Barnacle, Sealaska Partnership Drives Strong Communities and Ocean Health
Thursday, April 16, 2020
An investment in Alaska-based food company Barnacle is Sealaska’s latest step toward building a business portfolio that aligns with the twin goals of economic prosperity and environmental protection.
Barnacle, the first food business to manufacture and create products with bull kelp, celebrates local ingredients, creates markets and jobs, and invites customers into what makes Alaska magical. By manufacturing products close to where ingredients are sourced, the company uses fewer resources and keeps the value local.
“A deep reverence for this place and sharing its story is a part of our company culture,” said Barnacle partner Lia Heifetz. “It started with a passion for the wild foods that we have in Southeast Alaska, and for sharing those foods and the stories of the people and places behind them.”
Barnacle’s first intersection with Sealaska came in 2016, when founders Matt Kern and Heifetz won a Path to Prosperity business competition run by Spruce Root, the Southeast Alaska community development organization that launched in 2012 with seed money from Sealaska.
Now, four years later, Barnacle operates in a new Juneau facility and supplements the three partners with two year-round staffers and up to five more seasonal workers in the summertime. In addition to salsa, kelp hot sauce and pickles, the company offers dried seasonings made from kelp’s dehydrated fronds. Barnacle has introduced a line of jams and jellies that showcase local blueberries, rhubarb and spruce tips – “the flavors of Alaska,” according to Max Stanley, Kern and Heifetz’ partner in the business.
“Barnacle fits with who we are,” said Sealaska president and CEO Anthony Mallott. “Our shared values make this much more than a financial partnership. The intangible benefits of working and growing together will be widespread and impactful – here in Alaska and elsewhere.”
Sealaska’s investment will enable Barnacle to grow, expand its impact and – its founders hope – ultimately become a household name and staple in pantries and kitchens everywhere. All while cherishing Southeast Alaska’s beauty and bounty and improving health for people and the planet.
“Businesses can use what they have around them to do great things for communities and the environment,” Heifetz said. “We wanted to build a model that could be a tool for positive change in our little corner of the world, and beyond.”
The partnership will do more than simply enable Barnacle to grow production and expand into new markets.
“We’re excited about Sealaska as a partner,” Stanley said. The association will enable Barnacle’s founders to learn from Sealaska’s other successful, sustainable food businesses, such as Orca Bay and Independent Packers. The partners also look forward to benefiting from senior management support. And connecting with Sealaska’s 23,000 shareholders could open new possibilities for sourcing ingredients and hiring talent.
Every two years, Sealaska conducts a shareholder survey to identify your priorities. Those priorities are the road map to our public policy work and help guide the shareholder benefits we are grateful to be able to provide through the success of our businesses. In 2021, Sealaska’s board and executive leadership launched what will be a …
As we welcome 2022, we at Sealaska have much to be grateful for. We end the year safe and successful, despite facing continued challenges and disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sealaska continues to prioritize the health of our employees and deeply appreciates their tireless efforts to maintain COVID precautions while working to achieve business growth and enhance shareholder benefits. We also give thanks to our …
Sealaska is saddened to learn that Gilbert “Gil” Gunderson passed away, Dec. 22. Sealaska sends its heartfelt condolences to the Gunderson family and all those who so dearly loved Gil, for their loss. Gil served as a director on Sealaska’s board from 1972 to 1987. He was a known throughout Southeast Alaska as a commercial …
Gunalchéesh, Háw’aa, T’oya̱xsut ‘nüüsm for joining us today! This year, Sealaska had two opportunities for shareholders to win cash prizes: All shareholders who attended the virtual event via MySealaska.com were automatically entered to win $15,000 in cash prizes. All voting shareholders whether in attendance at the virtual event or not were eligible for $20,000 in …
As Police Chief, Ed Mercer is the highest-ranking member of the Juneau Police Department. He has served as Juneau Police Chief since 2017. On December 14, 2021, Chief Mercer was presented the 2021 AFN President’s Award for Public Service. The award recognizes an Alaska Native who demonstrates dedication, competence, and sensitivity in public service. “Sealaska is proud of Chief Mercer’s dedication to community and …