Business Profile

Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Title and firm: Pete Bernstein, manager of Alaska Ship Chandlers.

Services: The store sells boats from dinghies on up, marine engines "and almost everything that is connected to their use and operation," Bernstein said.

Biographical information: Bernstein came to Juneau as a U.S. Coast Guard officer in the mid-1970s. He pulled the plug on his career after 16 years in the service because he didn't want an office job in Washington, D.C.

"I was a sailor," he said. "I wanted to raise my kids here."

He didn't know anything about business but he did know marine hardware and equipment.

"At the time, Juneau needed another marine supplier," he said.

Alaska Ship Chandlers started out in 1978 serving mostly commercial fishermen, especially hand trollers and longliners. "There aren't near as many trollers as there used to be, and there aren't many longliners either."

With the decline of the commercial fleets, pleasure boaters are now the bigger part of the business. Fishing gear has changed over the years but changes are incremental and fairly easy to keep up with, Bernstein said.

Bernstein said he works about 50 hours a week during the slow season when he wears a Greek fisherman's hat, but during the spring and summer, the work week will stretch to about 75 hours, during which time he wears a white halibut hat.

Family: Bernstein has two sons and three daughters ranging in age from 12 to 31. He is married to Mary Claire Tarlow.

Notable: His 15-year-old daughter, Rachel, like her older sister before her, has been the part-time bookkeeper for the business for six years.

"I can honestly tell you if I did what she's doing, I would make more mistakes than she does," Bernstein said.

Employees: Bernstein has four employees at two locations, the main store downtown and a service department at the end of Radcliffe Road in the Mendenhall Valley.

Contact: 1000 Harbor Way next to the Douglas Bridge. The phone number is 586-1402.

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