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Mail-order Christmas magic.

Check out the incredible Alaska-made presents you can give this Christmas -- by effortless mail order.

Looking for a way to give unique Alaska-made gifts to your friends and relatives?

Try mail-order, Alaska-style. From Juneau to Fairbanks and dozens of towns in between, Alaska entrepreneurs offer hundreds of different delights to a growing mail-order clientele around the world.

This article looks at three different categories of mail-order products: food, clothing, and arts and crafts. The companies and individual entrepreneurs outlined here are just a few of Alaska's mail-order companies. For more complete listings of these vendors, see the sidebar, "Where to Go" on Pgs.43-44.

A Taste of Alaska

Food products, from seafood to wild berry creations, are the most popular Alaska-made Christmas gift items.

Hankering to give away fish products? There's an ocean of opportunity. In Anchorage, 10th & M Seafoods sends out fresh and frozen seafood packages to thousands of customers every year. Across town at Alaska Gourmet Seafood Inc., you can also get canned, frozen or fresh seafood gifts in a variety of combinations and price ranges.

Down on the bountiful Kenai Peninsula, Eagle Smokehouse in Soldotna sends out mouth-watering kippered and pickled salmon and halibut, smoked salmon cream cheese spread, and a preservative-free salmon jerky. In scenic Homer, Ketch Seafoods provides mail-order frozen scallops, king crab, salmon and halibut to customers across America.

Since 1984, Taku Smokeries in Juneau has dished out mail-order seafood. Today, the company mails catalogs to between 70,000 and 80,000 people a year. "Our clients live anywhere Federal Express goes," says owner Sandro Lane.

Alaska Wilderness Gourmet in Anchorage combines seafood with more than a dozen kinds of jams and jellies, herbed vinegars and berry syrups, a made-in-Alaska barbecue sauce, superb sourdough mixes and reindeer jerky -- all available singly or in a variety of combinations. Trapper Creek Smoke Co., also in Anchorage, offers single items or variety packs of smoked salmon, halibut and reindeer sausage.

The grand-daddy of all Alaska mail-order food companies, Alaska Wild Berry Products of Homer, sells wild berry candies and jams and a variety of smoked fish and meats. "We send out approximately 12,000 gift packages a year," says vice president Terre Devany.

But Alaska is also becoming famous for other food items. Alaska Herb and Tea Co. of Anchorage sells six different kinds of herb teas and a line of potpourri scents. A snack mix from Gourmet Snacks of Alaska, based in Anchorage, uses pecans, pretzels, peanuts and golden grains from the Matanuska Valley.

For pie delights, call Alaska Silk Pie Co. in Anchorage. Owner Phyllis Buzzine started the business by selling pies to Princess Tours and now offers six different kinds of scrumptious pies.

"This Christmas, we're predicting a banner year of mailing out 6,000 to 7,000 pies across the country," she says.

Gifts to Wear

Alaska-made clothing, from parkas to boots and gloves, will appear under Christmas trees around the world this year.

Perry Green of David Green Furriers in Anchorage says his company has done mail order so long "it seems like forever." Today, customers worldwide order fur hats, jackets, parkas, mukluks and fur-trimmed sweaters and leather garments from his company.

Purveyors of innovative high-tech gear for "outdoor eccentrics," Posh House in Anchorage sells everything from expedition parkas to hats to a growing international clientele.

Hot on the trail of customer outdoor creations is Apocalypse Design in Fairbanks. In addition to its line of outdoor clothing, the company produces a wide range of backpacks, sport bags and dog mushing equipment.

For 46 years, Laura Wright Parkys in Anchorage has sold winter and summer mail-order parkys to all kinds of clients. While her designs have moved forward on international markets in the last few years, the company has sold items to famous Americans like Elvis Presley and Steven Seagal.

Exquisite outdoor wear can be ordered from Oomingmak-Musk Ox in Anchorage. The company markets qiviut, musk ox fur, which is light, soft and eight times warmer than wool, in the form of hats, stoles, tunics, scarves, headbands and smoke rings.

Apone T-Shirts in Anchorage branched into the mail-order business three years ago, and now provides over 1,000 Alaska designs -- all "in one way or another related to Alaska," says James Apone, company owner.

A Touch of Alaska

Looking for some unusual Alaska-made arts and crafts?

Casey McBride at Taiya River Jewelry in Skagway pieces together gold nugget jewelry -- rings, pendants, bracelets and more. He mails out more than 5,000 brochures a year to prospective customers.

Judy Gumm in Fairbanks is the artist behind "Judy Gumm Designs," a wholesale and retail business that sells sterling silver jewelry for men and women. Specialties include Alaska floral pieces and custom orders.

Ulus from the Ulu Factory in Anchorage are a hot Christmas item. In mail-order for 17 years, the company sells 70 different designs of ulus to tourists and American mail-order customers.

To light up the holidays, check out the Alaska Candle Factory in Girdwood, which sells 50 different varieties of candles to its mail-order clients. "Clean" Alaska products are available from the Alaska Soap Co. in Palmer. Owner Sherry Stefano makes and markets biodegradable soaps and colognes to a mostly-Alaska audience.

You'll get bowled over by the handcrafted birch bowls available from The Great Alaska Bowl Co. in Fairbanks. In business for just two years, the company already mails out thousands of carved birch bowls each year.

You can't even begin to categorize the mail-order handicraft available from Artique Ltd. in Anchorage. Though the firm specializes in its wholesale catalog division, it also offers mail-order services on any items carried in its Anchorage retail office. There are prints from artists like Birdsall and Lavallee, pins and cards from Carolee Pollock, soapstone, pottery, sculptures ...

Perhaps one of the most memorable Alaska gifts to give is a mail-order video that breathes the vibrancy of Alaska's panoramic outdoors. Alaska Video Postcards in Anchorage offers 14 breathtaking videos of Alaska, plus calendars and books.

"What we are selling is the allure of the wilderness," says owner Todd Hardesty. "Many people who will never come to Alaska can dream and see and feel the wildness of the place through the videos."

After all, a taste of the Alaska dream is really what you give with any mail-order gift. But while you're telephone shopping for gifts for your friends and relatives, find something for the most important person on your list -- yourself.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Alaska Business Publishing Company, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related articles; Alaska-made christmas presents
Author:Woodring, Jeannie
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:Product Announcement
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:New mill markets small logs.
Next Article:How to manage business growth.

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