When Darcy and Jim Michener started making sea salt of their kitchen over a decade in the past, they might by no means have identified the place it might lead them. As Jim Michener explains it, the couple grew to become “enamored” with salt making about 20 years in the past. A passion which paved the best way for what’s now the Alaska Pure Sea Salt Firm.
Jim Michener says Alaska Pure Sea Salt started with the conclusion that there was no home producers of flake salt.
“We have been the primary salt producer outdoors of Europe and Australia to make flakes salt with lovely clear Alaska water. And we thought this has obtained some some wheels this concept would possibly take off,” says Michener.
After which…a leap of religion.
“Our first three prospects to attempt to have been all James Beard Award profitable cooks and began ordering instantly, we knew we had a good suggestion.,” he says. “After which it began gaining reputation, after which we began providing retail wholesale, after which determined to develop it right into a retailer once we noticed that Lincoln Avenue had house out there.”
It took them 5 years of toying and tinkering with their salt recipe to reach on the translucent, pyramidal flakes we see right now. However even after 12 years of enterprise, Michener says their largest problem was but to return.
“When the pandemic hit, we have been spooked,” says Michener “Like most individuals have been pondering there have been completely no guests coming to Sitka. That was actually scary for the the shop aspect of the enterprise.”
As a purveyor of one of many nations solely home flake salts, the Michener’s relied closely on the patronage of high-end eating places nation extensive. With eating places closed and cruise ship journey on maintain, the enterprise was hit two fold, and the way forward for Alaska Pure Sea Salt appeared murky. However, like many companies struggling underneath the monetary pressure of pandemic period shutdowns, the Micheners pivoted.
“It was January or February of 2020. We thought you realize, this appears prefer it’s gonna be the true deal. Let’s simply type of plan now for the worst case state of affairs,” says Michener.
Fortunately, the Micheners not too long ago revamped their web site in a bid to realize extra on-line commerce. With their new internet presence ready for heavier site visitors, the couple took to social media to advertise their product and get the phrase out about their salt. Michener says that’s the place they discovered some success…it seems their product did nicely on-line, and that carried them via the primary wave of COVID.
“We actually had nice outcomes, particularly in April, when everybody was locked up and at house and taking a look at their computer systems. And we simply pushed exhausting. And I imply, it nonetheless was not sufficient to assist your complete enterprise, the net gross sales, but it surely actually, actually type of stopped the bleeding and allowed us to limp via 2020,” explains Michener.
There have been instances the Micheners thought they may lose all the things, but when they limped via 2020, they’ve come out even stronger in 2021. Whereas native assist stored their enterprise afloat final season and within the winter months, it’s a extra unlikely clientele boosting gross sales this summer time. Even with low cruise ship numbers, they’ve seen record-breaking gross sales.
“There’s been sufficient unbiased vacationers and folks come into city which have the time to return in and be taught what we’re doing” says Michener. “They’re not simply dashing in for 5 minutes and attempting to get a trinket to take house. They’re studying what we do And so we’ve had higher gross sales with unbiased vacationers this summer time than we’ve ever had with a cruise ship summer time. “
However for Darcy and Jim Michener, the best payoff isn’t the financial achieve, however sharing their love of salt with the world, as a result of as Jim places it, “good salt makes a distinction.”
— to www.kcaw.org