My name is Gertie Ditsworth-Benkers, owner & operator of Alaskan Cloudbuster.
I was born in the Netherlands, my family & I moved to Wisconsin when I was a teenager. I moved to Alaska in the 1970's. I have 3 beautiful children and have been married for 32 wonderful years to my current husband.
We live in Palmer, Alaska, which is located in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.
Over the years we have always had cats, some purebred Burmese, and also rescue cats. We attended years of cat shows and won many awards. In the 1980's we needed pet beds that were washable, there were none without unzipping something, so I made my own pet beds. People liked the beds when they saw them, and helped connect me with our local feed store and dog show people. I made what they needed for a while.
Helping with a cat show in 1992, some catnip was donated and I was asked to make toys. They were a hit with the cats, and I started making catnip toys for the people that had donated the catnip. When they no longer needed my catnip toys, I went on my own, and found out as much as possible about growing catnip, and Alaskan Cloudbuster was born the fall of 1993. Alaskan Cloudbuster catnip toys were in the feed stores and most of the vet office's in Anchorage.
I went to a lot of cat shows in 1993 and 1994 giving catnip toys as prizes, and selling a lot of them. (it payed for the shows)
Although the basic bed and toy designs have stood the test of time, we have expanded our styles and sizes since they were first introduced in 2000. My husband and I participate in Saturday Market in Anchorage, all summer - craft shows in the fall - and all the dog shows in the area.
I love my job, and hope to keep sewing for many years to come.