Teelands Mercantile at 405 E Herning Ave, Wasilla, Alaska is a historic building that has a rich history in the Matanuska Valley development. That building now serves as a restaurant and meeting place for locals, but will soon be a retail outlet for gourmet chocolates, produced by its owner Kyle Beus. Kyle and Sandy Beus plan to create a specialty foods production and retail business, modeled after their highly successful store in Washington. This time, they will be producing and marketing in Alaskaís Matanuska Valley.
Starting with specialty candies, Teelands Mercantile will debut pecan bobs, toffee, clusters and turtles (like you've never seen or tasted before) prior to the holiday season. Just in time for gift giving, Teelands plans a small grand opening to debut its specialty branded foods. While Teelands will retail these fine candies, they will also be available to gift shops and high-end resellers throughout Alaska with custom products debuting next Spring for the Alaska tourism markets.
Kyle and Sandy will take their more then 6 years owning and operating a similar business to add ice-cream and specialty cheeses in early 2008. They are incentivized by both the market demands for these uniquely Alaskan products and by the need for a viable outlet for Alaska's raw milk.
The ice cream will be made of Alaskan milk and indigenous ingredients unique to Alaska. You'll have to wait for their debut to hear the variety of flavors, but we can tell you they've been testing flavors over the past year and have some terrific protypes. While the product will be available at Teelands, it will also be available to local retailers or food service companies. Kyle would also like to collaborate with those who have other specialty shops around Alaska who want to add an attraction of a dipping stand with these uniquely Alaskan ice creams.
The artisan cheeses will feature 6 to 10 flavors including cheddars, mozzarella and various Italian styles. He has already attended a recent artisan cheese making course in the mid-west and brought back favorites to share with some of his most discriminating customers. Like the candy and ice cream, the cheeses will have channels of distribution outside of the Teelands mercantile and some of the products will have a custom package and size. Kyle is planning to offer the assortment of cheeses in a "grab and go" package, targeted to the Alaskan visitor seeking a healthy alternative for an Alaskan snack or addition to their meal.
Kyle is busy staffing and setting up equipment to begin production, but stay tuned - we'll let you know the dates of each of the product launches.
Teelands Mercantile: 907 357-5633
Yes, the other new product soon to be coming from the Matanuska Valley - Alaska Natural Milk. A collaborative effort, by local producers, Rob Wells, the USDA and Purely Alaskan Bottled Water, this is a new production facility located in Palmer, Alaska. Alaska Natural Milk is the working title for a group of concerned agricultural citizens building a new outlet for high quality locally produced milk.
Rob Wells and Company is the recipient of a USDA grant that leverages existing resources and channels of production and distribution for an all Alaskan milk product. Wells owns a commercial greenhouse, is a former director of the Division of Agriculture, and currently sits on the Mat-Su Borough Assembly. Associated with his company are Bob Thom, plant consultant, and Karen Olson, start-up and marketing. Both Thom and Olson are former dairy farmers in both the Matanuska Valley and Point MacKenzie. Purely Alaskan Water, owned by Robert Gottstein, will be the contract bottler.
Soon, they will be processing and bottling local, natural milk, produced without artificial hormones, in quart and half-gallon containers. They are aiming for the shortest possible time from farm to shelf, from one to three days. By adding an efficient, modern processing line to Purely Alaskan Water's existing bottling line, they will be able to begin operating quickly with the least possible cost. They plan to begin accepting local raw milk the first quarter 2008.
What makes this unique? Alaska Natural Milk will be the first guaranteed all-local milk available in the Southcentral area in decades. For those monitoring the trends in milk, the growth of local, fresh and hormone free dairy products for Alaska consumers is exciting. This business model was designed to balance supply and production to accommodate for a sustainable income level to participating farms.
Alaskan Natural Milk is interested in placing their milk with outlets which will respect the unique qualities of the product. It is their intent to help the Alaska dairy industry rebuild, and explore even more quality avenues in the future, both in milk and other dairy products.
Contact number for Rob Wells is (907) 746-5585.