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The Mercantile

Mikey Huff is a leather worker in Anchorage, Alaska, but he was almost a fisherman instead. “I come from a family of fisherman, so if my parents hadn’t have split up, I’d probably be on the boat with my grandfather catching halibut,” he said. Huff has spent some time traveling across the country, eventually settling for a time in Portland, but it wasn’t a good fit - home was calling. “Something is alluring about Alaska. It has this magnetic pull,” he said. Like most locals, Huff tries to take full advantage of his surroundings. His leather working business was conceived on a cold day while hiking with a friend. His hiking partner mentioned wanting a great leather belt, and Huff sprang into action. “I went to the leather stores in town and bought up all the supplies and made him a belt,” he said. He found the process fun and rewarding, so he decided to make more belts to give to friends as Christmas gifts and a business was born. Soon the business was growing, all by word of mouth, and Huff got into a groove. “I have this little cabin. I would go in after work at 8 PM and start chopping wood for the stove to get the blood flowing,” he said. “Then I would start working on leather, and I would go until 3 AM."

Something is alluring about Alaska. It has this magnetic pull

He would lose himself in his work for the whole night. “It was such a blissful process,” he said. Eventually, Huff took a class which opened a lot of doors, creatively. “After taking the class I started making wallets and other commissioned projects,” he said. “It’s a different beast.” Now Huff can do repairs or even make a sheath for an ax. “Those sorts of projects keep it fresh for me, it’s a lot of fun,” he said. Sitting at his workbench in the commercial district of Downtown Anchorage finishing up a passport holder, Huff gives a basic lay of the land, “If you head in that direction you will be surrounded by beautiful mountains. If you head in that direction you’re going to end up at the ocean, which is gorgeous.” He pauses, and sums up Alaska as only a true local can, "You can drive ten minutes in any direction and be in the middle of nowhere, which is awesome."