Open & Shut is continuous chain toOverlooking the corporate comings and goings of south-central Alaska. If you know a business is opening or closing in the area, send a note to Reporter Alex DeMarban at [email protected] With “open and close” in the subject line.
Kami Ramen: Three Malaysian friends opened this ramen restaurant in Spinard last month.
The menu at 3807 Spenard Road, just west of Minnesota Drive, features Japanese ramen with Malaysian influences and other influences. Kami Ramen serves vegetarian and gluten-free ramen, as well as meat dishes.
Jiahui Sim said Tonkotsu ramen, with pork bones boiling overnight for broth, is the “workhorse of the restaurant.”
She is one of two co-owners who got their start in Alaska from the J-1 visa cultural exchange program, which brings foreign college students here, usually to work in the tourism and fishing industries.
Sim has been a J-1 worker at Starbucks at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport for more than a decade. A few years later, she got her green card and moved to Alaska. She recruited her friend Chiiwen Choo to Alaska after they met through the program, and he is now a resident of Alaska as well.
They have teamed up with Leon Chew, a former chef on cruise ships and for the North Slope Oil Company. Chew, the third co-owner, is now a good test technician for the oil companies.
Before the pandemic hit, they opened Kami Ramen as a spin-off business for several weeks from a small space in Midtown where a Malaysian bakery once operated.
The work was good, like super quality,” Sim said.
Then COVID-19 struck. They have paused their expansion plans – for now.
Sim said kami means “we” in Malay. The establishment of the restaurant was a family affair, with spouses, relatives and friends participating.
“It’s like, ‘This is ‘we’ doing this,” she said.
The restaurant is open five days a week, and closed on Sundays and Mondays for the time being.
The Cove Studio and Boutique: Two old friends and former football players at West Anchorage High School opened this art studio in downtown Anchorage last month.
Brett Roberts was the quarterback in 1992 before becoming a film actor, musician, poet, and painter. During the epidemic, he left Europe and returned to Anchorage to be with his parents.
Joel Losley was the wide receiver. He became a graphic artist with his own clothing line in Alaska. He lost his job last fall as a sales manager at Truckwell in Alaska, before the working truck plant closed.
During the pandemic, the two friends dreamed of owning an art studio. Opportunity fell on their lap: An Anchorage businessman who loved their art asked if they’d like to split office space in the Peterson Tower at 510 L St. , near Simon and Seafort’s.
Their storefront was born. “The universe kind of conspired to make this happen,” Lusley said.
Now, they are collaborating on art. Lusley portrayed Roberts paintings, and the designs are used in handbags, pillows, and clothing.
“None of us in a million years would have thought that after 25 or 30 years of playing football together, we would create art together,” Lusley said. “To go from jocks to stylists – it’s been an amazing journey.”
Roberts said he started drawing after he stopped drinking about a decade ago. He said it was important to his recovery. “After I woke up, I thought life was over,” he said. “But then I realized my life started when I stopped drinking.”
The store is open to the public on weekdays from 11 am to 6 pm, and by appointment.
Turnagain Ceramics: Max Kubitz and Evan Fried open this community pottery space at 1343 G St. , at the former site of Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop.
They were introduced to pottery about 15 years ago during ceramics classes at West Anchorage High School. Old friends and high school football pals hadn’t seen each other for several years when they met each other at a ceramic studio in San Francisco five years ago.
During the epidemic, they returned to Alaska. Kubitz now works at the Southcentral Foundation as a pediatric dentist, and Fried worked remotely for a technology company in California.
Last year, while snowboarding together at Westchester Lagoon, they decided to open a studio.
Turnagain Ceramics has 16 pottery wheels, plus kilns and storage areas. The studio offers classes, memberships, and commission-based sales to members at the ANC Market Social, the outdoor market in downtown that begins May 22.
Registration for classes beginning May 13th is available at turnagainceramics.com. The doors are set to open to the public starting May 23, seven days a week.
Cafe Clutch: Geochemistry consultant Birgit Hedhorn started this organic café downtown because she wanted to spend more time with people after the pandemic was isolated.
Kaffee Klatsch – In the Skyline Building at 508 W. Second Ave. , just north of the Hilton Anchorage – Serves German pastries, coffee, and coffee. They also sell tea and mushroom-filled drinks. She said mushroom powders boost immunity, energy and memory.
She said kaffee klatsch is a social gathering for coffee in Germany, where she is originally from.
Hagedorn said she was studying tai chi on the premises when she saw potential in an unused reception desk in the hallway.
She had a contractor supplying plumbing and electrical to the office. She bought an espresso machine and added shelves and benches for the Kaffee Klatsch launch.
Hagedorn said the cafe is only trying to buy locally made products. Kaffee Klatsch is closed on Mondays.
Pretty Parlor Blue Dry Bar: Hairstylist Jessica Bryant Walton wanted a space where friends could style their hair together.
In February, this salon opened at 2932 C St. , at the corner of Benson Boulevard and C, in the same building where the Liberty Tax Service used street sign dancers during tax season.
Walton provides services such as official updates and blasts to individuals and groups preparing for events such as proms. Space is available for private parties.
“It’s like a girls’ night out. So they can lock up the place and have a private party with snacks and wine.”
The Pretty Parlor is closed on Sundays.
Lexington salon and spa: This store opened in February in downtown Anchorage at 415 W. Fifth Ave.
“It’s a full-service day spa with body treatment, massage, waxing, facials, hairstyling, and spray tan – we do it all,” said Sarah Smith, owner.
The salon is closed on Sundays. It is located in the space formerly occupied by Escape Salon and Spa.
Birch and Alder: This drive-through espresso cafe and bakery opened around early March, about 25 minutes south of Anchorage, India.
It serves pastries, breakfasts, sandwiches, and homemade drinks such as Black Cup coffee. Owner Robin Gerber, former chef at Crow’s Nest at the Captain Cook Hotel, said it’s open five days a week, and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Far North Health Services: This mobile clinic provides outpatient physical and occupational therapy in people’s homes in Anchorage and surrounding areas. It also offers speech therapy and the services of a registered dietitian. Erin McCurdy, co-owner and physical therapist, said the clinic on wheels promotes patient independence and reduces the burdens for their caregivers as patients move into home living, assisted living facilities, or the Brother Francis shelter.
Little Color Pediatrics: This Pediatric Clinic in Wasilla focuses on speech and feeding problems related to restricted oral tissues, such as tongue-tie or lip-tie, and other issues with oral-facial movement, such as mouth breathing.
Speech-language pathologist Kayla Head opened the practice after she had feeding issues with her first child, who was born a few years earlier.
“Alaska does not have a good professional network prepared for children with these difficulties,” she said in an email. “It is our journey that has pushed me to learn and train as much as possible.”
The clinic is located at 501 N. Knik St.
Turnagain arm pit grill in Anchorage: After nine years in business, the Anchorage Foundation closed last weekend.
Stephen Owens, a cook at the company, said the company had not found enough employees to operate its two restaurants. So they closed the road along Seward Highway, near the New Sagaya Midtown market, he said. The decline in business activity during the COVID-19 shutdown also hurt the company, he said.
He said Turnagain Arm Pit will continue to operate his original restaurant in India along Seward Highway, about 25 minutes south of Anchorage.
“If you can’t find enough people to run two sites, you have to be somewhere,” Owens said.
Businesses in Alaska continue to report challenges in finding enough employees, as tourists begin to return. The pandemic has led to record layoffs and closures, and many workers have left their previous jobs.
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