2012 business news round-up

Petco, Office Max come to town, virus attacks B.C. salmon

Juneau entrepreneurs had a very busy 2012.


Name brands brought new wares and jobs to Juneau’s market and long-time locals took a risk on a new business.

National office supply store Office Max opened at the Nugget Mall early in January, on the heels of next-door neighbor national pet supply store Petco.

Downtown Juneau was spared the loss of a central grocery store as Seattle-based grocer transitioned Alaskan and Proud to Foodland IGA.

Myers Group swooped in and scooped up the grocery in the Foodland Mall days before Ketchikan-based Alaskan and Proud was scheduled to close its doors after years of operation. Myers Group renamed the grocery Foodland IGA.

Arrow Refuse offered curb-side recycling pickup to its Juneau customers. Shops opened that offered goods from east-coast grinder sandwiches to alpaca sweaters. One group of entrepreneurs proposed opening a land farm.

Bicknell, Inc. of Juneau requested permits to build a 6,000 square foot land farm. The facility would clean earth contaminated with petroleum products.

Gold prices remained high. Kensington and Greens Creek mines took advantage of the bounty with good production and investments in efficiency and future production.

Though results have been reported as good, Grande Portage and Quaterra Resources Inc. are still in the exploration stage of developing their claim at Herbert Glacier.

Chieftain Metals has its environmental assessment from the Canadian government to build a road to its mine near the Taku River in British Columbia. The road passes through Taku River Tlingit First Nation land, a group opposed to Chieftain’s opening the mine.

The University of Alaska Southeast, with help from local mining companies, unveiled a world-class simulator of heavy mining machinery. The immersive simulator can train miners on large, dangerous and expensive machinery before putting themselves, others or equipment at risk.

Long-time Juneau business Rent-A-Wreck changed hands this year becoming Juneau Car Rental Co.

Pharmacists sought legislative help as suppliers applied pressure with what local pharmacists said were abusive audit practices.

Alaska cable company GCI and sports entertainment provider Root Sports went head to head on Major League Baseball pricing. The result? Juneauites lost the Mariners on cable television.

Long-time Juneau resident and well-remembered owner of a Douglas grocery Robert Thibodeau died in September.

The U.S. Forest Service makes steps toward its goal to transition away from large-scale timber sales to a combination of smaller sales and restoration and maintenance contracting. Kake company CSC Tree Service won the $26,050 contract to maintain roads and bridges near the village. A small-scale timber sale in Wrangell will provide wood for local small mills and instrument-wood manufacturers.

Alaska’s wild salmon market faced a double threat in 2012.

Alaska’s D.C. delegation set their hooks in the issue of genetically modified Frankenfish. Genetically modified salmon promised to add the fast growth of Alaska’s prized Chinook salmon to the farm-friendly Atlantic salmon to bring farmed fish meat faster to the market. Recently the Federal Drug Administration deemed AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage salmon technology safe for human consumption.

Canada questioned whether Pacific salmon near Vancouver Island were dying of an Atlantic salmon virus.

New Environmental Protection Agency rules on diesel fuels burned in certain large marine engines could have financial impacts on Alaska’s cruise industry. While Juneau’s shipping and ferry service already meets EPA standards, the state of Alaska has come out in opposition to the EPA imposing new diesel emissions rules on cruise ships in Alaska.

Juneau Chamber of Commerce was recognized as Alaska’s 2012 Chamber of the Year. This is the second time Juneau’s chamber has earned this recognition since 2008.

Local wedding cards, event posters, business cards and all sorts of print on paper have come to Juneau care of Alaska Litho for the last 65 years. Constant adaptation to new technology and new techniques while holding on to tried-and-true old ways has kept employee-owned AK Litho growing in the local market.

Juneau’s cruise visitor numbers were back up to pre-2010 levels in 2012. Passengers spent an estimated $180 million in Juneau. Visitor numbers are expected to top 1,000,000 in 2013. Alaska Cruise Association’s John Binkley and CBJ Docks and Harbors Carl Uchytil discussed what those numbers mean to Juneau’s economy in an article from the final day of the 2012 cruise season.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich talked tough with Xtratuf about substandard boots coming out of China. Begich asked Xtratuf for ideas about policy changes that could lure production back to the U.S.

Three Juneau entrepreneurs received permitting to build and operate an indoor gun range and retail shop. The five-lane underground shooting range is designed to handle larger caliber weapons. Including clip and belt-fed rental machine guns.

Elgee, Rehfeld Mertz LLC has ranked in the top 100 accounting firms to work for twice in the same number of years. Principal Max Mertz was awarded a public service award from his fellow Alaskan certified public accountants. To wrap up the year George Elgee, Bob Rehfeld and Max Mertz were awarded Citizens of the Year by the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

Stanley Motor Group owns car dealerships, rental cars, auto body shops and quick service shops all across Alaska. Stanley recently added a Ford dealership to its Budget Rent-a-Car outlet in Juneau.

A deadly shooting in Connecticut shocked the nation and talk soon turned to legislating an assault weapons ban. In response, Juneau gun enthusiasts cleared the shelves at Rayco sales of assault rifles and parts.

"I'm ordering more and more stuff," Rayco gun shop owner Ray Coxe said.

An Alaska Airlines Flight 731 landed safely in Juneau on one engine and the nation takes a feint at the fiscal cliff.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.


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