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Petersburg woman wins regional business competition


Chelsea Tremblay / Submitted photo

Mindy Anderson (right) stands with daughter Evelyn in front of the display for The Salty Pantry at one of last summer's Saturday Markets.

Petersburg entrepreneur Mindy Anderson won $40,000 in the Path to Prosperity competition that aims to promote local business and sustainability across Southeast Alaska.

Anderson, who's been operating The Salty Pantry out of her home selling homemade artisan breads, sea salts and other dry goods, will soon open a restaurant cafe and is currently looking at a commercial space downtown.

Anderson, along with 11 other Southeast Alaskans, participated in a "business boot camp" last September in Juneau where they sat in workshops and honed skills necessary to create sustainable business models. Afterwards an independent panel of judges reviewed those models and chose Anderson as one of two successful plans.

"I was very excited but I was very surprised because there were quite a few passionate people who had great ideas for businesses," Anderson said.

The judges looked for the aspiring entrepreneurs to identify how they would incorporate their business into their communities that would be socially, environmentally and economically responsible.

"You have to look at your business plan in all those areas in order to make it a sustainable business and I think that's the future of small business in Alaska," Anderson said. "It's not just about making a profit anymore. If you're a business that is just in it to make a profit then you're not really thinking about the community or the environment. It's important to do that these days. That was in my plan. That was one reason I won."

Anderson plans to use locally sourced produce and other goods from grocery stores in town as well as Farragut Farms and the Petersburg School District's community garden. She also wants to purchase salmon from local commercial fishers, eggs from Point Agassiz and whole chickens from a Sitka farmer who also won the competition.

She also wants to offer cooking, canning and gardening classes.

Anderson plans on using recycled materials and minimal packaging as well as using food waste for chicken feed.

Anderson will also sell retail items including house-made stocks, sauces, pesto, flavored butters, oatmeal and sea salt blends.

She'll sell prepared deli foods as well as have a sit-down menu.

"A sample menu might be Mindy's Clam Chowder with a slice of homemade bread," Anderson said. "Two Dungeness crab cakes with avocado, cilantro and lime aioli with your choice of side or Moroccan roasted chicken with kale, chickpeas and sweet potatoes with tangy yogurt sauce."

Anderson said she plans on opening within the year and will have around five employees including a full-time prep cook and baker as well as part-time helpers.

Anderson can use the $40,000 in winnings for technical support and training and plans to head to classes that will deepen her knowledge on artisan bread baking and other deli related themes.

She also plans on attending a course taught by Zingerman's deli, a famous deli out of Michigan.

"They have an amazing customer service model and they teach others about this model in what they call open book work," Anderson said. "It's pretty amazing so I plan on doing the same training class up there too and bringing that back to the community and having excellent customer service."


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