Patrick Anderson has wanted to be his own boss since he was a youngster growing up in Kodiak. At just 27 years old, he has already realized his dream.
In addition to managing an auto shop, Anderson owns two businesses: Kodiak Car Keys and Kodiak Tactical, a gun store.
“I’ve been taking business classes and studying. If I see a niche that no one has filled yet, I just want to jump on it,” he said.
For Anderson, those niches include key reprogramming — replacing electronic and computer chip keys — and selling guns.
Anderson started Kodiak Car Keys in December 2019 when he saw a big need for a business that could provide car key repair and replacement, as well as help with lock and unlock immobilizers.
Different mechanics and dealerships were able to make keys for specific models of automobiles, but Anderson wanted one business that could repair keys from any vehicle.
“The hard part is programming cars that have computer chip keys, and there wasn’t really anybody on the island doing them,” he said.
“I wanted to give everyone an option that was fairly priced and all years, makes and models.”
Anderson said he enjoys helping people with such a necessary service. He noted how grateful people are to have help in town with their keys rather than going to the mainland.
Anderson’s second business, Kodiak Tactile, is a gun shop that melds his passion for firearms and hunting on the one hand, and his experience as a business owner on the other.
His new store is located above the downtown Subway restaurant in an office decorated with an American flag, and displaying ammunition, a row of firearms, and a glass case holding knives and handguns.
“Starting up the store has been cool. I get to handle guns, sell them to people and do the gun stuff without having to buy all the guns myself,” Anderson said.
With Kodiak’s large Coast Guard presence, Anderson has a built-in clientele. He has had interest from service members, among others, for semi-automatic and military-style rifles.
In his first two weeks of business, Anderson said he made 50 transfers and sales, and had many more guns in stock.
Anderson’s love for cars and guns began when he was young. He became involved with automobile repair in high school when he took an auto shop class.
After graduating, he attended Universal Technical Institute in Rancho Cucamonga, California, where he received an automotive and diesel degree.
In the last eight years, Anderson has traveled around Alaska and Kodiak Island fixing diesel vehicles, and for the last four years he has been running the Truck Shop.
These enterprises are not Anderson’s first foray into owning businesses.
Anderson opened his first shop, Anderson Performance, in 2013, but sold it in 2017 because he had trouble finding employees to hire, and he had too much work for one person.
“We had such a large client base, I found myself with 16 hours of work to do in a 12-hour day,” he said, adding that his days are more balanced in his current job. He sold the equipment from that first business, with some items ending up at the Truck Shop.
Guns have also been a long-standing passion, dating back to when he was young and learned about firearms from his grandfather, who worked for 25 years as an Alaska State Trooper. His grandfather also taught gun-safety and conceal-and-carry classes.
Anderson is also an avid hunter. He has hunted in Kodiak and other areas of Alaska, as well as in other places in the United States and in Argentina.
Anderson’s advice for others who want to start their own business is to just go for it and push through the nervousness and negative feelings. He noted that talking to other knowledgeable people in the business is also helpful.
“If you just push through it and hire the right people, that's a part of it. Find people that know more about it than you do, converse with them and listen,” he said.
Kodiak Car Keys and Kodiak Tactical are both located at 326 Center Avenue, Suite 210, in downtown Kodiak.