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About Us

Welcome to the Russian American Company web site!

Located in beautiful Sitka, Alaska
former Capital of Russian-America

 

What We Can Do for You - Retail Customers

The Russian American Company buys and imports high quality Russian folk-art products. Because our buyers live in Russia, they are able to buy directly from the artists and develop long term relationships. This allows us to maintain quality control and buy in quantities that keep our prices competitive. We offer items not found through other importers being many of the artists we work with sell all of their production to our company.

We assist collectors of Russian art and folk crafts in making new acquisitions for their collections. If you have any special item you are looking for, please let us know and our buyers in Russia may be able to find it for you or have it made to order.

We specialize in museum quality 
Russian lacquer miniatures and matryoshka nesting dolls and we are an authorized dealer of contemporary Faberge fine jewelry. Looking for that really special gift? Let us assist you in selecting that perfect item for that special person.

With a 25 year business history, you can feel confident that any purchase you make is backed by our commitment to authenticity and value. We will gladly provide a certificate and guarantee for all fine art items and antiques.

Gift service is provided for your convenience. We can gift wrap and send your gift selections direct to the recipient. No charge for gift wrapping and a personalized note card can be included.

 

What We Can Do for You - Wholesale Customers

Our parent company, Sovak International, Inc., is able to offer a vast selection of high quality Russian made items at wholesale, to qualified customers. You must first establish a wholesale account in order to receive wholesale pricing. Please call 1-800-742-6228 (907-747-6228 inside Alaska) and ask to speak with our sales assistant.

We provide our wholesale clients with unique handcrafted items from Russia with a wide selection and price range.

We know retail! With 25 years of retail experience, we can assist you in selecting the right product mix from our vast inventory. From handcrafted souvenir items that retail starting at $3 to museum quailty works of art retailing up to $10,000, we can help you fill your shop with unique and beautiful products that will create customer excitement and generate sales.
We can provide product support information for various lines. This information can be used to train employees and can be printed and provided to customers with their purchases.

Company History

In 1980, John and Joyce MacDonald opened a little giftshop in Sitka, Alaska offering hand crafted gifts from the Soviet Union. That giftshop was named the Russian American Company. The MacDonalds were groundbreakers in their approach to selling Russian made art and crafts. Not only were they particular about quality, but they worked hard to develop reliable contacts that would allow them to provide an exceptionally good selection for that time.

During the 1980's Russia was still a closed country under communist rule, and few Americans had the opportunity to travel to the USSR. Russian art and folk art was "new" and "fresh" to the American market. The location of the Russian American Company in Sitka, Alaska was perfect for business. Not only was Sitka the former Capital of Russian-America, it was also the gem of Southeast, Alaska and cruise ships from several lines visited this small port town during the summer months.

Being the only Russian shop in Alaska at the time, the Russian American Company was the highlight of many cruise ship passengers' shopping experience. On many days the store would be "packed out" with no more room for customers to enter. Yet, even with a monopoly on the market for Russian art, the MacDonalds never compromised on the high quality of their products and service. The store quickly gained a reputation among collectors of Russian lacquer boxes and Russian folk art, and soon information about this unusual shop began to appear in articles published in popular magazines such as Gourmet and Sunset. The store was featured on the television programs Good Morning America and Good Morning San Francisco, as well as news programs on both German and Japanese television. More recently, the store was featured in an article in the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

In 1986 the Russian Ambassador to the United States visited the store and commented that even in Russia he had "not seen such a collection of Russian art available for sale." He purchased an entire tea service in the Cobalt Net pattern from the Russian American Company because he had difficulty getting this pattern in his own country.

Now of course, things have changed. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and the new Russia opened up to free trade. Suddenly, there was a flood of Russian made products on the market and Russian shops opened up in every tourist destination in Alaska and in many cities in the lower 48 states. Russian crafts appear for sale on eBay and QVC, in catalogs and at street fairs. Yet, the Russian American Company still holds an advantage over most of the competition based on long term personal connections with artists in Russia, a dedication to high quality and fair pricing, and a genuine appreciation for Russian art, crafts, and culture.

The MacDonalds retired in 1998, selling the store to Doug and Olga Borland. As direct importers of Russian art since 1989, the Borlands have a thorough knowledge of Russian art, history, and culture and they are frequently requested to conduct lectures on Russian art at museums, and aboard cruise ships.The Borlands own a home in Moscow and spend several months of the year in Russia seeking out new artists and checking on the quality of production for many exclusive items. The Russian American Company has a year-round staff in Russia constantly searching for new products.The Borlands have brought several of the finest Russian artists to the United States to demonstrate their unique talents, exhibit their work, and give seminars on various types of Russian folk art and fine art.

In 1994, the Borlands organized and sponsored the first exhibition by the Fedoskino Museum of Lacquer Miniatures in the United States. The Director of the Fedoskino Museum accompanied 40 of the most famous and prized pieces from the Museum's collection to an exhibit at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

The Russian American Company collection continues to grow and includes antique and museum quality Russian lacquer boxes, antique icons, silver, and samovars, and some of the finest matryoshka nesting dolls in the world. The store is also an authorized dealer for contemporary Faberge fine jewelry. If you have the chance to visit Sitka, stop by to enjoy the many items in our extensive collection, or simply shop for an inexpensive gift or souvenir. We are here for you throughout the year and now many of our items are available for purchase on -line at www.russianamericancompany.com.

Russian American Company 1-800-742-6228 

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