The Spirit of Alaska is in Our DNA

Where were you in 1978? Perhaps you were listening to the sweet tunes of the Bee Gees on your 8-track player. Or buying your first Trans Am. Maybe you were sprawled out on the shag carpet playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with your little brother. Or perhaps you weren’t even born yet.

In 1978, we were busy making Sea Mart come to life. We closed down Market Foods, where Sea Mart currently dwells, tearing everything out of it over Thanksgiving weekend. In December of 1978, Sea Mart Quality Foods opened.

For almost 37 years, Sea Mart has been serving the Sitka community by providing healthy, high-quality groceries and everyday essentials. (And don’t forget about our famous fried chicken!).

But our legacy extends back almost seven decades. It’s a classic small-town business story, really.

July 1(Sitka, c. 1949)

Back in 1949, Clarence and Hopewell Rands saw the need for a community-oriented grocery store in Sitka. Hopewell ran a music shop on Lincoln Street for 15 years prior to that and Clarence owned a construction company. They knew nothing about the grocery business.

Regardless, C.R. Rands Co. opened its doors in downtown Sitka in 1949. Service to the community was their primary philosophy, something we continue holding strong to today.

July 2When Clarence and Hopewell’s daughter Barbara married Lloyd Hames, the new couple began the second generation of family grocers, evolving C.R. Rands Co. into Market Center. When Clarence and Hopewell retired in 1969, the Hames Corp. was formed with Lloyd Hames at the helm and a legacy was built through southeastern Alaska.

Like his in-laws, Lloyd Hames knew nothing about groceries. He once said, “I had no idea if the toilet paper goes in the canned food section, or if the milk goes in the produce department.” But what he did understand was the value of opportunity and giving back to the community. His was a mission of finding and providing only the best groceries for his customers.

He also understood the value of hard work. According to Roger Hames, his father had a straightforward approach to employing his own children when they were old enough. “Either work willingly and be paid, or work reluctantly and not get paid.” Roger decided to work willingly… never doubting that he would one day be a third generation grocer.

July 3

Many things have changed since Clarence and Hopewell Rands opened up shop in Sitka. But one thing remains the same: our dedication to our community. The Spirit of Alaska isn’t just in our store. It’s in our DNA. Forged by independence. Furthered by hard work. Rooted in a passionate legacy.

Thanks for being a part of it.