Lead Detailer Calvin Olsen shows the logo developed for a new auto detailing business called Sacred Shine offered by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. The logo was designed by tribal member Miciana Hutcherson. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Lead Detailer Calvin Olsen shows the logo developed for a new auto detailing business called Sacred Shine offered by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. The logo was designed by tribal member Miciana Hutcherson. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A shiny new business: Tribe-owned auto shop already proving popular

Sacred Shine continues trend of Tlingit and Haida starting businesses

Sacred Shine hasn’t done much advertising, but the new auto shop is already booked up through the middle of next month.

Word has spread quickly about the shop, owned by Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) and located on Village Street just behind the Willoughby Building on Willoughby Avenue.

The tribe owns the building, which was more or less a storage area until recently. They keep a snowplow in the garage, and used the rest of the building for storing files. It’s mostly cleaned out, and has been open for a couple months as the auto detailing shop.

Business and Economic Development Director Emily Edenshaw said they were trying to figure out what to do with the building when an idea fell in their lap.

Calvin Olsen began working at an auto detailing shop in Ketchikan in 2009 and grew to love it. He ended up moving up to Juneau with his wife recently, and was working for CCTHITA earlier this year. One day, he noticed one of CCTHITA’s cars was still a little dirty after it came back from being cleaned and he offered to work on it.

He was told that because the car was a government car, it had to be cleaned at a professional shop. Olsen, 31, then started talking with Edenshaw and others about how to get this business up and running. Just months later, Olsen is the lead detailer in the shop and is the main contact for when people want to set up an appointment. Anybody can make an appointment.

On Friday morning, Olsen was working on a red Jeep. He took a break from vacuuming the carpets to do an interview, and explained that working there makes the days go by quickly, and offers him a chance to give back.

“I like the start of it, when you get a really dirty car and you make it look new and the customer comes in happy,” Olsen said. “I like the work.”

Sacred Shine followed in the footsteps of Sacred Grounds, a coffee shop in the Andrew Hope Building that opened in the summer of 2017. CCTHITA owns that shop, too, and tribal leaders have their eyes on opening more businesses down the road. CCTHITA President Chaylee Éesh Richard Peterson said getting these businesses started benefits the tribe and the people working at the businesses.

Peterson was re-elected earlier this spring, and said one of his main campaign points was economic development.

“It’s kind of become a win-win for us, because we have that obligation to help our tribal citizens,” Peterson said. “We’re able to do it through economic development and it’s sustainable.”

There are a number of CCTHITA projects in the works, including a new Sacred Grounds shop opening up next week in the Sealaska Corporation’s building at One Sealaska Plaza. The biggest goal, both Edenshaw and Peterson said, is getting a cultural immersion park built and operational in the location of the former Thane Ore House.

Edenshaw said Sacred Shine and other tribal businesses extend beyond the tribal citizens.

“One of the things we really try to emphasize is that, yes, there’s a financial bottom line with these businesses … but more importantly it’s an opportunity for our tribal citizens and a vehicle for us to really deepen our relationship with the community,” Edenshaw said.

The auto shop is booked until Jan. 10, Olsen said, but people can set up an appointment by calling 463-7775. Rates vary based on the size of the car and the work that’s requested, Olsen said. As an example, he pointed to the red Jeep that was in the shop Friday and said the rate for a large car like that is $240 for a full detail (cleaning inside and outside, waxing it, window cleanings, tire cleaning and more).

Peterson said he hopes to expand the shop in the future, and is open to hearing more from tribal citizens in terms of other business ideas.

“We want all of our citizens to have every opportunity to be the best versions of themselves,” Peterson said. “I’d say 90 percent of that’s on them, but if we can be that 10 percent that’s the spark or the catalyst to help them, that’s what we’re going to do.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


Lead Detailer Calvin Olsen works at vacuuming a vehicle at a new auto detailing business called Sacred Shine offered by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Lead Detailer Calvin Olsen works at vacuuming a vehicle at a new auto detailing business called Sacred Shine offered by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Emily Edenshaw, Business and Economic Development Director for the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, speaks about the council’s wishes to create jobs for their members during an interview at their newest business, Sacred Shine, on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Emily Edenshaw, Business and Economic Development Director for the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, speaks about the council’s wishes to create jobs for their members during an interview at their newest business, Sacred Shine, on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of June 26

Here’s what to expect this week.

Rockets’ red glare illuminates the night sky and spectators during the City and Borough of Juneau’s fireworks display on July 3, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Rockets’ red glare illuminates the night sky and spectators during the City and Borough of Juneau’s fireworks display on July 3, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
What you need to know for this fourth of July

Check out the scheduled events here.

Larisa Bishop Boros
This photo available under a Creative Commons license shows a male silver-haired bat captured in Ozark National Scenic Riverways in 2010. A bat found in Douglas tested positive for rabies, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced.
Bat found in Douglas tests positive for rabies

No report of rabies exposure to people, according to Department of Fish and Game.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, July 1, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference Friday, June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. A rally planned to include Trump is scheduled to happen in Anchorage on July 9.  (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey File)
Trump to rally for Palin, Dunleavy, Tshibaka in Anchorage

Former President Donald Trump plans to attend a rally in Alaska next week.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, June 30, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Courtesy Photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy 
Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday signed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Gov. Dunleavy signs budget

PFD of about $3,200, $400 million in vetoes to Legislature-approved items among declared highlights

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 29, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The Alaska Department of Health And Social Services building in Juneau has no visible signs indicating the department is splitting into two agencies as of Friday. Top officials at the department said many of the changes, both physical and in services, are likely weeks and in some cases months away. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Little sign of big change for DHSS

No commissioner at new department, other Dept. of Health and Social Services changes may take months

Most Read