Best in the West Grants Go To Twelve YK Delta Small Businesses

Apr 12, 2017

Arctic Belle Boutique opened in November 2014 with help from a Best in the West award. This year owner of the consignment clothing boutique, Kate McWilliams, won another Best in the West Award which will go towards consignment software to help with inventory and accounting.
Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

Twelve area businesses have received startup funds from the Bethel Cultural Center's annual Best in the West competition.

In all, over $35,000 was awarded to support and encourage entrepreneurship in the YK Delta.   

2017 winners include:

  • Marlena Dhaemers, awarded $2,500 for Sandpiper Stitching.
  • Leslie Boelens, awarded $2,500 for Aniak Community Market.
  • Zhi Hastie, awarded $5,400 for Made With Love.
  • Caroline Hessler, awarded $250 for Caroline’s Creations.
  • Josh Howell, awarded $6,400 for Howell Mobile Truck and Equipment Repair.
  • Laura Karr, awarded $1,400 for Bethel Bookkeeping.
  • Michelle DeWitt, Eric Whitney, and Christina Desnoyers, awarded $3,400 for Salmon Cycles.
  • Kate McWilliams, awarded $2,425 for Arctic Belle Boutique.
  • Bill Howell, awarded $4,400 for Bill’s Meats.
  • Hannah Howell, awarded $250 for Sew Cool.
  • Gail Alstrom, awarded $2,900 for Eagles Nest Lodge.
  • David Beans, awarded $3,400 for Matty’s Truck Rental.

The Best in the West Competition is a partnership between local YK Delta businesses and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus' Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center.

The 2018 Best in the West competition opens for entries December 1, 2017.