During the school year, Lance Alldrin works as a guidance counselor at an alternative education high school. He spends his days behind a desk, helping wayward teenagers and working with probation officers and child protective services professionals.
But in the summer, he steps into a different line of workfishing for salmon near Kenai. And Alldrin can thank First National Bank Alaska's Escrow Department for getting him to the Last Frontier.
"It's great to go to Alaska and do something that's physical and primitive," said Alldrin, who lives in Chico, Calif. "It's just you against the ocean."
Alldrin operates a small fishing business with his three sons: Caleb, 19; Tim, 16; and Luke, 14. The enterpriseaptly named Alldrin and Sons Alaska Salmonis a dream come true for Alldrin, 49. He got "hooked" on fishing in the early 80s while working at a summer church camp in Alaska. His interest was rekindled in 2005 when he discovered a setnet operation for sale on eBay. The $35,000 package deal came with a shore fishery lease, an aluminum skiff, a commercial set net and other fishing gear.
First National Bank Alaska's Escrow Department facilitated the entire transaction for the Alaskan seller, holding the transfer documents and cash until the exchange was completed. For Alldrin, the bank provided an extra layer of security that gave him peace of mind.
"I'm getting to live my dream," said Alldrin, who has worked in the public education system for 20 years. "And First National has made obtaining that dream a little easier."
Alldrin's situation illustrates how First National provides creative solutions to help customers overcome the challenges of buyer-seller transactions. The Escrow experts help simplify the more complex aspects of these deals.
In Alldrin's case, the seller of the setnet operation was an Alaskan and First National customer who recommended using the bank's escrow services.
Alldrin has been working directly with Business Development Officer Shannon Hayes whom he has never met. Since that first deal together, they have worked long distance on the purchase and sale of several fishing permits.
"Shannon is wonderful," Alldrin said. "She does a great job with communication by phone and email."
Alldrin enjoys the convenience and ease of using First National's escrow services. Hayes, he says, maintains direct contact with the government agencies transferring the permits. She's well versed in the process and is able to provide information on how everything should work. Concerning the bank's escrow service, he added: "It's smooth. It's painless, and it's quick."
He also appreciates First National's reasonable escrow fees. The bank has handled each of his escrow packages for a few hundred dollars, while a broker would typically charge thousands of dollars to provide listing, advertising and other services.
In the summertime, Alldrin and his boys typically spend part of June through August fishing three beach nets in Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula. Caleb has worked seven straight summers in Alaska, while Tim and Luke each have three summers under their belts. Everyone in the family enjoys the hiatus.
"My wife (Mary) loves the fact that she gets a testosterone-free summer," Alldrin said. "And the boys and I get to eat what we want and when we want."
Alldrin and Sons Alaska Salmon sells its premium product mainly through flea markets, healthy-eating clubs and other direct customers in the Chico area. First National has been a consistent part of the company's successful business model, providing about five escrow accounts over the years. While the sole proprietorship still operates with the same manpower (essentially, Alldrin and his sons), it has had the good fortune to acquire better-producing fishing sites. This, in turn, has led to larger harvests and higher profits. "We started out bringing about 1,000 pounds of salmon home in 2007; now we're up to between 8,000 and 10,000 pounds," Alldrin said.
Next year, Alldrin and Sons Alaska Salmon plans to offer online ordering. Then even more people can enjoy the delicious taste of the business' wild Alaska salmon.
Fish caught with the help of First National, an all-Alaska bank dedicated to making customers' dreams grow.
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