Ice cream, coffee shop on the right track

Juneau's Coppa wins Pitch-on-a-Train competition
Marc Wheeler, owner of Coppa, looks through his ice cream and coffee shop window, decorated with the names of ice cream they have made, at the corner of Glacier Avenue and Ninth Street in downtown Juneau on Friday. Coppa was one of five Alaskan businesses selected to participate in the Anchorage Economic Development Council's Pitch-on-a-Train competition.

Coppa, Juneau’s homemade ice cream and coffee shop, won the Anchorage Economic Development Council’s Pitch-on-a-Train competition in Anchorage this week.

“This is a great opportunity for Coppa to get the word out about our homemade rhubarb sherbet and ice cream,” Coppa owner Marc Wheeler said Friday. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to connect with business leaders from across the state.”

According to Wheeler, the competition was set up in a similar style to the television show, Shark Tank. Five Alaska startups were selected to board the Alaska Railroad system from Anchorage to Whittier, and then pitch a business idea to a table full of investors. Among the judges were Terry Jones, founder of and, among other venture capitalists, local banking experts and business leaders.

“For Coppa, we pitched expanding our ice cream for more retail options, mainly focusing on local ice cream such as our rhubarb sherbet,” Wheeler said.

For winning the competition, Coppa was awarded 25,000 air miles and Jones himself donated an additional 50,000 air miles. First prize also included a five-month membership to The Boardroom, which is “a coworking space for independents and small companies who share services and amenities in a creative, productive and collaborative environment,” according to the website. The Boardroom will soon be opening in Juneau.

“I just hope to get our name out more around the state and hopefully we’ll make some connections with business leaders,” Wheeler said.

All five competitors were from Alaska, including three businesses in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks.


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