Business profile: Troy Cunningham Brandon Petaja

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2003

Title and company: Co-owners, Squires Rest.

Biographical information: While growing up in Juneau, cousins Cunningham and Petaja often would fish in the creek outside what is now their place of business. As they grew older, music became a common interest, and they started playing in rock-and-roll bands together. After Petaja attended aviation school in Florida and Cunningham attended a commercial diving school in Washington, the two reunited in Juneau and began playing music together again.

"We were looking to go into a business together, we were business partners years before we had one," said Cunningham. "We always played in the same band, so a bar was kind of a natural thing to go into, so we could play any time we wanted to. Because (music) is our primary hobby."

In June of 2000 Cunningham and Petaja purchased the Auke Bay Inn, deciding to rename the establishment after its original name.

"It was always Squires Rest when I was growing up, so that's what we changed it back to, because we still called it Squires," said Cunningham.

The cousins have taken advantage of their opportunity to play music for their patrons with their band, The Rock'n Roll Machine. Cunningham plays guitar and sings, while Petaja plays bass guitar.

Over the last several months the business has gone through a number of renovations, most recently adding a new bar and dance floor.

"We've got the biggest stainless steel dance floor from here to who knows where," said Cunningham, chuckling. "The (renovation) not only improves the quality of the equipment, but it's more functional .. and we can handle our customers' volume better, for 'Wet Wednesdays' in particular."

Services: Squires Rest has become a Wednesday night hot spot over the last several years, primarily catering to the university crowd with live music, dancing and liquid refreshments.

"Wet Wednesday has been a valuable thing for Squires," said Cunningham. "When you get the volume of people in here, that's when you can really cover the bills."

Wet Wednesday has drawn a number of local bands. Squires Rest also is home to several leisure sport leagues: nine-ball pool on Mondays, Valley Dart League on Tuesdays, Juneau Dart League on Wednesdays, and eight-ball pool on Thursdays.

"We're just a place for locals to go and hang out and see people that they don't usually see," said Cunningham.

Family: Cunningham is married and has two daughters, and Petaja is single.

Quotable: "We're committed to quality improvement to our friends and valued customers," said Cunningham.

Contact information: Squires Rest is at 11806 Glacier Highway and can be reached at 789-7829.

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