Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Business Briefs


March 14, 2019

Juneau-based firm buys local accounting business

Bengie’s Business Services changed hands after nearly two decades under Bengie Stuart. In February, Stuart sold her business to a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm based in Juneau, Elgee Rehfeld LLC. The firm is currently interviewing candidates to find a full-time staff person for their new office, Bob Rehfeld, one of the firm’s five partners, said this week.

Elgee Rehfeld has been in business since 1983, providing tax, accounting and audit services statewide, though Rehfeld said it primarily serves local residents and small business owners.

The firm plans to pick up where Stuart left off. “We notified Bengie’s clients that we had purchased her business and we were interested in continuing to work with them,” Rehfeld said.

Stuart retired after almost 57 years at the same job. She purchased the business when her boss was selling in 2000, she said. “I’m going to be 67, so I wanted to have some time,” she said. Stuart plans to stay in Haines.

Until Elgee Rehfeld hires a new accountant for Haines, Rehfeld encourages interested clients to stop by their Juneau office.

“The face-to-face business interactions are really important and we appreciate that,” he said. “Until we get that office running, anybody that wants to come by that’s in town, we’re only two blocks from the airport.”

Restorative massage offers 'targeted' massage

Haines Bodywork and Restorative Massage surpasses relaxation and offers personally tailored massage therapy sessions to relieve stress, pain, joint tension, nerve damage and traumatic stress, owner Rachel Saitzyk said.

“The idea is using targeting massage to go beyond relaxation and push the body and nervous system towards healing,” Saitzyk said.

“The brain and nerves and spine are major connected passages throughout the body so this (massage technique) opens a dialogue between the nervous system and the body,” she said.

Originally from New Jersey, Saitzyk is the third generation of career massage therapists in her family behind her grandfather and her father. She is a trained professional with seven years of experience in bodywork, she said.

“A lot of my clients in New Jersey were my dad or my grandpa’s old clients,” she said.

From her father, who died in 2015, Saitzyk learned empathy.

“Literally,” she said. “Being able to feel what’s happening in the tissues in someone else’s body in what I’d call a microscopic way is something that takes years to develop, but having the cues from somebody that spent a career doing it was helpful.”

Saitzyk is trained in various methods of massage and said she applies techniques on a case-specific basis. She also induces relaxation and healing through music, lighting candles and turning on her massage table warmer.

“The idea is to reduce as many distractive stimuli as possible,” she said.

Haines Bodywork and Restorative Massage operates in the Body IQ yoga studio or in-home calls by appointment, Saitzyk said. She is available seven days a week at $65 an hour. To book a massage, call Rachel at 201-264-4139.

Foundroot offers locally grown seeds

A Haines company offering seeds adapted to Alaskan climate is selling six locally grown varieties.

“This is the first year we’re offering seed we’ve grown ourselves,” Foundroot’s Nick Schlosstien, who operates the company with his wife, Leah Wagner, said. Previously, the couple sold seeds sourced from 30 different farms across the nation, though they said their intention has always been to produce enough seeds to sell from their own garden.

The seeds are bred in a process called open pollination, a traditional method that ensures each will produce the same plant as before, Schlosstien said. The varieties are bred to thrive with short seasons, early ripening and long daylight hours.

Foundroot’s most popular item?

“The whippersnapper was our big success this year,” Schlosstien said, describing a tomato plant that is small and productive. The whippersnapper, currently out of stock, is increasingly hard to find in most seed catalogs from southern states, where gardeners have more appealing options for their weather conditions, Schlosstien said.

“One of the reasons we started this company is most seed catalogs are from down south and have varieties that are popular (there),” he said. “(Farmers there) are selecting for things like, if you live in Wisconsin and you still have hot summers.”

Schlosstien said that Foundroot customers can trust that their products are tried and true for the local Alaskan climate.

“You can know that if you’re buying seeds from us, it’s some of the best variety for up here,” he said. “We’ve been able to keep all varieties that people like and might not be able to find anywhere else.”

Apart from the whippersnapper, Foundroot’s local selection includes: White Russian kale, Dwarf Grey Sugar pea, Early Frosty pea, Syvletta arugula and German chamomile. Seeds are three dollars per packet.

According to a company press release, Foundroot was the first seed company in Alaska to sign the Safe Seed Pledge through the Council for Responsible Genetics, which encourages customers to start seed-saving practices of their own. Since they began six years ago, Foundroot has sent seeds to more than 60 different Alaskan communities.

For purchase, visit There is an option for local pickup in Haines at no additional cost.

Sockeye Cycle adds brewery tour

Sockeye Cycle has added a new tour to their roster: Bike Brew, a five-mile ride that will take visitors on a hike, bike ride and then to the Haines Brewing Company for a tasting.

“Brew tours are becoming popular,” owner Thom Ely said. “It just made sense to have one here in Haines.”

The tour will take visitors out to hike the Battery Point trail. Afterward, they will ride to Picture Point and then to the Haines Brewing Company. Visitors at the tasting room will be limited to 15 oz. of beer.

On Tuesday, assembly members unanimously approved the new tour after concerns were addressed about biking after consuming alcohol. “It’s a pretty normal thing for cyclists to go to eating and drinking places,” assembly member Heather Lende said.

Haines Borough police chief Heath Scott said he had no concerns with the tour because the brewery’s tasting house classification limits the amount they can legally serve to customers.

Haines Brewing Company limits customers to 36 oz., or three glasses of beer, per day. Company manager Dustin Craney said that the bike-and-brew tour will limit customers to three 5 oz. samples, or one full beer.

“It’s just a sample of local product and then you have a half mile bike ride back to our shop from there,” Craney said.

Craney said that guides are always equipped with radios and in contact with the base in case a customer can’t ride for any reason and needs to be picked up.

The company website lists the tour at $149, including the cost of beer.

The tour will last about four hours and is limited to eight customers and one departure a day, with a maximum capacity of 350 customers annually. Operations will begin in May, Ely said.


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