Open & Shut: A women’s bike clothing store and late night diner, as the Bradley House and a taco truck complete their run
Open and close is an ongoing series Iwatch the whereabouts of businesses in south-central Alaska. If you know of a business opening or closing in the area, send a note to reporter Alex DeMarban, with “Open and Close” in the subject line.
Last Grill call and delivery: When COVID-19 hit last spring, Gregory Daniels was taken on leave from his job as a chef on an offshore drilling rig in Cook Inlet.
With little money, he bought a grill, printed promotional flyers, and started a delivery-only business, Last Call Grill and Delivery.
He said he had personally handed out around 5,000 promotional menus outside bars, hospitals and strip clubs, letting people know he would serve American food until the early hours of the morning.
Business took off. Profits have poured in, he said.
It helped that there weren’t many meals in Anchorage after midnight, said Daniels, a longtime cook and restaurant owner from South Carolina.
âI had to find something, and I went to what I can do and that is cooking and selling food,â he said. “The first night I made $ 1,000, and it just kept going up as the word spread about the food.”
Things turned out so well that at the end of June Daniels moved into the building at 302 W. Fireweed Lane that once housed Marco T’s pizzeria, which closed due to the pandemic.
Three weeks after the start of Daniels’ new operation, sales are strong and growing, he said.
Families arrive for dinner when the restaurant opens at 7 p.m. A younger crowd shows up when bars close, with some customers staying until the 4:30 a.m. closing time, he said. It also offers catering and delivery.
âIt’s American comfort food,â he said. âWe have Philly’s, Wings, an amazing range of burgers and fried chicken, pork chops and fried fish.â
He also prepares pancakes, omelets and other breakfasts.
âEvery penny I earned I put it back,â Daniel said. âI want a better life for myself and my family. “
AK Cycle Chic: Krystal Offord and Nancy Richmond were sitting in a “garage happy hour” during last year’s pandemic when they started talking about the difficulty finding women’s bike clothing in Anchorage.
âBike shops do a great job selling bikes, but there is a sorely lack of specialist clothing, gear and accessories for women and that sort of thing,â said Offord.
Offord, who was in charge of finance at the University of Alaska Anchorage at the time, had lost his job due to the university’s budget cuts. Richmond – nicknamed “Viper McGnarly” for his aggressive driving style – has retired.
The two friends therefore decided to start a boutique for women’s cycling clothing.
After months of planning, AK Cycle Chic launched on Tuesday with a smooth opening in the afternoon. The grand opening with an “evening” is scheduled for August 5, Offord said. The store is located at 908 W. Northern Lights Blvd., the former home of The Alaska Walking Store’s Midtown location.
The store sells colorful jerseys, bike shorts, and other clothing, as well as cycling-inspired jewelry, art, and housewares.
The owners are also planning to sell women’s cycling shoes, but they can’t yet. They have been difficult to find during the pandemic, Richmond said.
The owners plan to transform a loft into an art gallery where women artisans can sell items. The store does not sell bicycles, but plans to host bicycle repair shops run by women.
âWe would like to get more involved in the community and we see this place where women can come if they have questions or problems,â said Richmond.
907-E-BIKE: The electric bike rental store opened in June in downtown Anchorage at 523 W. 4th Ave.
It is aimed at tourists and local residents who want to enjoy a bike ride using the electric motor, said Liz Cohen, an employee.
“Everyone uses them and cares about them,” she said.
The store has around 100 electric bikes of different styles and sizes. They include mountain bikes and commuter bikes.
The store likely won’t be able to buy more e-bikes until next year, she said. The demand for e-bikes has increased during the pandemic and orders for new ones are being backed up for a long time, she said.
Bradley House: The South Anchorage restaurant will close on July 25 after 21 years in business, due to pandemic-related factors that have reduced sales and made it difficult to find workers, longtime owner Bernadette Bradley said.
âI can’t find enough employees to operate the place if I want or need them, and it’s too stressful for my managers with the turnover,â Bradley said.
Restaurant closures and other restrictions over the past year have hurt the company, which has not offered its lunch service for over a year, she said.
Instead of the usual summer workforce of more than 50 employees, the restaurant employs around 23 workers.
People are leaving the industry for other opportunities, she said.
âA lot of hospitality people aren’t coming back because they were pretty much in poverty in the winter with the closures,â she said.
Bradley said last year she borrowed from her retirement fund to help cover restaurant expenses.
About $ 600,000 in federal pandemic grants, offered through the Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund, helped her pay off that debt, she said.
The money also allows him to provide severance pay to his workers. And she will return a lot of the money to the federal government, she said.
âFinancially I’m fine, but I can’t run a restaurant properly if I don’t have enough cooks and the food takes forever to reach customers,â she said. “And if there aren’t enough servers, then the service is poor.”
Los Tacos Alaska: The food truck has closed for an indefinite period.
âIt was a fun ride. Lots of great memories, âowner Carlos Cardoso said in a Facebook post.
In an interview, Cardoso said it had closed due to lack of activity during the pandemic and continuing uncertainty in the restaurant industry.
ShuzyQ: After the pandemic took a toll on his business, the shoe store in April left its place next to the South Restaurant and moved further in the same building, to Mountain View Sports at 11124 Old Seward Highway.
The combination has benefited both the hunting and fishing store and the shoe retailer, the two business owners said.
More tourists and locals are coming out as the pandemic slows, so the sports store is attracting a lot of traffic that helps the store, ShuzyQ co-owner Dawn Walsh said.
âIt got really cute,â Walsh said. âThe men can go to the fishing side and the women can go to the shop.
Speedway Express: Thirty-one Tesoro gas stations across Alaska have been converted to Speedway Express sites, said Casey Sullivan, director of government and public affairs at Marathon Petroleum Corp.
Speedway Express is owned by 7-Eleven. The convenience store chain bought the convenience branch of Marathon Petroleum Corp., which owned Tesoro stations in Alaska, in May.