention from me. They are a local family-owned business, which is impressive, but they also employ 3 female captains and a full sales and marketing team comprised of women. I was fortunate enough to take a boat tour with them into resurrection bay with a female captain, Nicole, a female First Mate, and a female Park Ranger. It was a flawless experience that my whole family loved! Major Marine is great for larger groups.
The Alaska Railroad also gets an honorable mention for employing female conductors, cabin managers and commentators they also staff POC crew members at every level. Now that is a company I can support!
The hottest piece of fashion in Alaska got a serious upgrade when two local Alaskan women got a hold of them and created Salmon Sisters. X-TraTuf boots are known as the official shoe of Alaska. People fish in them, hike in them, get married in them, wear them on dates, to the bar, and while doing yard work. There is no inappropriate time to wear these boots.
Two life long Alaskans, Emma Teal and Claire grew up on a homestead called Stonewall Place on the Aleutian Islands. Their family owns a fishery and X-TraTufs were basically part of their uniform. These two Alaskans have created unique, original designs that line the fishing boots, so when you roll down the top you reveal an awesome piece of fashion. The designs are inspired by Alaska and the ocean. When this power duo is not studying to finish a masters degree, they continue to fish for salmon and halibut and spend their winters running Salmon Sisters. These boots make a unique Alaskan gift or souvenir, and you can find them at stores like Big Rays in Anchorage, Salmon Sisters in Seward, their home store in Homer, or right next to Shirley’s Homemade Ice Cream on Main street in Talkeetna. I suggest buying them as soon as you land so you can blend in with the locals!
On top of the iconic fishing boots, Salmon Sisters also creates designs featured on a line of hoodies, leggings, and a variety of other things. For every boot purchased the sisters donate a can of Alaskan salmon to the local food bank.
Not only is Salmon Sisters an awesome local business you should support, but they, in turn, support local women including Iñupiat ambassador Cordelia Qigñaaq Kellie who also has a deep connection to fishing and subsistence lifestyle. Read about her ambassador program, here.
Oomingmak Musk-Ox Producer Co-Op
Oomingmak is a co-op conveniently located in Downtown Anchorage, but employes 250 Indigenous Alaskan women throughout the state. You’ll find luxurious hand knit Qiviut hats, scarves, and tunics. Qiviut is quite possibly the warmest (8x warmer than wool), softest and most lightweight material out there, and it comes from the local Alaskan Musk-Ox. The musk-ox shed their fur annually and women collect the fur and knit it into wonderful creations just for you. This process is a sustainable, ethical, and traditional art form. Each “traditional item” is 100% Qiviut and natural in color and each village has its own unique pattern and style. If you ask me, purchasing a traditional item from these women is the way to go, but if you want a more modern look they have a “tundra line” which is a silk Qiviut blend and dyed for a contrasting pattern.
The women are paid fair working wages and are allowed to knit as fast or as slow as they want. They pay a yearly membership fee which gives them access to the collective Qiviut and their copyright pattern for their village. They are paid once the work is completed and they can mail their designs to Anchorage or someone may visit the village once or twice a year and pick up the items.
You can’t go very far without seeing a girl in Alaska wearing an Alaska Chicks original design. These ultra comfortable and thick hoodies, hats, sweaters, and leggings are a fashion staple in the last frontier. Most of their designs are created and produced locally in Palmer for Alaska Chicks co., but you will find a few other Alaskan and national artists on display in their stores. The female owner behind Alaska Chicks loves fashion with a vintage twist and twice a year Alaska Chicks hosts a vintage market where they sell all the “trash” they have collected and recycled, upcycled and polished off to sell like new. This business is not only owned and managed by a woman, but they have a unique co-op style where they support other female-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Baby Store,owned by Victoria Kellie – a wonderful Indigenous Iñupiat and mother of two sons, is perfect for any traveling parent or grandparent looking to support a local Alaskan business. She purchased the store when it was a consignment shop 8 years ago and has transformed it into a natural parenting shop. She always makes an effort to bring renewable and reusable products to all mothers in an affordable and easy to use way. Victoria has a strong connection to our planet and Alaska and that shines through her efforts to help mothers live in harmony with the earth.
Victoria has also created a supportive network of mothers with similar principles in Alaska and her inspiration and impact reach throughout the state and beyond. She loves having visitors and wants to know if you are visiting from out of town to make sure you come and say hello. You can even order online to continue supporting this inspiring mother.
Mountain Mama Originals
I brought my Mountain Mama Original all the way to Munich with me, where it has been keeping my butt warm on weekend trips to the Alps. Not only are Susanna’s Mountain Mama Original designs practical, each and every piece is a work of art. Susanna started her business as an active mom who wanted something stylish and durable for outdoor women on the go. You can order her handcrafted creations online and have them shipped around the world, or you can find her throughout Alaska selling her fashion at the State Fair, or stop by her store in Soldotna, Alaska.
I love a business reppin’ my home town of Eagle River, Alaska, so of course, I have a ton of these HappyAK headbands. Sewn and created in Eagle River, these headbands feature designs created by local printing companies to embody Alaska, mountains, and the wild. They’re great for hiking, working out, or just keeping your hair out of the way while staying stylish. Every purchase goes to help the working mom behind the brand. You can the headbands online, or at any of Alaska’s festivals, fairs, and markets.
Did you know that Alaska has a rainforest? Well, if you are cruising through the panhandle then you probably got the memo. A rainy and wild place, like southeast Alaska, is home of Ebb n Flow ower Iris and her family. She is fighting fast fashion with hand-sewn creations that keep your legs dry on any adventure in the wilderness. These stylish and practical skirts are a must for anyone who lives in a rainy climate, like Alaska or the pacific northwest – and they go great with a pair of Salmon Sister. Order one of these soft shell skirts online or find her at various events in the southeast, and at small local stores like Lee’s Clothing in Petersburg and Nugget Outfitters in Juneau.
Owned by a 3rd generation Alaskan woman, Marci, the AK Starfish Co. was probably the first Alaskan inspired clothing line to blow up, starting a trend in Alaskan fashion. You can take home the iconic starfish design that is recognized throughout Alaska on a hoodie, dress, hat, water bottle, shirts and much more. You can find AK starfish stores in Anchorage, Homer, and Seward.
Owned by a traveler, free diver, earth-conscious, and creative Anchorage local, Shara, Octopus Ink was born from experimenting with clay and screen printing. These ocean-inspired designs feature many of the critters you’ll find in Alaskan oceans, including halibut, jellyfish, whales and more. Aside from Shara’s original creations, you’ll find a bevy of local Alaskan creations in the storefront on the corner of G and 4th in downtown Anchorage.
Dana Stabenow was born and raised in Alaska and attended university at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has published many books that take place in or are inspired by Alaska, such as the Liam Campbell and Kate Shugak series. Her book in the Kate Shugak series A Cold Day for Murder, won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original in 1993 and she was named the Alaskan artist of the year in 2007.
Read Two Old Women, a story by Alaskan Indigenous female author Velma Wallis. This story has been passed down through her family for generations and follows 2 older, sassy Alaskan women on a harrowing adventure after they abandoned their village during a winter famine.
Ada Blackjack tells a story inspired by the diary and journal of an Alaskan Indigenous woman who joined an adventuring party as a seamstress. 6 people went into the Arctic and only one, Ada returned. While the author is not Alaskan the story is based on an Alaskan’s dairy. These are the types of women we need to write back into history.
Eowyn Ivey is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Alaskan author. Don’t miss her books about Alaska called The Snow Child and The Last Days in Hunting Camp. She even owns a book store in Palmer, Alaska called Fireside Books that you can visit for more Alaskan authors.
Cordelia Qigñaaq Kellie has a local blog about what it means to be an Indigenous Alaskan discussing life, political, cultural, and social aspects. She was raised on Dena’ina Athabascan land and is an advocate in Washington DC for Indigenous Alaskans and their traditional way of life. Support her by reading real stories from Alaska on her blog.
Art, Crafts, & Jewelry by Alaskan Women
The Quilted Raven
You’ll find three talented and creative women, Lou Ann, Leigh, and Barb, behind the counter at The Quilted Raven, Anchorage’s best quilting store. I’ve often come here with my mom and no matter who’s working they are always chatting up a storm with locals and travelers alike, helping them pick out and craft a unique one-of-a-kind Alaskan patterns, fabric or quilt pieces. The Quilted Raven supports local female artists, featuring quilting and cross-stitching patterns created by Alaskans featuring moose, bears, salmon and of course, the raven. They also stock plenty of Alaskan themed Batiks from artists such as local Cindy Shake. Beyond quilting, you can buy yarn hand dyed in state and the truly special Qiviut wool from our local musk-ox.
Bear Box is an Alaskan twist on the monthly subscription box and was started by LeeAnna and a team including three more women. They collect locally made Alaskan products and include 4-7 gifts in every box. This subscription box is perfect for any local, Alaskan living outside of Alaska, or travelers who want to take a piece of Alaska home with them every home. They ship anywhere in the U.S. and each month you’ll receive over $50 worth of products ranging from home decor to personal hygiene, art and more!
I love the designs of Trickster Company, which was started by Crystal Worl and her brother Rico an Indigenous Alaskan duo whose goal is to promote innovative Indigenous designs. They started by designing skateboards for friends and family and now have a wide range of products from athletic wear, jewelry, home decor, stationery, and fine art. Their mother store is located in Juneau and a must visit for anyone passing through on a cruise. You can also find their products at various stores across Anchorage and throughout Alaska, or order online.
You can find Corso Graphics stickers, created by female artist Annie Brace, decorating my laptop and all my water bottles. My mom always sends them to me for Christmas because I miss Alaska so much. Annie perfectly captures Alaska in her extensive collection of cards, fine art, stickers and much more. Keep an eye out for her art which you’ll find all over Alaska including Stephan Fine Art in the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Brown and Hawkins in Seward, The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, the Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood, and many more locations including Etsy. Her stickers are the perfect souvenirs to bring home and give out to your coworkers, friends, and family.
Dora, from Brazil, moved to Alaska in 2001 to dedicate her life to capturing the beautiful Northern Lights. She had never even heard of the Aurora until she saw them in Alaska for the first time and it was love at first sight. Her art gallery in Talkeetna, Alaska features stunning images that you can take home to hang on your wall and remember your time in Alaska. She also offers workshops for the photography enthusiast.
Sevigny Studio, located on 4thAvenue, is owned by Alaskan transplant Katie Sevigny. She has become an icon in the Alaskan art scene owning her own studio featuring Alaskan artists, livening up the streets with her street art, and being an active member of the art community in Anchorage. Stop by her store and pick up a piece of Alaska to take with you and don’t miss the bear statue she painted, downtown in front of the visitor’s center.
Dawn Gerety Art
One of my favorite Alaskan artists, Dawn Gerety, was born in Australia but raised in Girdwood, Alaska. Her art is colorful and sometimes abstract. She felt something missing from her career in graphic design and reconnected to find her true calling with canvas and paint. Inspired by Alaska, much of her art features stylized animals and layered organic elements. Dawn owns her own company called Art Seriously offering everything from graphic to painting. You’ll see her art all over Girdwood at Slack Tide Gallery, The Hotel Alyeska, Jack Sprat, and you’ll also see her at Sevigny Studio and online.
Jess Crow is a badass. She owns her own woodworking company, crafting truly unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Jess started learning the trade as a young girl in Massachusetts and has spent 30 years in Alaska living in various regions that spark her creativity. She works with resin and wood for colorful designs varying from tables, fine art pieces, wine holders, cheese boards and more. When asked about being a female in a male-dominated industry she said,
“Working in an almost 90%+ male dominated field is both rewarding and challenging. I have found mostly great support and encouragement, but also great criticism in the form of comments about my appearance being “the only reason” I was awarded a job. Overall being a female builder is rewarding- my male counterparts appreciate the different views I take, and it allows great collaborative experiences!”
I will let her work speak for itself because I don’t think she was awarded her job for any other reason than pure talent. You can find her work online or by emailing her directly at email@example.com. Jess ships worldwide, and says her clients love being able to talk about the furniture or wall art they got from Alaska!
Kali is the creative artist behind Bloom, handcrafted original pieces of jewelry inspired by the wilds of Alaska. Her pieces are elegant and complex and will spice up any outfit whether you’re going for a casual look or dressing up for a night out. This is another gift I often receive as birthday and Christmas presents. All the women in my family own a different design by Kali and wearing my earrings make me feel a connection back to Alaska no matter where in the world I am. You can find Kali’s jewelry around Alaska, including Bottom’s Boutique, or you can also shop for her line on Etsy.
Alaskan, Hailey Thompson, creates beautiful pieces of watercolor art, inspired by her adventures in Alaska. She spent time driving ships in Alaska and her main inspirations are Alaska’s “18-hour-long solstice days, the quiet rainforests of ancient Sitka Spruce, plump wildflowers drenched in rainfall, and fat spawning salmon.” She ensures that each and every piece she creates is made with attention to detail and sustainable practices. Hailey not only creates beautiful pieces on canvas, but she takes her prints and puts them on tote bags, ski masks, stickers and more!
Sew n Bee Cozy is another quilting shop located in the heart of Seward. The owner Shiela is the 3rd owner and a huge part of the local quilting community. In fact, they work with a local quilting group on projects such as, the Infant Learning Program which donates quilts for every new baby, a local nursing home we do lap quilts for the residents, and they just started doing quilts for veterans with cancer. It doesn’t end there as the group has an emergency supply of quilts that are for those who have a major catastrophe such as a house fire.
The shop is easy to access for tourists and right off the cruise ship you can take Seward’s shuttle to her store and shop till you drop. Many Alaskans are avid quilters to help us survive the long dark cold winters and Shiela’s shop features plenty of Alaskan designs, patterns, and creations. Do not miss the Sockeye Salmon Run created by Alaskan Debbie Kay while she was living in Seward. They have an entire wall featuring Alaskan patterns and a full corner of Alaskan prints and panels.
When I am home visiting, you can find me at the Writer’s Block hanging out and getting rid of my writer’s block, to be honest. This cozy home away from home changed the community of Spenard in Anchorage for the better. Before there was the Writer’s Block there was a porn store. This store was associated with sex trafficking, drug dealing, and more. It took a couple of women walking in and negotiating the sale of the building that has been gutted and transformed into a community space for reading, writing, live music, coffee, food, and local artists. I remember when that porn store was around and I remember wanting to avoid that area of Spenard, now I visit every time I am home and enjoy the art and local flavors of my beautiful state. The Writer’s Block is located near the Anchorage Airport and is a great stop to refuel on the way to or from the airport.
Probably one of Anchorage’s most famous restaurants and one of my dad’s favorite spots to eat for as long as he can remember. We used to go here on father-daughter dates all the time and they have the best fresh local burgers, milkshakes, and the fries to die for. The Lucky Wishbone was originally opened by two beloved Alaskans, Peggy and George Brown, who recently passed, leaving the city uncertain of its future. Thankfully, two savvy female entrepreneurs, Heidi Heinrich and Carolina Stacey, took over maintaining the same values as Peggy and George restaurant. Heidi, who has worked at Lucky Wishbone since she was 16 understands how special this restaurant is to the community. These two women have seen generations of families eating at Lucky Wishbone and have had life long customers attend many milestone celebrations in their personal lives. Eating here, you’ll feel like part of the local Alaskan community and experience genuine Alaskan customer service.
When they’re not busy running the restaurant both Carolina and Heidi are active in reviving the downtown Anchorage area, lobbying in our state capital and doing their part to keep Anchorage thriving.
The Original Gourmet Ice Cream Bars, Inc
Would you believe me when I said that Alaska’s ate more ice cream than any other state per capita? We just love the cold, what can we say. My childhood memories were filled with going to the Alaska State Fair and ordering an Original Gourmet Ice Cream Bar and after wandering around for a while I would often come back for seconds. This tasty Alaskan treat was started in 1983, making it one of the older women-owned businesses in Alaska, by Patricia Perry. Patricia has spent 35 years traveling Alaska serving her ice cream bars at festivals and events and she is dedicated to employing Alaska’s youth. Working her ice cream bar stand was the first job of many people, including Janelle Griffith, who is set to take over the company in 2022, when Patricia retires. Both women are life long Alaskans and true female entrepreneurs. Don’t miss them at the Alaska State Fair, Anchorage Saturday Market, Summer Solstice Festival, and many more events around the state.
You may not realize that Alaska has a celebrity chef, Laura Cole, who is famous for her innovative take on traditional Alaskan food using local ingredients. Laura was on Top Chef on Bravo TV, has been nominated twice for a James Beard award, and runs her own restaurant called 229 Parks just outside of Denali National Park. This year, she is going to be coming down to Muse, the fine dining restaurant in the Anchorage Museum to shake their menu up. Whether you’re eating Kodiak scallops at 229 Parks to waiting to try her new menu at Muse in Anchorage, you won’t be disappointed.
Cedar, the power woman behind Nature’s Nectars in the small boat harbor in Seward, has been running her own successful coffee house for almost 10 years. Nature’s Nectar proudly serves local Alaskan Kaladi Brothers Coffee, loose leaf teas, chai, and matcha. They pride themselves on serving original real fruit smoothies, which are their most popular beverage. Cedar is a single mom who has used her successful business to raise and support her two kids who are both nearly in college.
“I am a former competitive mountain runner, and I have taken what I learned at training and competing at a high level, into my business. It takes the same laser dedication, focus, love, and endurance as athletics…and also pushing through when you’re absolutely exhausted.”
This ice cream shop has transformed downtown Anchorage with tourists and locals alike forming a line around the block for their fresh local homemade ice cream! Is it as good as the hype? I certainly think so because I can be found in the line every time I’m home and drag all my friends and family to join in. Elissa Brown, the female co-owner of Wild Scoops has done her part to create one of Anchorage’s most talked about treats. Try their signature Baked Alaska, or any of their other flavors featuring fresh local ingredients including Alaskan blueberries, herbs, sea salt, honey, and much more!
Liz DeMoss is the female mastermind behind the Seward Alehouse and 4th Ave. Lodging in Seward, Alaska. She has been an active member of the Seward business community for many years, owning and operating the bar and hotel for nearly 13 years. Her goal for the bar has always been to create a place where people felt comfortable and welcome regardless of where they are from. As someone who has had plenty of fun nights in their bar, I can attest to the fact that they always promote a positive and friendly vibe. Oh, and they have free pool too!
Seward’s newest addition in the coffee scene is 13 Ravens Coffee House, owned by Liberty Miller. Liberty used to spend her summers working on boats in Alaska and her winters making coffee. She soon fell in love with the art of making coffee and dreamed of owning her own coffee house. So, when the history and charming retired Seward train cars, which house cafes and shops, had an opening, she pursued her dream. At the time she was working for Zudy’s Cafe in Seward (another women-owned business) and when her boss asked her why she was working for them and not opening up her own shop she knew she had the support to make it happen. 13 Ravens Coffee has their grand opening this April 2018, so don’t miss it in the old train cars. Liberty is also somewhat of a traveler herself and has written a book about her thrilling adventures before settling down in Seward.
If you are a tea lover traveling through Fairbanks, Alaska then you must visit the Sipping Streams team room to sample Jenny Tse’s, tea creations. Born in Hong Kong, but raised in Fairbanks, Jenny spent her childhood selling her mother’s local product at Farmer’s Markets. She developed a passion for tea and the way it brings people together. She spent some time traveling through China visiting various tea farms and brought all that knowledge back to Alaska, where she now sells her tea creations at local supermarkets like New Sagaya and Carrs. She also owns a tea house and boutique where her claim to fame is not only the awards her teas have won, but it is also the northernmost tea house in the world! Try the tea of the day of any of their 50 other teas that will keep you warm in the bitter Fairbanks winter, or energized for the long summer day.
VooDoo Jams is an Alaska-based specialty food manufacturer featuring small-batch, spirit-infused artisan jams, marmalades, and sauces. Only something wicked could come of best friends Kim Kovol and Noelle Hardt on foodie adventures in France and Spain. Four-hour dinners, gallons of café au lait, and several journals scribbled with patisserie and tapas recipes later, we came home to Alaska with big culinary ideas
We were sipping and stirring away the waning days of winter when Kim playfully spiked late-harvest cherry jam with a splash of bourbon. After discovering spirited jams and marmalades elevated basic dishes into buzz-worthy dishes, Noelle had a business “ah-hah” and we slapped a label on it.
Collaborating with local distillers, brew masters, chefs, mixologists, spice experts, and even a churner, they now craft seasonal menus of bold creations appearing in partner taprooms, select retail locations, and on restaurant and special event caterer menus. Look for their jams at 49th State Brewing, Double Shovel Cider, and even the Alaska Chicks Vintage Market. You can also buy their jams online and you might even see their traveling best friends on the road with their dangerously good jams.
Bambinos Baby Food
For the traveling moms looking for natural and organic food for their kids, make sure you look for Bambinos Baby Food on the shelves throughout Alaska. The mom behind Bambinos is Zoi Maroudas, who moved to Alaska from Greece, combines her medical education with healthy ingredients to find ways to blend flavors from home with Alaska. When I recently traveled with my 1 year old nice in Alaska, her Australian parents were disgusted by the poor baby food choices in Alaska. Everything had corn syrup and nasty ingredients.
Bambinos is created with love and attention, loved by parents and children and approved by allergists and pediatricians. Their preservative free, sugar-free and additive free meals are created with all Alaskan veggies from Delta Junction, Palmer, and Wasilla farms. The top sellers are wild caught salmon and halibut meals.
Be sure to save this post for all your friends and family visiting Alaska. If you are a local bookmark these places so you can ensure your money is going to small locally owned businesses. I want to thank all the amazing women in Alaska for leading by example and making my home state a better place!
Susanna grew up in small-town Alaska where the changing climate was always on her mind. Through traveling, she gained an interest in the power of sustainable and regenerative travel. She now attends a Master's program for Ecology and bridges sustainable travel with the science of ecology.