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BuyAlaska Gift Guide, Online Directories Make Local Holiday Shopping Easy

Dec 4, 2023 | News, Retail, Small Business

Rolf Christiansen, a carver from Old Harbor, is the face of koniagbizdirectory.com, one of the online tools guiding shoppers to local merchants.


Merchants throughout Alaska have shelves stocked with wares that make great gifts. With the shopping season opened with Small Business Saturday over Thanksgiving weekend, the Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has tools to connect buyers with local commerce.

Local Money Recycles

“Shopping at a locally owned small business strengthens the economy and promotes future growth,” says Steve Brown, Alaska District director for the US Small Business Administration. “Small businesses offer more personalized customer service, and funds recirculate throughout the community as local tax payments, payroll, and charitable donations.”

According to a 2021 report from the UA Center for Economic Development, shifting $1,000 in spending from non-local to local businesses would add an estimated $103 million to the state’s economy and create 5,850 additional jobs.

Further, SBDC states that buying from Alaskan-owned businesses keeps three times more revenue within the state’s borders, becoming a catalyst for economic growth and innovation.

Current Issue

Alaska Business June 2024 Cover

June 2024

To make local shopping easier, SBDC is introducing the BuyAlaska Holiday Gift Guide. More than seventy-five businesses statewide are listed. Key features include a diverse selection, from handcrafted jewelry to gourmet treats, and a spotlight on smaller vendors that might not have enough marketing muscle to compete with national brands. The guide is searchable by gift category and suggests specific products, with links to BuyAlaska merchants. A “buy now” button links to each business’ online purchasing platform.

The gift guide is a seasonal spinoff of its parent website, BuyAlaska.com, which connects online shoppers to local businesses year-round, hosted by SBDC.

The site is similar to business directories that many Alaska Native corporations have designed to promote their shareholders’ ventures. For example, Koniag partnered with public relations firm Strategies 360 to launch koniagbizdirectory.com, which lists art, crafts, foods, and services from the Kodiak Island region.

“The Business Directory exemplifies Koniag’s dedication to bolstering the regional economy by urging residents to embrace local and Shareholder shopping,” says Stacey Simmons, Koniag’s senior director of in-region and shareholder services. “This platform connects potential customers to a diverse array of businesses on the island and beyond, proudly owned by our shareholders and descendants.”

The directory showcases a rich diversity of businesses, ranging from hospitality, art, and seafood to real estate, representing the versatile talents and offerings of the Koniag community.

In addition to online shopping, SBDC suggests engaging with local chambers of commerce or attending seasonal markets.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, creating jobs, driving innovation, and fostering a strong sense of community. By choosing to shop small, we invest in the heart of our towns and contribute significantly to Alaska’s economic vitality,” says Jon Bittner, Alaska SBDC state director.

Alaska Business June 2024 cover
In This Issue
Delivering Anchorage's Promise
June 2024
Welcome to the June 2024 issue, which features our annual Transportation Special Section. We've paired it this year with a focus on the Pacific Northwest and Hawai'i, as Alaska has close ties to both that reach far beyond lines of transportation. Even further out past our Pacific Ocean compatriots and our Canadian neighbors to the east, Alaska's reach extends to India and Singapore. Enjoy this issue that explores many of Alaska's far-flung business dealings.
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