Nine years ago, Carole Knuth, co-owner and operator of Reindeer Redhots, was having a mid-life crisis. So, she and her husband, Peter Apathy, decided to do something totally different than anything they had done in the past. They bought the Reindeer Redhots stand, a business that had been in operation for one year. At the time, they had two young children, who Carole says thrived in the Reindeer Redhots working environment. “It was important for the children to experience.” Other kids in the community also participated in operating the business, and according to Carole, the experience taught the kids work ethic and good conversation skills. Carol says, “The business served other needs too.”
Reindeer Redhots serves hotdogs with reindeer meat and a wide variety of condiments including; sauerkraut, onion, shredded cheddar cheese, ketchup, mustard, no-bean chili, sweet relish, and sriracha sauce. The meat comes from Nunivak Island, where Dr. Sheldon Jackson started a reindeer herd in the 1800s. After the slaughtering on Nunivak, the reindeer meat is sold for processing in Anchorage, where it is produced into a wide variety of products. Reindeer Redhots sells the regular reindeer hotdogs and the mild Polish sausage at their stand. Carole and Peter have dealt with many obstacles in operating their own business, and Carole says that they have “learned a lot about people through the process.”
Today, the dynamic Knuth and Apathy duo run the Reindeer Redhots stand with their son Ryan, who just finished high school. You may have noticed Ryan’s involvement and talent shine in performances around Sitka. Ryan just graduated from the Interlochen Center of the Arts, a competitive arts boarding school in Interlochen, Mich. He also plays the trombone, and is attending the University of Puget Sound this fall. His older sister, Erika, also comes from an artistic background, as a ballet dancer. She currently is studying elementary education at UAS, and just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Noah.
Both Carole and Peter are heavily involved in their children’s lives and activities. They are a family that values and supports the arts in many capacities. Carole made costumes for the Nutcracker this past year and has made costumes for other performances around Sitka. She also loves gardening and the family has their own garden at home. As if all of this hasn’t kept her busy enough, she just finished her master’s thesis in public health, which covered a needs assessment for an adult day center in Sitka. She is interested in implementing a kind of senior center in town that offers social and physical activities. When they aren’t serving up delicious hotdogs, supporting their children, or helping out the community, Carole and Peter can be found working at SEARHC. Carole as a physician assistant, and Peter as a electronic health records project manager. Peter also plays bass in the bands Slack Tide and Fishing For Cats.
Reindeer Redhots has created quite a following. The alternative hotdog stand has been featured in high-quality public relations outlets including: Food and Wine, Costco, and Sunset magazines. In addition to the stand’s occasional appearances at the Sitka Farmers Market, on large ship days, you can find Carole, Peter, or Ryan serving Reindeer Redhots at the corner of Lake and Lincoln Streets. The stand operates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., from May to September, though the operation is very weather-dependent.
Stop by the Reindeer Redhots stand this month on large ship days to try a steaming reindeer hotdog. They also offer gluten-free and whole wheat buns.