Unalaskan Wins $20,000 For Recreation Startup

May 1, 2017

Doanh Thi Tran of Unalaska has won the 2017 Aleutian Marketplace competition, which provides seed money for businesses in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.
Credit Zoe Sobel/KUCB

Starting next summer, Unalaskans will able to rent jet skis and hire tour guides to show them the island’s waterfalls and wildlife. At least, that’s the vision of Doanh Thi Tran.

Tran won a regional business competition last week and earned $20,000 for her startup, the Bering Breeze Company.

“It’s a new recreation equipment company that will provide jet skis, bicycles, paddle boards, and paddle boats — fun things for local Unalaskans and anybody just passing through town," she said.

Tran said her company will also offer package tours to teach visitors about the culture of the Unangan people, the World War II history of the island, and more.

Her goal is to provide opportunities for people to get outside and explore the island.

“There is a shortage of things to do in Unalaska, aside from working," said Tran "The bars get a lot of customers, but this will be another recreation activity for people who have time for something fun but may not be able to afford the equipment.”

Right now, it’s unclear how much Tran will charge for rentals and tours or where she’ll store the equipment.

Tran grew up in Unalaska and now lives in Seattle. She plans to travel back and forth over the next year as she fine-tunes her business plan and raises more capital to buy equipment.

She beat out seven competitors to win the 2017 Aleutian Marketplace competition, sponsored by the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association and the Aleut Corporation.

Unalaskans Travis Swangel and Carlos Tayag were the other finalists.