Three summers ago, Nancy Niezgocki and her husband were vacationing in Homer from Detroit, Mich. Nancy operates Old World Nuts in Detroit, and couldn’t help but notice a cozy building under construction on the Homer Spit. “I looked at it and thought, ‘that would be perfect for a small business on the Spit,’” she said. […]
In a chance conversation on a Paul Banks school field trip, Rick Cline, owner of the Homestead Restaurant, came upon an offer he just couldn’t refuse.
El Pescador owners Jose and Carmen Ramos mentioned to Cline that they were hoping to lease out their restaurant on the Homer Spit this summer. And Cline had just the chef in mind to make it work.
Imagine a time in the not-too-distant past when “tourism” meant little more than Alaska hospitality. That’s when a tourist was simply invited inside a person’s cabin and offered a cup of tea or taste of smoked salmon.
And once you step in for that cup of tea, expect the stories to last a spell, because few aspects of Alaska life make for a quick yarn.
To create a pose for “Instant Maui” — a restorative yoga technique — Ramona Pearce places a rolled blanket under her student’s knees.
Resting on a yoga mat covered in a wool blanket, the student reclines at a 90-degree angle on wedges likewise covered. Elbows are aloft to either side of the body, resting on padding. Pearce then sets a scented pillow over the eyes to shut out light.
After 20 years as a Homer taxi driver, Nick Bairamis took on a semi-retired lifestyle this summer. He sold his taxi business, but kept a cab and still works Homer’s streets five nights a week.
Josh Cooper purchased Kostas Taxi – along with four cabs – and currently employs 10 full-time drivers for seven-day-a-week, 24-hour service.
“I had the oldest cab company and I am the oldest cab driver in town,” Bairamis said in his trademark heavy Greek accent.
Following fuel prices last year that rose to $9.25 per gallon in several remote villages across the Inlet, an arrangement between a small Native corporation and Homer Enterprises allowed this year’s gasoline and heating fuel prices to level off at a more manageable rate.
The villages of Iliamna, Newhalen, Kokhanok, Pedro Bay and Nondalton paid less this winter for fuel, with an adjusted cost of $6.75 for gasoline and $6.50 a gallon for No. 2 fuel in Kokhanak and various prices in the other villages that gave a better break over the previous winter’s costs.
With perimeter security technology and defense system integration already in place around the globe, and military endorsements calling its underground vehicle inspection system the “most sophisticated, cutting-edge gating system we’ve ever seen,” Homer-based Kachemak Research Development, Inc. is beginning to turn a few heads in homeland security circles.
Maritime Helicopters of Homer took top business honors last week as they were presented with the Bill Bivin Award for Excellence at the State Chamber of Commerce Convention.
The Bill Bivin award was established in 1993 to pay tribute to businesses that exemplify leadership, ethics and organization. Businesses are recognized for consistent community involvement, an excellent business reputation and established leadership in their fields.
Owner Don Fell said he was surprised and pleased by the award.
“I had no idea what the competition was about,” he said.
The way Pat Coleman sees it, Homer has the cheapest parking in the world.
“Seriously, where else can you park free seven days a week?” he asked.
Coleman is senior planner with USKH Inc. – the Alaska-based planning and design firm the City contracted to assist in preparing a future development plan for the Homer Spit.
Chain stores that supply less expensive goods for consumers isn’t the only answer to keep a town thriving: creative businesses can step in to fill market gaps in a manner that can save a community’s charm.
That’s just one idea offered by Americorps-VISTA Volunteer Carol Bevis, who released a quarterly report called “Economic Development 101 a la Homer… Pie Anyone?”