ANCHORAGE - Alaska Seafood International will shut down for two weeks next month to retool in advance of an expected rush of big orders, chief executive Russell Schreck said.
New equipment to automate fish processing and packaging will greatly enhance the Anchorage plant's efficiency, Schreck said. During the shutdown, about 40 line workers will go on leave with pay, he said.
Schreck also said the company will begin doing business as the Great Alaskan Seafood Co. The plant already has sold a breaded salmon product under that name.
The large south Anchorage fish plant is still working on its revival plan after financial troubles hobbled its start-up in late 1999. The $50 million factory is owned by the state. ASI's landlord, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, also owns about 20 percent of the company. The majority owner is Sunrise Capital Partners, a New York investment firm.
Schreck said the company is close to several contracts with large buyers. Early this year, Great Alaskan goods premiered in Sam's Club stores nationwide.