November 14, 2005

We just completed our 2nd commerial retail show of the season in Fairbanks. Like other out of town shows we’ve done in the past, we lost money but gained a few valuable contacts that may mean future business.

The Fairbanks Holiday Show operators also did something unique – they hosted a nice dinner spread the first evening, after the show. We got to know some of the other vendors in a “vendors only” setting, and it was a lot of fun.

We also made a courtesy stop to Players Grille, where we exclusively sell our fish in Fairbanks. Owner Mike Dunshie was the only operator we contacted in Fairbanks more interested in the quality of salmon he was getting over the price Once we saw his committment to us, we decided we’d only sell to him in the Fairbanks restaurant market and therefore allow him to exclusively sell the best salmon in town.

It was also fun getting back to Fairbanks, where both of us attended the U of A, and where life in Alaska started for Mark. We saw our first -20 degree weather since the last time we were here, although it as below zero the last time Mark went home to upstate NY in January.

We’ve also decided that this will likely be our last out of town show, as we just can’t make them pay. We’ve seen that our face to face marketing with stores has both immediate and long term sales. We also think that our time will be better spent upgrading our website to show and sell Sara’s glasswork, rather than paying airfreight, with the usual handling breakage, when traveling to shows.

We also plan on starting a partnership with friends of Mark’s in Sierra Leone, where he served as a Peace Corps volunteer. We plan to buy hand made baskets there, pay real money for them, and then sell our products in them as gift baskets.
We can use the money we are spending on shows to travel to Sierra Leone to set up shipping arrangements, and also do some consulting with Mark’s former farmers. The country has be through hell for 10 years; unfortunately, they are a country of black-skinned people with no oil resources. Our country has turned a blind eye to the brutalization there, particularly of children, which have summarily had their limbs chopped off by the rebel fighters. Our ever increasing Christian political make up portrays us as a gawd-fearing nation that justifies its actions on biblical principles. Funny thing is, I can’t find it anywhere in the bible that amputating little kids’ arms with a machete is okay. Hopefully, we can get some business started there and help a little. I’m sure once we get off the ground, the media that ignores Africa will want to tell our story and a politician will soon follow to take the credit.

Mark Stopha
F/V Dutch Master
Alaska Wild Salmon Co
4455 N Douglas Hwy
Juneau, Alaska 99801

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