Growing Business in Alaska’s Premier Wilderness
Shearwater Cove stands out as a lodging getaway due to its magical location on the east side of Resurrection Bay and because it was hand-built from the ground up. Jason Wilson and Charity Lehman built Shearwater Cove with the dream of providing a high quality, remote glamping experience for independent travelers to Seward, Alaska. They created a space where people could be secluded and surrounded by wilderness without having to give up conventional comforts like running water, a shower, heat, and a luxurious bed.
Shearwater Cove is located 10 miles by water from Seward, so all of the building supplies had to be transported by boat and hauled into position. First open to the public in May 2016, Shearwater Cove has grown from one yurt to four as a labor of love.
Jason and Charity came to the Alaska SBDC in August 2022, looking for guidance on commercial borrowing in order to secure capital to expand their growing business. They were assisted by Seward Business Advisor KellyAnn Cavaretta who went through the same process with her vacation rental, also near Seward, just three years before. KellyAnn used ProfitCents, an advanced financial analysis program by Sageworks, to help Jason and Charity establish a budget for their project and determine viability.
Connections with lenders were initiated from the SBDC referral list and the clients selected a program that was best suited for their expansion project. KellyAnn guided them through the process, often pulling from her direct experience, to ensure the best outcome. In the end, Shearwater Cove secured a loan to grow their flourishing business.
On her experience working with the Alaska SBDC, Charity Lehman shared, “When Jason and I decided to expand operations, we knew that we would need the help of bank financing. This was our first time applying for a commercial loan and it was difficult to know where to start. I am so glad I reached out to the SBDC because KellyAnn got us right into her office and wasted no time crunching numbers with our historical and projected financial models to see if our business was eligible to apply.”
With KellyAnn’s guidance, Shearwater Cove confirmed they were ready to take this next step in their small business journey. Lehman continued, saying that throughout the application process, “KellyAnn continued to check in on our progress and offer guidance. Alaska SBDC’s time and resources were essential to our success in establishing a relationship with the bank and securing the financing that we needed for this expansion. KellyAnn was, and continues to be, an amazing resource to small businesses in Seward.”
With the help of the Alaska SBDC, Shearwater Cove is excited to announce they are expanding accommodations in 2023 to include three new yurts. The new yurts will be larger than the others, and each will have a premier waterfront view. This will increase their capacity to host groups of up to 28 people, providing opportunities for retreats, weddings, and tour groups. A common space is also being added to host whatever group activities are needed, such as wedding ceremonies, yoga sessions, or classroom time.
In addition, building these yurts will create new trails and scenic views for all of Shearwater Cove’s guests to enjoy, and the common space will enable folks traveling separately to mingle and explore. Construction begins in spring 2023 and will be completed by early 2024. Shearwater Cove looks forward to welcoming group travel in May 2024.
If you are interested in learning more about Shearwater Cove, check out their website at www.shearwatercove.com or connect with them on Instagram.