Small business winners showcase region’s bounty

Local sustainable businesses featuring delicious cider, eco-adventure, tasty smoked salmon and healthy local tea and snacks were the winners from the 4th Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition announced at the l competition award ceremony on March 28, at Olympic Theatre Arts in Sequim.

The winners were part of a cohort of 13 entrepreneurs who participated in an intensive training at Olympic Natural Resources Center and received four months of business training and support from the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Enterprise for Equity.

Two Hooligans Cider, based in Sequim, won the $10,000 Sustainability Award. The company, started by Jaiden Dokken and Mackenzie Grinnell, will take local, often under-used, apples and turn them into delicious hard and sparkling ciders, thus creating both jobs and the cider to enjoy after a hard day’s work.

Peninsula Adventure Sports, based in Port Angeles, won the $5,000 Impact Award. Under the direction of Lorrie Mittmann, it produces high-quality outdoor sports events that showcase the natural beauty and ecological diversity of the Olympic Peninsula. There is great local economic impact as hundreds of participants travel in for the event, generating business for hotels, restaurants and suppliers.

Two businesses, Sacred Waters Fish Company and Goodness Tea., split the $5,000 Community Award.

Sacred Waters Fish Company, run by Hugh Ahnatook and Paige Coleman and based in Bay Center near South Bend, produces small-batch artisan smoked salmon products. While making delicious smoked salmon, Sacred Waters looks to expand their impact by paying fair trade prices to Native fishermen and initiating small market opportunities.

Goodness Tea, run by Shaelee Evans in Sequim, creates sustainable local industry by crafting teas which feature ingredients that thrive in our climate, and snacks, like fruit-leather and veggie-chips which use local produce at its peak. Goodness Tea champions innovative and sustainable solutions to challenges across the food production and farming industry.

The awards were sponsored by Quinault Indian Nation, Key Bank, Bank of the Pacific, Washington Department of Commerce, Sound Community Bank and Umpqua Bank.

“The workshop was huge,” Jaiden says. “It was good to actually wipe the apple juice off our hands and come inside to work on the computer.” They also discovered that conservation and sustainability are templates for other Washington coast small businesses, too. “The Coast Works contest was a really cool way to put a name to what we were doing,” says Jaiden.

Two Hooligans will use the money for a high-volume cider mill (they’ve been hand pressing their cider on borrowed equipment), used kegs, and a bottle washing machine. In addition to hard cider, they plan to produce a sparkling, non-alcoholic cider, unique on the Peninsula. Their goal is 1,200 gallons of Two Hooligans cider on tap by December 2019.

This year marks Coast Works competition’s fourth year. “Coast Works is a great way for The Nature Conservancy to invest in communities for lasting conservation,” says Garrett Dalan, Washington Coast Community Relations Manager for the Conservancy, which leads the Coast Works initiative. “It looks to support and inspire entrepreneurs and triple bottom line businesses along the Washington Coast.” By “triple bottom line,” Garrett refers to three complementary goals of resource-based, sustainable businesses: Profit, People, and Place.