The Associated General Contractors of Alaska logo
Member Profile
Alaska Garden and Pet
AGC member since: 12/8/09
The Associated General Contractors of Alaska logo
Member Profile
Alaska Garden and Pet
AGC member since: 12/8/09
Red storefront that looks like a barn with Alaska Mill Feed and Garden Center in white on the front
Alaska Mill and Feed began as Don’s Chemical Company in 1950, then changed its name to Alaska Mill and Feed in 1958. The company opened a wholesale distribution business under the name Alaska Garden & Pet in the ‘90s.

Photo provided by Jesse Rosenstein

Thirteen Trademarks and Counting
Formulating products for Alaskans since 1954
By Tracy Barbour

laska Garden and Pet Supply, Inc. prides itself on offering everything for pets and plants. Located in Anchorage, the wholesale distributor manufactures a variety of quality products from animal feed and fertilizers to ice melt and bird seed. It also distributes pet food and supplies, garden, erosion control, and agri-business supplies.

Being an Associated General Contractors member aligns with the company’s values. “We appreciate AGC’s focus on safety, education, and setting quality standards,” says Senior Vice President Kimberly McCourtney. “AGC also provides us great opportunities to build connections with industry partners throughout the state of Alaska.”

Alaska Garden and Pet Supply is the parent company of Alaska Mill and Feed and Garden Center, Inc. and operates a 10,000-square-foot retail store with a plethora of farm and garden products, as well as a fertilizer blending plant. Alaska Mill and Feed is the face of the company; Alaska Garden and Pet Supply is the workhorse. “Whether it’s our wholesale or retail operation, our mission is to give good customer advice, fair pricing, and quality, local products,” McCourtney says.

That philosophy has made AGC member company Jolt Construction and Traffic Maintenance a satisfied customer of Alaska Garden and Pet Supply for more than twenty years. “I think they are the most experienced and knowledgeable supplier in our industry,” says Jolt Project Manager Jordan Cole. “Their unique knowledge of Alaska’s construction industry allows them to supply us with the best possible solutions to meet our project needs.” Alaska Garden and Pet Supply takes great pride in its revegetation package (grass seed, fertilizer, mulch) for projects across the state.

Rich History
Alaska Mill and Feed has come a long way since it was founded in 1950 in the home of Don Donatello, a chemical engineer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, alumnus. Originally named Don’s Chemical Company, the small family business made bleach cleaners and waxes, distributing them to the local school district and private companies.

In 1958, Don’s Chemical changed its name to Alaska Mill and Feed and began making tallow and soap. In 1964, it built a US Food and Drug Administration-regulated feed mill and continued to grow, adding Alaska Garden and Pet Supply in 1970, the fertilizer plant in 1978, and the wholesale distribution component in 1990. Over the years, Alaska Mill and Feed has amassed loyal customers who appreciate its niche products and services—which include free home delivery for qualifying orders.

Arial view of Alaska Mill Feed store showing a garden center in the back
Alaska Mill and Feed Garden Center operates a 10,000-square-foot retail store with a plethora of farm and garden products.

Photo provided by Kevin Goodman

“We have some customers that have been in the state as long as we have, and they still refer to us as Don’s Chemical,” McCourtney says.

For its exemplary products and services, Alaska Mill and Feed has received the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Gold Pan Award for Small Business Excellence. In 2016, it received the Alaska Manufacturer of the Year Award from the State of Alaska. Its history of excellence dates back to the beginning when Donatello earned President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 US Small Business Man of the Year Award.

Products for Alaskans
Alaska Garden and Pet Supply creates unique products that use local ingredients and benefit Alaska overall.

“We are crafting formulations that we know are needed here and service our market,” McCourtney says. “The revenue stays here in the state, provides jobs, and helps the economy. It’s a full circle.”

The company produces thirteen trademarked brands at its facilities in Anchorage. The brands include Arctic Melt, which includes residential Denali Melt, commercial-grade Chinook Ice Melt, and pet-friendly 4Paws Ice Melt; Arctic Wild Bird wild bird seed; Arctic Gro, which includes residential and commercial grass seed and fertilizers; Alaska Lawn Mix, a residential grass seed blend; Alaska Custom Wildflower Mix; and Alaska Mill and Feed Animal Feed.

In the summer, its erosion control and revegetation products are critical—especially for customers like the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, or DOT&PF, which completes projects statewide.

“We work with Alaska DOT&PF to make sure they have the appropriate seed mix for the right area,” says Steve Rooke, a commercial sales team member and Company Culture legacy employee.

Alaska Mill and Feed’s feed mill and warehouse facility, red building with tall white building and grain silos in the background
Alaska Mill and Feed’s feed mill and warehouse facility is where some of the company’s thirteen different trademarked products are produced.

Photo provided by Kimberly McCourtney

Company Culture
Having locally made, high-quality products, fair pricing, and knowledgeable staff with integrity helps to differentiate Alaska Mill and Feed. So does being 100-percent employee owned. In 2016, the company established an employee stock ownership plan that has enhanced the corporate culture for its 75-plus employees.

“Everything we do daily has an impact on the success of the company,” says Marketing Director Brooke Martell. “Employee ownership creates a greater sense of engagement with the staff.”

Giving back to the community is also a significant component of the company’s culture. Alaska Mill and Feed—which pays its employees to volunteer—supports numerous organizations, including Bean’s Café, Future Farmers of America, 4-H, and many other local community pet, garden, and service organizations.

“We not only give of ourselves and monetary support for the community but provide support for future agriculture research for the state,” McCourtney says.

Tracy Barbour is a freelance writer and former Alaskan who lives in Tennessee.