Meet Our Entrepreneurs

Bill Ho’Opai

Bill Ho’Opai

Meet Bill. In 2014, when an ACLT-owned building became available in the heart of Mountain View, we partnered with Bill to make his dream of starting and owning Anchorage’s first German restaurant, West Berlin, come true.

Flash forward to 2018. Despite being a Mountain View staple, West Berlin wanted to market itself city-wide. Lacking name recognition throughout Anchorage, and without having a brand identity, it was easily overlooked by people who didn’t already frequent the neighborhood.

In partnership with Alopex Interaction Design, we helped Bill craft a new logo inspired by Berlin’s Bauhaus art movement. Once the identity was created, we got to work repainting and installing new signage that brings Bill’s new vision to life -- including a soon-to-be iconic neon pretzel sign, to remind everyone where the best pretzels in the city live!

Chrystel Bankhead

Chrystel Bankhead

Meet Chrystel. Chrystel was born and raised in Anchorage, and was a young mother supporting two households who always dreamed of making a difference in her community. Chrystel had long dreamed of starting a child transportation service to ensure safe and affordable transportation options for Anchorage youth. Though she had always worked hard to be self-sufficient, finding the money to start her own business was difficult.

Chrystel graduated from the Set Up Shop training program in November of 2018, and immediately began working with ACLT to make her dream of launching Alaska Kid Cruiser a reality. ACLT connected Chrystel to business assistance services including consultation with the Alaska Bar Association for legal help, Premier Tours for fleet advice, Lucid DMS for website work, and Tasha Webster for logo and branding.

When she was ready, ACLT provided Chrystel with the loan she needed to purchase her first vehicle to get her business on the road. She is now the proud owner and operator of Alaska Kid Cruiser, serving youth across Anchorage!

Soledad Lescas & Manuel Bautista

Soledad & Manuel

Meet Soledad & Manuel. Soledad & Manuel had long been staples to the Anchorage farmers’ market scene, growing and selling fresh produce and cottage goods throughout the city. Though they ran a good business during summer months, they wanted to extend their business throughout the fall and winter seasons.

The couple, who immigrated from Oaxaca and have made Anchorage their home for 20 years, decided to begin catering their traditional Oaxacan fare at local events.

ACLT assisted them through the permitting and licensing process to become official Fur Rendezvous vendors, where they were received with huge success. When their farm space became compromised, they began farming on ACLT’s Grow North Farm, ensuring they could grow, sell, and cater all on the same site.

You can now catch Ba-Lesca’s Brothers produce & catering on Grow North Farm, and across the city of Anchorage- we recommend the rhubarb tamales!

Eva Perry

Eva Perry

Meet Eva. Eva is a military veteran of over 20 years, and an advocate on behalf of the Mountain View neighborhood. She is also the successful proprietor of Eva’s Cupcakery, a neighborhood staple cupcake shop in the heart of Mountain View.

Eva sold her cupcakes each week at the ACLT-run Mountain View Farmers’ Market, and it was through this relationship we learned that Eva wished to grow her business by adding espresso, to create the café that residents in Mountain View long desired.

In order to do this, Eva needed access to reasonable capital without damaging her business cash flow. Even as a retired veteran and minority woman and the owner of a well-established business, Eva was unable to get traditional financing for upgrading her shop. ACLT found an opportunity where others didn’t, and in 2016, ACLT lent her the money she needed to grow. This marked our very first Set Up Shop loan, and the inspiration for the future of the program.

ACLT has continued to partner with Eva in the long-term, working with a local designer to craft her a new website allowing her to process online orders and direct increased traffic to her shop. Now, Eva has repaid her microloan, and her example is a guide for the future of Anchorage.

Change is inspired when kids walk home from school along streets, surrounded on each side by successful small businesses.

As they observe their neighbors through shop windows, living out their dreams, they are reminded that anything is possible through hard work and collaboration.

Like the ones you see here, those entrepreneurs become role models and resident leaders. By empowering local entrepreneurs, our neighborhood commercial corridors can lift families and communities alike.