This is an installment of an occasional series in the Anchorage Daily News taking a quick look at the comings and goings of businesses in Southcentral Alaska. If you know of a business opening or closing in the area, send a note to reporter Annie Zak at email@example.com, with “Open & Shut” in the subject line.
REI: It’s finally happening. After years of rumblings in Anchorage that REI was looking to relocate from its Spenard location, and then an official announcement last year that it would move to the Midtown Mall, the outdoor gear retailer is about to open its new store.
Doors will open at the new REI location on Jan. 18, said spokeswoman Caitlin Goettler. A grand opening will follow in March.
There were still construction fences up this week at the Midtown Mall, which is where a Carrs Safeway grocery store used to be. The spot has sat mostly empty for years.
REI’s current store in the Northern Lights Center strip mall will have its last day of business Sunday and then close Monday as employees prepare for the move down the road.
More changes are coming to Midtown Mall too. Planet Fitness and Guitar Center are moving in, and Carrs Safeway will return to the shopping center but on the other side, where Sears used to be.
Pakalolo Supply Co.: Fairbanks cannabis retailer Pakalolo Supply Co. has branched out to Anchorage.
On Jan. 4, the company had its grand opening at 735 W. Fourth Ave. in downtown Anchorage. Pakalolo has a cultivation facility in Fairbanks and opened its first retail location there in October 2016.
Keenan Hollister, one of the owners, said the business didn’t want to expand into Anchorage unless it could land a prime location.
“A really awesome opportunity came up for us, where we were able to have a quick expansion, kind of quicker than we were thinking,” he said.
He’s not worried about competing with other cannabis shops downtown, including one just a few doors down.
“I think it’s really actually quite common in this industry, with the way zoning rules are worked out, that there almost end up being like districts,” he said. “We’re not trying to go in there and take a piece of their pie. … (We’re) trying to go into the downtown area and make the pie bigger for everybody.”
Sonic: A Sonic drive-in restaurant is set to open its first Alaska location.
The Oklahoma City-based company is planning to open a Sonic at 2100 E. Parks Highway in Wasilla “later this year,” Sonic vice president of development and construction Johnny Jones said in an emailed statement.
The company didn’t provide a specific time frame for the opening. Sonic has more than 3,600 locations across the U.S., according to its website.
Best Dressed Salads: This delivery-only lunch business opened Jan. 2, operating out of a kitchen space in South Anchorage.
There’s no pickup location, but the business delivers its salads anywhere in Anchorage, said owner Shelley Marino.
“I just kind of wanted to have my own business and felt like there was a need for it in the community, for a healthy lunch option that could deliver to your work,” she said.
Best Dressed Salads takes orders online or over the phone.
Glacier Bowl and Polar Dip: Poke shop Glacier Bowl expanded Thursday to a second location, serving up its food inside Zip Kombucha at 3404 Arctic Blvd.
“It was just a mutual thing that came together" with Zip Kombucha, said Morgan Wynne, one of the owners of Glacier Bowl.
The poke bowl shop also has a location in South Anchorage, where it recently moved down the block from 11460 Old Seward Highway to 12100 Old Seward Highway.
Also at the 12100 Old Seward Highway location is a new shop called Polar Dip, with the same owners, offering up sandwiches, wraps and soups. That opened on Monday.