Alaskans could soon walk their fingers through a new type of Yellow Pages.
CBG USA, a directory publisher out of Anchorage since 1990, will publish an Alaska Native Yellow Pages around the end of March. The company hopes it will be a comprehensive phone book of Alaska Native corporations and businesses, publisher Jim Cocallas said.
The company published a Commercial Buyers Guide for about 10 years but decided to refocus its business plan to produce directories for special niches, Cocallas said. The company is about to publish its fifth edition of the bilingual Alaska Hispanic Business and Resource Directory.
"It's actually well-received. Absolutely," he said of the Hispanic guide. "That's another fast-growing market here in Alaska."
Cocallas said he hopes to capitalize on the success of the Hispanic directory and compile a "one-stop-shopping" directory of Native businesses and corporations to represent the billions of dollars in commerce they haul in each year. He said the directory is not exclusive and is open to Natives and non-Natives alike. The directory is not intended to be discriminatory, Cocallas said.
"Most marketing departments understand the need to be aware of the ethnicities and to reach out to those groups as well," Cocallas said.
"On the surface it sounds like a pretty good idea, but I'm wondering what the benefits would be from kind of segregating yourself out from the other businesses," said Bob Martin, Goldbelt Inc. vice president of operations.
One of the main reasons of compiling this information is to provide contact information to investors and businesses outside of Alaska, Cocallas said.
"There isn't any one thing that can be given to these companies ... where they can identify and learn to do business with the Native corporations," he said. "So a business outside of Alaska could have a resource and a guide to the Native corporations."
The Native directory will look more like a magazine than a traditional phonebook, with as many as 100 glossy pages. CBG USA plans to include profiles of Alaska's 13 regional corporations, an overview of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, a guide to doing business with Alaska Natives, and government and legislative contact information. It will also include emergency and social services, tourism, education, health care and training information and contacts.
"It's business, services and products. It's open to any business, but the audience we are reaching into is the Alaska Natives and American Indian," Cocallas said.
He said there has never been a substantive directory for Alaska Natives.
"We are going to try to be very culturally aware and convey a good message to them," Cocallas said.
CBG USA will begin a statewide phone campaign in the coming weeks to increase interest. Once published, the company plans to distribute 25,000 free copies to Alaska Native corporations, businesses, organizations, and city, state and federal offices. Advance subscriptions will be sold for $35, with half of the proceeds donated to Native scholarships and nonprofit organizations.
"It's going to be a long-term project," Cocallas said. "It's going to be around for years to come."