Racing Through Alaska

The 2017 Iditarod Ceremonial Start

The 45th Iditarod race is underway and Wildlife Trading Company was there again to support our partner, the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC).  By the time the race ends in Nome, our team will have operated 8 temporary shops in 3 cities, in addition to ITC’s headquarter and online and online stores.

I am proud to say we continue to achieve increases in year over year sales.

Early morning at the Ceremonial Start line in Anchorage.


During the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage, ITC CEO, Stan Hooley, mentioned in an interview that Wildlife Trading Company is “exploding” in Alaska and  I personally feel that to be a fair assessment.  We’re seeing great success in Alaska because so much about Alaska aligns with our strengths (agility, entrepreneurial spirit and customized relationships) and what’s important to Wildlife Trading Company — the celebration of nature, wildlife and culture.

“Wildlife Trading Company is exploding in Alaska.”

~ Stan Hooley, CEO, Iditarod Trail Committee

Only a few weeks ago, I was able to bring my middle school-aged daughter with me 16684271_10212764055523247_4155413848466465170_nfrom Connecticut to visit the Iditarod headquarters and attend the annual Alaska Marine Gala, hosted by another of our partners, the Alaska SeaLife Center.  She loved the beauty of the state and it gave me pride to show her the wonderful partners we have in Alaska.

Fast forward to last week when I brought an incredible team of employees from all over the U.S., including Florida, to brave the elements and pull off an amazing feat in support of the Iditarod.

One of our sales tents in Anchorage

For the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage, the team braved sub-zero  temperatures to set up tents at 5:00 a.m. along 4th Street in downtown Anchorage for the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod.  After the event, they loaded up a truck to drive seven hours to set up our operations in Fairbanks for the Official Restart in -31 degree weather.

A monumental feat, that obtained great results!

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Cell phone screen shots of the temperature while setting up at the starting lines.

Many of our team are preparing to travel to Nome to operate our store at the finish line.  I’m proud of the hard work that everyone put in to make this year’s race a resounding success.  However, I am more excited about how well everyone worked together with a positive attitude through such tough conditions.  Their passion for the Iditarod showed and they took time to immerse themselves into Alaska’s nature and culture.

One night, after one of the events, we were able to go out to view and photograph the Northern Lights.  They were beautiful and, for some, it was a bucket list experience.

The Northern Lights Outside Anchorage, Photo by James Ward

Having Partnerships outside of the continental U.S. can be a challenge for some.  At a minimum, you need to have strong operations, employees with unmatched experience and you need to have senior management there, in person, on a regular basis.

However to do it right, you also need to have a team with passion and a strong belief in the company and be blessed enough to work with partners who share a common vision with yours… all elements of our success.

From left to right:  James Ward (President & CEO, WTC), Chas St. John (COO, ITC), Lisa Baptista (Business Development Manager, WTC), Stan Hooley (CEO, ITC)

Is Wildlife Trading Company exploding in Alaska?  You bet.  But we’re exploding elsewhere too, as we now operate in 10 countries across North America, the Caribbean and Europe.

We truly are the right sized partner for achieving results.

Stay tuned.

Note:  We’re preparing a video that highlights what we do in Alaska and will update this blog when when it is completed.