Local and national retailers invest in Anchorage

Published: Aug. 31, 2017 at 3:39 PM AKDT
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Despite the current recession, both local and national businesses haven't been scared away from investing in Anchorage.

"Overall we're seeing about a 4% increase in building permits for 2017 compared to the same period last year," said Bill Popp, President and CEO of Anchorage Economic Development Corp. "We're starting to see, what we believe, is a narrowing of the job losses in key categories, and we're starting to feel like we're getting to the bottom of this recessionary cycle. Hopefully that is the case, and we believe that this increased investment that we're starting to see, modest as it is, is a sign that business is trying to gauge when the time is right when to jump in off the sideline and start investing money."

National clothing retailer Duluth Trading Co. is in the process of remodeling the former Sports Authority storefront off Old Seward. A spokesperson for the company wouldn't confirm when the store will officially open, saying they won't know for sure until the leasing, permitting and development process has been thoroughly vetted.

Kendall Auto Group is in the process of building a new state-of-the-art facility off Old Seward and Dowling, which starting in early 2018, will be home to Kendall Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen, each manufacturer will have its own standalone sales and service building.

"We're very excited about the new facility," said Morris Smith, GM, Kendall Auto Group. "The main thing for us is taking care of the customer. Kendall wants to show how committed we are to Alaska and especially Anchorage. Obviously right now things are a little down, but we expect that economy to pick back up, and we want to show that we're going to be here for the long haul."

It isn't just big businesses opening up new locations, Zoi Maroudas, Founder and CEO of Bambinos Baby Food is holding a grand opening of her new retail store and manufacturing facility on Friday. She sells locally caught and grown baby food, which addresses allergy and obesity concerns.

"It's really exciting," said Maroudas. "We're the first baby food company in the United States that opens its doors to parents to come and see how we make our baby food, where it comes from, and offering that complete trace-ability and transparency aspect."

For Maroudas, Friday's grand opening is more than seven years in the making. She began developing her concept while working at a hospital in Texas, combining her love of science, medicine and the human body.

"We are in the last frontier, but there are so many qualities that Alaska has that no other place, that no other state can compete," Maroudas said. "And as the economy is suffering in different directions, I think this is a great time to motivate, inspire and not give up."