Economic and Business Opportunities

Skagway’s development has evolved with the global economy by:

  • maintaining its historic links to the Pacific Rim and the West Coast;
  • exploring new routes to eastern and southern Asia; and
  • adding new and exciting shipping opportunities to Europe.

Skagway’s summer tourism industry has also continued to grow, in particular the cruise ship sector. Skagway cruise ship visits continue to increase with each passing year: from 43,000 passengers in 1983 to upwards of 900,000 by the end of 2008. This remains Skagway’s economic engine, although it is expected that bulk ore shipments will continue. Skagway is also strategically placed to be a major port during the construction of the Alaska Gas Pipe Line, McKenzie Valley Gas Pipe Line, and the Alaska-Canada Rail Link.

Well Placed Location

Skagway is located at the northern terminus of the Lynn Canal, the largest fjord in North America. This inter-modal transshipment hub provides a vital link between marine and highway transport into and out of Southeast Alaska, Yukon, and Northwest Arctic regions.

The port and highway offer year round connections and are the most cost effective shipping route north. The port provides a two day shipping advantage between the Yukon’s rich resource reserves and Pacific Rim and South Asian markets. The port also offers the opportunity to transship chilled fish, seafood products, and other value-added resources to Europe via Whitehorse International Airport.

The port also caters to a large fleet of cruise ships which visit Skagway from May to September. In 2014 there will be 30 ships making a total of 423 visits. These ships will bring to Skagway over 775,000 passengers and approximately 350,000 crew members. Annually there is over $100 million spent in Skagway.

Skilled and Qualified Workforce

The workforce in Skagway’s private sector is divided between the summer seasonal employees and the year round employees. The summer seasonal employees are very often college students working during their summer vacation and have a wide variety of skills. A growing trend is for older and retired folk coming to Skagway for the summer and working on a seasonal basis. The capabilities of this group are impressive and at the same time their training requirements are minimal.

The summer workforce is predominately based in the visitor retail and tours sectors. This seasonal workforce is approximately three times the year round population. The services that these seasonal businesses provide are vital to the cruise and independent visitors that visit Skagway.

The public sector plays a significant role in the Skagway community, especially in the winter. Local, State, and Federal employees make up almost 35% of the winter workforce. Skagway’s winter economy is considerably slower than that in the summer, although, the total number of employed has increased significantly since 2000. These numbers probably reflect the robust winter construction industry as the commercial retail center continues to expand to meet growing demand.

Cooperative Business Climate

The economic climate is robust and conducive to business. There are over 300 business licenses issued in Skagway each year generating over $100 million. The potential for economic expansion in Skagway is significant with a corresponding return on your investment.

One of Skagway’s major draws is its downtown Historic District. This is the main retail district in Skagway and generates a considerable portion of the community’s total revenue each year. The Historic District covers a 14 block area and sees over one million visitors each year.

Business Locations for Lease – Contacts

National Park Service – Commercial Rental Space, 907-983-2921

Dennis Corrington – Commercial Rental Space, 907-983-3089 or 314-308-4774 (mobile),

Jewell Enterprises – Residential and Commercial Rental Space, 907-983-2688

Frank Deramo – Commercial Rental Space, 907-758-4366,

Karl Klupar – Commercial Rental Space, 610-745-1859,

Sunbird Properties, LLC – Commercial and Residential Space, 513-675-3936

Trish Magee, Commercial Space available for Lease for 2013 at 636 Broadway (across from the Post Office), 907-612-0083,

Potential Business Opportunities

Following is a list of business opportunities and niches that at present are not provided for in Skagway. These are ideas that have been mentioned by members of the business community and residents.

Light Manufacturing
Cold Storage/Ice Plant
Transshipment Services
Storage and Warehousing
Winter Based Tourism
Bank/Credit Union
Western Union Agent
Marine Services including:
Repairs and Servicing of Gas Engines,
Outdrives & Outboards
Marine Detailing
Canvas Work
Marine Upholstery
Small Boat Building
Cottage Industries
Arts and Crafts based Ventures
Commercial Art
Administrative Services
Housing Development
Electrical Contractors
Software Development
Software and Hardware Services
Computer Repairs