Business is going better than
expected for Kodiak's Sun'aq Tribe. After two years of steadily increasing sales for its fish
processing and distribution business Kodiak Wildsource,
Program Services Director Frank Peterson Jr. says the tribe expects
profitability ahead of schedule.
"We're seeing far better
numbers than we'd anticipated. Our plan that we'd written for the grant from
the Administration for Native Americans didn't show us being profitable until
year four and we're in year two and we're hoping that we can beat that by about
a year, so year three."
says a recent trip to the Boston Seafood Show helped them visualize where they
want to take their business next. The trip rounded out an 18-month training
program with the Alaska Seafood Processor Leadership Institute, which is part
of the University
of Alaska Fairbanks'
Marine Advisory Program. Peterson says they're also making use of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's American Indian Food program. The program's goal is
to help American Indian owned businesses export to global markets.
"They'll provide travel, lodging
and support for us to attend international shows such as Belgium in April,
there's another one in Brazil in June, they just got back from a Tokyo show and
there are shows in Singapore and other places throughout the world."
tribe had been selling to retailers across the country before launching their
website in December. Peterson says the site has so far increased their
visibility and helped them access individual buyers. While their fresh salmon
fillets, smoked black cod and dried fish does appeal to a niche gourmet market,
Sun'aq is trying to focus their efforts on volume sales.
we really want to do is find the buyer that is interested in purchasing
container-loads of our processed salmon. If we get orders for a couple of
containers, we're going to be hiring for even more people."
says they'll be looking to hire tribal members at the processing plant as
salmon season picks up.