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Business is up in downtown Anchorage; residents and tourists are returning

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 8:43 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After months of pretty empty streets, business is back and even booming in downtown Anchorage and surrounding areas.

For large portions of 2020, the city’s downtown looked bare, with some shops and restaurants closed. This summer, business owners are starting to see a trend that’s looking much better for downtown. After months of certain health and business restrictions due to the pandemic, more people are getting out and spending their time outside the house, dining and spending money downtown.

Jaylene Colombie is the owner of Second Run, a clothing store in downtown Anchorage. She says it’s nice to have business back up and running, and that it’s nice to see the people, too.

“Downtown needs this,” Colombie said. “Like last year was so sad, and so sad for downtown. I mean, if we saw 10 people walk by we were like whoa, it feels like Saturday. but now you know, you have this flow in traffic and people are going out to lunch again, it’s just nice to see people, really is the biggest thing,” says Colombie.

And business isn’t the only thing recovering, people are enjoying returning to everyday life.

Amanda Moser is the executive director at the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd.

“The pandemic was devastating for downtown,” she said. “We really got hit on so many different levels, and so we are thrilled to see more folks back downtown. We are thrilled to have guests here.”

“I think there is so much pent up demand, for entertainment, for getting together with your friends and family, for just having fun,” said Christopher Constant, vice-chair on the Anchorage Assembly. “We spent the last year and a half in a once-in-a-century pandemic, that really stripped us of the things that make us a community.”

Economist Neal Fried with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development says that over the last two months, Alaska has seen the number of jobs available on the rise compared to last year’s numbers.

“Income was up in 2020 and it’s up again in 2021, so people have money to spend, so that’s adding sort of fuel to this recovery we’re in right now.” Fried said. “You know, we are seeing larger numbers of visitors, because of that pent up demand, and they also have more income than they typically would have had.”

Fried said in May, 16,000 jobs came available online. He said this trend will continue over the next several months and will likely hit its peak in July and August.

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