13th Annual Best in the West Competition

Winners awarded small business grants

by Teddi Worrock

After months of hard work in the thirteenth year of the Best in the West Business Competition, a grand total of $25,000 was awarded to businesses throughout the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. The awardees spent months attending virtual workshops to prepare their business plans to be scored by the judges. The Best in the West Business Competition partners thank the participants in the program and congratulate them on their awards!

This fall, be on the lookout for new products and businesses from our Best in the West winners below!

Studio 1

Winner Ashleigh Delgado, Bethel, AK 

Studio 1 officially opened August 3rd for business. They currently offer manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, eyelash extensions, hair color and styling, and bi-weekly rotational barbering for men. They prefer clients book online instead of calling the business. Book online! Located at 401 Ridgecrest Drive Bethel, Alaska 99559. Book online at www.studio1alaska.com, and facebook.com/studio1alaska.

A Little Leaven

Winner James Jaskowiak, Bethel, AK

This local bakery run by James Jaskowiak offers danishes and doughnuts to order! Currently operating in the Bethel Covenant Church, James hopes to open a brick-and-mortar storefront in the future. Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ALittleLeaven to place your order.

Alaska Native West Wind Products

Winners Teresa Paukan and Francis Beans, St. Mary’s, AK

Teresa and Francis gather moose antlers themselves and purchase from local harvesters in St. Mary’s, AK to create one-of-a-kind dog treats. Look for them on social media like Facebook and Instagram as they launch Alaska Native West Wind Products late fall 2021.

Kusko Credit Services

Winner Peter Evon, Bethel, AK

The mission of Kusko Credit Services is to provide a path for people to receive financial assistance and gain independence by offering reliable credit and budget educational services, repairing credit histories, and setting financial goals for a successful future. Look out for Kusko Credit Services launch in spring 2022!

Emcee’s Custom Shop

Winners Matthew Cholok and Bavilla Ayuluk, Chevak, AK

Matthew and Bavilla saw a need for a custom shop in their community of Chevak, AK. They are beginning to open their full-service and repair shop, but can currently take custom projects. Its mission is to offer quality service, repair, and fabrication that suits individual needs. Reach out to Matthew and Bavilla with your custom project in Chevak by emailing [email protected]

Quyana Café

Winner Adam London, Bethel, AK

Quyana Café is a Food Truck that provides employment skills training (the fancy wording is “Social Enterprise”). They are OPEN for business Tuesday-Saturday at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center parking lot at 420 Chief Eddie Hoffman Hwy! Swing by to grab a gourmet hot dog or a delicious frybread taco, a side of chips, or an ice cold drink. Visit Quyana Café SOON because the last day of the season is September 4th at the Bethel Fair. They will reopen May of 2022. Find them online at www.quyanacafe.com or at www.facebook.com/thequyanacafe. You can reach Adam London, the Program Director at [email protected] or 907-545-3225.

Hauly Wood

Winner Gabriel Nanok, Chevak, AK

Look out for Hauly Wood’s launch providing garbage hauling in the community of Chevak, AK!

Quantum Waters

Winner Corey Young, Bethel, AK

Quantum Waters hopes to purchase water ionizers and install them around the

Community of Bethel, AK to help evolve Bethel into a more environmentally-friendly place to

subsist off the land by eliminating plastics.

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The Best in the West partners would like to thank the sponsors for the competition’s thirteen-year success. This year’s sponsors included the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus, Bethel Community Services Foundation, Donlin Gold, Kuskokwim Art Guild, First National Bank Alaska, Crowley Fuels, Marina, Inc., Square, Inc., GCI, Calista Corporation, ConocoPhillips Alaska, and program partners University of Alaska Center for Economic Development, Alaska Growth Capital, and Association of Village Council Presidents. Thank you.