Kenai Freight Forwarders was born out of sheer necessity. Operating their children’s store, Little Alaskan, Mike and Shelby Oden grappled with shipping hurdles, as more and more sellers in the Lower 48 began to stop shipping to Alaska. When their primary shipping service ceased operations, the Odens decided to take matters into their own hands, diving headfirst into the freight forwarding industry. In just its first year, Kenai Freight Forwarders has experienced tremendous growth, as local businesses and consumers have come to rely on it.
Kenai Freight Forwarders is not just another shipping company; they are a business built with others in mind. What really sets them apart is their unique offerings, which include a simple and transparent pricing structure, making it easy for clients to estimate shipping costs and a low minimum charge approach, making even small shipments feasible and cost-effective.
Competitors have a minimum charge well over $100, which does not make sense for smaller items, but Kenai Freight Forwarders is able to meet consumer requirements with a more agile pricing structure.
The road to success is seldom without challenges, but having a guiding hand can make all the difference. This is where the Alaska Small Business Development Center stepped in. The Odens worked with Kenai Peninsula Center Director, Cliff Cochran, from the very start, to ensure the best start for their newest business. Cliff didn’t just offer generic business advice; he worked closely with the Odens to analyze the numbers, ensuring the feasibility of their idea. It wasn’t about just starting a business; it was about laying the foundations of a successful, long-term venture. In the words of the Kenai Freight Forwarders team, “It’s one thing to have an idea, but having someone like Cliff help us see the numbers and the reality was invaluable. His insights gave us the confidence to dive into this new venture headfirst.”
On his work with the Odens starting Kenai Freight Forwarders, Cliff shared, “This may have been one of the most exciting startups I’ve worked with recently, simply because there is such a need for this business model in our community. Working with entrepreneurs looking to become the first comers to the local market, we examine market size to determine feasibility. This business model applies to nearly everyone here, so it was just about helping Mike and Shelby determine the best configuration for both themselves and consumers. They’ve done a great job and I have personally found the service to be convenient and excellent.”
Off to a great start in 2023, Kenai Freight Forwarders is constantly innovating. Their plans for introducing a 24/7 pickup option for small items are underway, ensuring even greater convenience for the residents of the Kenai Peninsula. The business is expanding its horizons, accepting larger shipments for other Alaskan areas, and dreaming of setting up warehouses across Alaska. Their success hasn’t just been about profits; KFF takes pride in giving back, supporting local organizations like the Kenai Little League and Kenai High Football Team, as well as sponsoring local events.
From the discouragement of items not shipped to Alaska to the start of a revolutionary freight forwarding company, Kenai Freight Forwarders’ journey is a testament to innovation, resilience, and the power of strategic guidance. Their collaboration with the Alaska SBDC played a pivotal role, showcasing that with the right support, even the most challenging situations can be transformed into thriving success stories.
If you are interested in learning more about Kenai Freight Forwarders, check out their website at www.kenaifreightforwarders.com on Instagram. Kenai Freight Forwarders is located at 11472 Kenai Spur Hwy Unit H, Kenai, AK 99611.