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Man Makes 14-Hour Boat Trips Every Week To Feed His Entire City

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 17 May 2020 19:06
Man Makes 14-Hour Boat Trips Every Week To Feed His Entire CityMan Makes 14-Hour Boat Trips Every Week To Feed His Entire CityToshcoAlaska/Facebook

A supermarket owner in a remote Alaskan area which is only accessible by boat or plane has gone the extra mile – literally – to supply food to his community during the current health crisis.

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Toshua Parker owns Icy Strait Wholesale in Gustavus and has been voyaging weekly boat trips to Juneau, 50 miles away, to stock up on essential food and supplies from Costco.

It takes Toshua and his staff around 14 hours to complete the trip on a 96-foot long former military landing craft.

Gustavus, which borders Glacier Bay National Park, is made up of just 450 residents – and the only place to shop for food is Toshua’s supermarket, which has been nicknamed ToshCo by locals.

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Usually, Toshua can rely on his food and supplies by shipped over from Costco on the state’s ferry system. However, these trips are no longer running as a result of storm damage to the dock and the current pandemic.

So, in order to keep his community fed, Toshua decided the only thing to do was to take matters into his own hands and go get the supplies himself.

He told CNN:

It’s funny because for us, this doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Alaskans are fiercely independent and resourceful; you really have to be to survive here. So, when a problem arises, we don’t typically look to someone else for help, we just find a way to do it.

With the help of his employees and local fishermen, Toshua has been making the trips to the mainland once a week since March, organising them around the weather and the tides.

There, they buy supplies from Costco and load them onto the boat, before setting back off toward Gustavas. However, there have been a couple of times where a storm has hit on their return, and they’ve been forced to head back to Juneau, unload the groceries into a cooler and then wait until it’s safe to re-load and set off once again.

Man Makes 14-Hour Boat Trips Every Week To Feed His Entire CityMan Makes 14-Hour Boat Trips Every Week To Feed His Entire CityToshcoAlaska/Facebook
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Toshua has praised his staff for ‘going to work every day during this pandemic to make sure our town stays supplied’, adding that his city will always find means of survival.

‘The town needed to be supplied with groceries so we just did whatever it took to make that happen. Just another day in our world,’ he said. ‘Next year it will be another obstacle to overcome and we’ll buck up and deal with it.’

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Life, Alaska, Costco, Food, Gustavus, Icy Strait Wholesale

Credits

CNN
  1. CNN

    This Alaskan man is making a 14-hour boat trip to Costco every week to supply his small city with groceries amid the pandemic