Open & Shut is an ongoing series looking on the comings and goings of companies in Southcentral Alaska. If you understand of a enterprise opening or closing within the space, ship a be aware to reporter Alex DeMarban at email@example.com with “Open & Shut” within the topic line.
Kami Ramen: Three Malaysian mates opened this ramen restaurant in Spenard final month.
The menu at 3807 Spenard Street, simply west of Minnesota Drive, options Japanese ramen with Malaysian and different influences. Kami Ramen serves vegetarian and gluten-free ramen, along with meat-based dishes.
Tonkotsu ramen, with pork bones boiled in a single day for the broth, is “the spine of the restaurant,” Jiahui Sim mentioned.
She’s one of many two co-owners who obtained their begin in Alaska from the J-1 visa cultural trade program, which brings international faculty college students right here, sometimes to work within the tourism and fishing industries.
Sim was a J-1 employee for Starbucks at Ted Stevens Anchorage Worldwide Airport greater than a decade in the past. A couple of years later, she acquired her inexperienced card and moved to Alaska. She recruited her pal Chiiwen Choo to Alaska after they’d met by means of this system, and he’s now an Alaska resident too.
They teamed up with Leon Chew, a former chef on cruise ships and for North Slope oil corporations. Chew, the third co-owner, is now a well-testing technician for oil corporations.
Earlier than the pandemic hit, they opened Kami Ramen as a pop-up enterprise for a number of weeks out of a small area in Midtown the place a Malaysian bakery had previously operated.
“Enterprise was good, like tremendous good,” Sim mentioned.
Then COVID-19 hit. They paused their enlargement plans — till now.
Kami means “us” within the Malay language, Sim mentioned. Creating the restaurant has been a household affair, with spouses, family and mates pitching in.
“Its like, that is ‘us’ doing this,” she mentioned.
The restaurant is open 5 days every week, closing on Sundays and Mondays for now.
The Cove Studio & Boutique: Two longtime mates and former star soccer gamers at West Anchorage Excessive Faculty opened this artwork studio in downtown Anchorage final month.
Bret Roberts was quarterback their senior 12 months in 1992 earlier than turning into a film actor, musician, poet and painter. Throughout the pandemic, he left Europe and moved again to Anchorage to be along with his dad and mom.
Joel Loosli was the broad receiver. He turned a graphic artist along with his personal Alaska-themed clothing line. He misplaced his job final fall as gross sales supervisor at Truckwell of Alaska, simply earlier than the work-truck clothing store closed.
Throughout the pandemic, the 2 mates dreamed of proudly owning an artwork studio. Alternative fell into their lap: An Anchorage businessman who favored their artwork requested in the event that they’d like to separate workplace area within the Peterson Tower at 510 L St., close to Simon and Seafort’s.
Their storefront was born. “The universe form of conspired to make it occur,” Loosli mentioned.
Now, they’re collaborating on artwork. Loosli pictures Roberts’ work, and the designs are used on purses, pillows and clothes.
“By no means in one million years would both of us (have) thought that 25, 30 years after taking part in soccer collectively that we’d be creating artwork collectively,” Loosli mentioned. “To go from jocks to trend designers — it’s been a cool journey.”
Roberts mentioned he took up portray after quitting consuming a couple of decade in the past. It’s been vital in his restoration, he mentioned. “After I sobered up, I assumed life was over,” he mentioned. “However then I noticed my life started after I stopped consuming.”
The boutique is open to the general public on weekdays from 11 a.m. to six p.m., and by appointment.
Turnagain Ceramics: Max Kubitz and Evan Fried are opening this group pottery area at 1343 G St., within the former location of Fireplace Island Rustic Bakeshop.
They have been launched to pottery about 15 years in the past throughout ceramic courses at West Anchorage Excessive Faculty. The outdated mates and highschool soccer mates hadn’t seen one another in a number of years after they bumped into one another at a San Francisco ceramics studio 5 years in the past.
Throughout the pandemic, they returned to Alaska. Kubitz now works at Southcentral Basis as a pediatric dentist, and Fried labored remotely for a California tech firm.
Final 12 months, whereas ice skating collectively at Westchester Lagoon, they determined to open a studio.
Turnagain Ceramics has 16 pottery wheels, plus kilns and storage areas. The studio is providing courses, memberships and commission-based gross sales for members on the ANC Market Social, the downtown outside market that begins Could 22.
Signal-up for courses starting Could 13 is on the market at turnagainceramics.com. The doorways are set to open to the general public beginning Could 23, seven days every week.
Kaffee Klatsch: Geochemical marketing consultant Birgit Hagedorn began this natural cafe downtown as a result of she needed to spend extra time with folks after the isolation of the pandemic.
Kaffee Klatsch — within the Skyline Constructing at 508 W. Second Ave., simply north of the Hilton Anchorage — serves German pastries, lattes and occasional. It additionally sells mushroom-infused chai teas and drinks. The mushroom powders enhance immunity, power and reminiscence, she mentioned.
A kaffee klatsch is a social gathering over espresso in Germany, the place she’s initially from, she mentioned.
Hagedorn mentioned she was educating tai chi within the constructing when she noticed potential in an unused reception desk within the foyer.
She had a contractor lengthen plumbing and electrical energy to the desk. She purchased an espresso machine and added shelving and seating to launch Kaffee Klatsch.
The cafe tries to purchase solely regionally made merchandise, Hagedorn mentioned. Kaffee Klatsch is closed on Mondays.
The Fairly Parlor Blow Dry Bar: Hair stylist Jessica Bryant Walton needed an area the place mates may get their hair executed collectively.
In February she opened this salon at 2932 C St., on the nook of Benson Boulevard and C, in the identical constructing the place Liberty Tax Service has employed dancers with road indicators throughout tax season.
Walton gives providers equivalent to formal updos and blowouts for people and teams preparing for occasions equivalent to proms. The area is on the market for personal events.
“It’s like a women night time out. To allow them to shut the area down and have a personal celebration with snacks and wine,” she mentioned.
The Fairly Parlor is closed on Sundays.
The 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 physique remedy, therapeutic massage, waxing, facials, hair styling, spray tan — we do the whole lot,” mentioned proprietor Sarah Smith.
The salon is closed on Sundays. It’s situated within the area previously occupied by Escape Salon and Spa.
Birch & Alder: This drive-thru espresso espresso store and bakery opened round early March, about 25 minutes south of Anchorage in Indian.
It gives pastries, breakfasts, sandwiches and regionally made drinks, equivalent to Black Cup espresso. It’s open 5 days every week, and closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays, mentioned proprietor Reuben Gerber, the previous chef on the Crow’s Nest within the Resort Captain Cook dinner.
Far North Well being Providers: This cellular clinic provides outpatient bodily and occupational remedy in folks’s properties in Anchorage and surrounding areas. It additionally provides speech remedy and registered dietitian providers. The clinic on wheels promotes affected person independence and reduces caretaker burdens as sufferers transition to dwelling at residence, in assisted dwelling amenities, or the Brother Francis shelter, mentioned Erin McCurdy, co-owner and bodily therapist.
Little Loon Pediatric Remedy: This pediatric remedy clinic in Wasilla focuses on speech and feeding points associated to tethered oral tissues, equivalent to tongue tie or lip tie, and different points associated to mouth and face motion, like mouth respiration.
Speech-language pathologist Kayla Head opened the observe after she had feeding issues together with her first little one born a couple of years in the past.
“Alaska doesn’t have a very good skilled community arrange for teenagers with these struggles,” she mentioned in an electronic mail. “Our personal journey is what spurred me to be taught and prepare as a lot as potential.”
The clinic is situated at 501 N. Knik St.
Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ in Anchorage: After 9 years in operation, this Anchorage institution closed final weekend.
The corporate couldn’t discover sufficient staff to function its two eating places, mentioned Steven Owens, a prepare dinner for the enterprise. So that they closed the one alongside the Previous Seward Freeway, close to New Sagaya Midtown Market, he mentioned. Decreased enterprise exercise throughout COVID-19 shutdowns additionally harm the corporate, he mentioned.
The Turnagain Arm Pit will maintain working its authentic restaurant in Indian alongside the Seward Freeway about 25 minutes south of Anchorage, he mentioned.
“Should you can’t discover sufficient staff to run two places, you bought to be someplace,” Owens mentioned.
Companies in Alaska continue to report challenges discovering sufficient employees, as vacationers start to return. The pandemic led to document layoffs and shutdowns, and lots of staff left their former jobs.
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