President, Sitka Salmon Shares
by Celina Dietzel '17
It's no secret that Knox professor Nic Mink loves Galesburg, and Galesburg loves Nic Mink. His company, Sitka Salmon Shares, has brought local businesses together, started friendships, and given local residents something to rave about. The ever-expanding company started in 2011, after Mink and two Knox students returned from a fishing trip in Alaska. The trip brought up conversations on responsibility, fishing practices, and sustainable food systems, and, thus, Sitka Salmon Shares was born. The company, which was expected to be a small summer business, has grown into a huge enterprise with locations across the country.
Here's how it works: In Sitka, Alaska, fishermen use environmentally conscious hook-and-line fishing methods and quickly flash-freeze fish for freshness. Afterwards, the fish are shipped to Galesburg and Chicago to be packaged. Then, delivery takes them directly to customers and local businesses like Iron Spike Brewing Company, Baked Pizza, and En Season Restaurant.
Despite the recent growth Sitka Salmon Shares has seen, Mink has no plans to move out of Galesburg. "It's a great place to have a business," he says. Mink, who first came to Knox as an associate professor in 2010, still teaches a couple of classes at the College and continues to utilize Knox students in his business. Students can intern with the company in Alaska and Galesburg; some students have even gone on to work for Sitka Salmon Shares after graduation. "Knox students provide us with incredible talent," Mink says.
In addition to their downtown Galesburg office, Sitka Salmon Shares has expanded their space at the Sustainable Business Center on West Main Street, adding more space for freezing, sealing, and packaging. In addition, the company will take on three new full-time employees, and, if the uptick continues, expects to add even more positions.