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While the pandemic batters business across the country, some in Kodiak see opportunity to pursue their dreams

First there was one, and then there was another. And another. That’s how it started here at KMXT, stories about the struggles of local businesses to survive the pandemic. In the process, we discovered that more than just numbers are involved, but something more powerful — stories of courage, ingenuity, and determination to outsmart this virus.

Take Diane Million. Her Million Recipes food truck is a dream that hatched five years ago, and it’s about to take flight, despite the pandemic

“I would make meals for people and they were just so excited. And they made me feel really good about the meals I made… it became my passion,” Million said. “And I think that for me, food, love, and people are all together, they overlap.”

Before COVID-19, there were other roadblocks.

“Different things popped up, my husband was medically retired from the Coast Guard, so we lost an income. So then it got put on the back burner,” Million said. “Before that, there was a government shutdown, so it got put on the back burner… just different small things would make me stop and focus on something else.”

She finally caught a break when a friend helped her buy the trailer, which will finally allow her to enter Kodiak’s culinary scene.

Million says there’s a lot at stake, but she believes the risks can be managed.

“I’m hoping that the remainder of the COVID pandemic is short. Now that there’s a vaccine… I mean we’ll offer meals, you know– you can walk up to the window, you’ll be able to place your order ahead of time. Very little contact is necessary,” Million said.

” I’m hoping that post pandemic the brewery will be open back to its normal hours, to 12 to eight and you’ll be able to come down to the food trailer in the brewery parking lot, put your order in for whatever you’re in the mood for, whether it’s pretzel bites with beer cheese, or if it’s a full meal, and then you’ll be able to go into the brewery and wait for it with a beer, hang out and talk with friends or even hang out on the new deck.”

In many ways, the pandemic has brought out the best in entrepreneurs like Million. It’s not only pushed her to stretch her creativity but also made her more determined than ever.

“For me, it’s a matter of don’t-give-up. One of the things we joke about all the time– we have hunters and fishermen that come up annually for their trips. And they would come into the brewery and say ‘D, where’s it at, you promised us last year the food truck would be here.’ And they’d probably say it to two or three times and they only come up for a week or two each year. And I would keep telling them that ‘it’s coming, I’m working on it,’” Million said.

“The most important thing is don’t give up on your dreams. Life’s too short. You just have to keep going and there’s going to be setbacks. And don’t worry about what anyone thinks or what anyone says. You just keep going. Don’t lose sight of it. It’ll get there.”

For now, the trailer that will become the Million Recipes food truck is on its way by barge and is expected to arrive within the next two weeks.