Even though there are almost 20 food booths at this year’s Crab Festival, Alaskan Soda Jerk stands out from the rest even though it hasn’t yet served a single Kodiak customer. The company’s trailer suffered a devastating fire while en route to Kodiak that almost scuttled its plans to attend the festival, said co-owner Kelsey Ingram.

While Ingram and co-owner Brandon Korin, company managers Jacovie Wright and Tiffany Jackson, and employees Dakoma Epperly-May, Kassie Haan and Krystal Howlett were driving from Anchorage to Homer, their trailer caught on fire, Ingram said.

Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the experience was still traumatic, he said.

“We were unable to put (the fire) out and basically watched everything that we owned burn up,” Ingram said. 

The fire burned half of everything the company owned — bar tops, structures, freezers, soda machines, ice machines, and so on — with damages totaling about $100,000. Despite the company’s best efforts, Alaskan Soda Jerk was unable to insure the equipment for their mobile stand before their trip, so now they have to pay to replace these things out of pocket, he said. 

The crew has yet to process everything they have lost, in part because they have been so busy, Ingram said.

Ingram still isn’t sure what caused the trailer fire. They packed the trailer and drove it in the same way that they have been doing for six years. In the past, the worse that the company has suffered were flat tires and broken springs. 

It took Alaskan Soda Jerk two days to get back on track. The first day was dedicated to salvaging everything they could from the wreckage, and on the second day, they sought out and borrowed what they needed to continue their trip to Kodiak, he said.

In the past, Ingram promised the Chamber of Commerce that he would do everything in his power to make it to Crab Fest, he said. This year is no different. 

Kodiak residents have always treated Ingram and his company well.

Alaskan Soda Jerk is not alone during this trying time. Ben Bacher with Expedition BBQ — another vendor at Crab Fest — started a GoFundMe campaign for them. In addition to that, the Chamber of Commerce, and Al and Barbara Large have helped the company in numerous and tremendous ways, Ingram said. The Executive Director of the Chamber, Jena Lowmaster, has been in touch with them every step of the way.

The Alaskan Soda Jerk was able to catch their ferry as planned and arrived on the island on Tuesday, Ingram said. The crew immediately jumped into preparing their booth for Crab Fest and doing their favorite things on the island: hiking, biking and camping.  

Normally, the crew arrive in Kodiak a few days before the festival and stay a few days late, but because of the ferry schedule, they will be heading out on Monday. Regardless, his crew is determined to hit all of their favorite spots before they leave. On Tuesday, they went camping near White Sands Beach and on Wednesday, they drove to Chiniak and Pasagshak to visit Fossil Beach and Surfers Beach, Ingram said. 

“This is our 10-year anniversary and, despite the fact that we had this fire, everybody that we bring to Kodiak loves coming and we are ecstatic to officially start our 10-year anniversary in Kodiak, in the place we love so much,” Ingram said.  Ingram still isn’t sure what caused the trailer fire. They packed the trailer and drove it in the same way that they have been doing for six years, he said. In the past, the worse that the company has suffered were flat tires and broken springs, Ingram said. 

It took Alaskan Soda Jerk two days to get back on track, Ingram said. The first day was dedicated to salvaging everything they could from the wreckage, and on the second day, they sought out and borrowed what they needed to continue their trip to Kodiak, he said.

In the past, Ingram promised the Chamber of Commerce that he would do everything in his power to make it to Crab Fest, he said. This year is no different, he said. 

Kodiak residents have always treated Ingram and his company well, he said.

Alaskan Soda Jerk is not alone during this trying time, according to Ingram. Ben Bacher with Expedition BBQ — another vendor at Crab Fest — started a GoFundMe campaign for them, he said. In addition to that, the Chamber of Commerce, and Al and Barbara Large have helped the company in numerous and tremendous ways, Ingram said. The Executive Director of the Chamber, Jena Lowmaster, has been in touch with them every step of the way, Ingram said. 

The Alaskan Soda Jerk was able to catch their ferry as planned and arrived on the island on Tuesday, Ingram said. The crew immediately jumped into preparing their booth for Crab Fest and doing their favorite things on the island: hiking, biking and camping, he said.  

Normally, the crew arrive in Kodiak a few days before the festival and stay a few days late, but because of the ferry schedule, they will be heading out on Monday. Regardless, his crew is determined to hit all of their favorite spots before they. On Tuesday, they went camping near White Sands Beach and on Wednesday, they drove to Chiniak and Pasagshak to visit Fossil Beach and Surfers Beach, Ingram said. 

“This is our 10 year anniversary and, despite the fact that we had this fire, everybody that we bring to Kodiak loves coming and we are ecstatic to officially start our 10 year anniversary in Kodiak, in the place we love so much,” Ingram said. 

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