Entrepreneur Nome wins NSEDC grant and plans to open machine shop – KNOM Radio Mission
Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation announced in October the three winners of its Small Business Initiative grants. One of the recipients, Isaac Thompson, owns and operates Arctic Works LLC, an electronics design and repair service. He wants to open the first commercial machine shop in Nome.
Thompson ran Arctic Works via Facebook since 2018, and officially registered his company as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in September 2020. But now he’s ready to lay some bricks and mortar.
“I have a bunch of equipment for this, but now I have the opportunity to build a building and turn it into a real business where I can work on great things. So I’m excited, ”said Thompson.
Thompson believes a machine shop is something Nome needs, especially with the increase in port activity expected as the Arctic Deep Draft Port project begins to move forward.
“Right now we have a few places you can go to do base metal welding and cutting. But if you want precise parts – like, you know, the bearings go into a new bore, maybe you need a shaft made for a pump or something – there’s no really options in Nome where someone down the street, let’s say, can come in and get their project to work, ”Thompson said.
While the new workshop will allow him to significantly expand his business, Thompson expects Arctic Works to remain a one-man business for the foreseeable future.
“I imagine that for the first few years it will stay quite small. I mean, like, right now most people don’t realize what a machine shop is or what it can do. And if you don’t realize you need it, then you don’t need it. So once the people and businesses and, you know, the people working on these big projects around the port realize that it exists and what it can do, then I expect more people will try. enjoy it, ”said Thompson.
Thompson does not yet have a location for his store, but ideally he would like it near the west side of the harbor, where much of his work is already based. Even before receiving the grant, Thompson was taking steps to build a store. The grant money dramatically accelerated its construction schedule.
“I have an established foundation plan, but it was probably going to take several years to put it all together and put it in place. And now, with the grant, I’m basically able to find the materials I’ll need next year and get them to come on one of the spring barges, ”said Thompson.
Thompson was very happy with the NSEDC grant application process and encouraged his fellow entrepreneurs to apply for future grants.
“It doesn’t take a lot of time in your schedule to set it up. And even if you don’t end up getting it, I think they do it every couple of years, and they’ll definitely give you some feedback on what they’d like to see next time around. So yes definitely if you are considering a business opportunity go for it, ”said Thompson.
The NSEDC will open applications for the next round of Small Business Initiative grants in early 2023.