Beautiful New Chapel for Weddings and Gatherings in Ester, Alaska
Birch Leaf Chapel, located in the small Alaskan community of Ester, is a beautiful modern chapel built with old world craftsmanship and care by owners Denise and Chris Akert to be a place of community gathering and inspiration. Three years in the making, the Akerts exercised a wealth of patience and determination as they planned the design and selected the most accomplished local artisans. It took 16 local craftsmen led by Chris to complete the chapel’s excavation, foundation and construction while Denise designed and built the one-of-a-kind stained glass windows.
Early on in their planning, the Akerts met with Russ Talvi at the Alaska Small Business Development Center. Chris currently owns and operates an excavation business and Denise is retiring after a nursing career so the chapel and special events venue was a new and exciting venture for them. Denise had spent years planning and imagining the business and knew that Russ would be able to help her bring it to life. Russ walked them through the planning process as they worked through the financial projections for the startup costs, carefully chose the artisans and contractors who helped them build the Chapel, chose the business name, completed the required licensing and finally opened their doors.
“Russ Talvi provided us with very helpful information to navigate us from start to finish. Starting with writing up a business plan to providing us with written material as well as one on one meetings,” said Denise.
Birch Leaf Chapel was truly a labor of love that has been quickly well received by the community who helped build it. Upon opening, it was featured in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner and since then has hosted several local events and concerts. The Chapel can sit up to 30 people and is available for small wedding ceremonies, memorial services, concerts and recitals and open year around. Although there is no running water, there is a heated outhouse and parking equipped with plug-ins for those cold nights. More information can be found via their website or Facebook page.