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Wow. 2016 was a rough one for Anchorage businesses. I don’t think there is a single local mom and pop that didn’t experience a noticeable decline in sales throughout the year, and most notably during the holiday season. There are of course many theories about this…from the state’s own economy being in the toilet with ever consuming debt, to the uncertainty of the greater system after that dumpster fire of an election in November (I think we still have a mild hangover). But I really think the biggest part of this giant hit to our local small business is this. The internet. The thing which is hosting this little post.

Remember when all the small towns were up in arms about WalMart when they were coming in and decimating small local economies? Well, that is kind of exactly what is happening now, but on a much larger scale. So many folks are turning to Amazon and other sites to do their quick “click and ship” shopping and it is hurting some very real local business owners. Hard. Now we aren’t saying that you should never use Amazon – we do. And we love it! And free shipping to Alaska? Hell yeah!! – but remember that each click takes a few pennies (ok, more like lots of dollars) out of your friends and neighbors pockets.

We have already lost so many gems in this town this year – shops that have been staples for years and years – and if we don’t reign this trend in, we are going to lose more. Those awesome little shops with one of a kind things? The shopkeeper who knows your name and asks how your kids are? The place on the corner that calls you when they just know you are going to love something that just came in? That is all going to go away. I think our UPS guy is pretty great, and I’m pretty sure the regular mailman on our route is some sort of a saint, but that doesn’t mean I want my shopping experiences to be whittled down to delivery men and boxes.

The week before Christmas a customer was in making some holiday purchases. When I asked if she was honing in on the holiday gift buying finish line, she said “Oh. I did all of my shopping online. But now it is so close to Christmas that things won’t ship on time so I had to come out and go to actual stores.” I think my heart actually broke a little. You know that scene in the Grinch when his heart gets bigger and little springs and screws go ‘ping’ and ‘boing’? That was my heart – but in the opposite direction. And you know, this girl was not alone. Not even close.

We really need to reign this in. This online buying thing. It really is having a very dramatic, and very real effect on our local small business landscape. It is already too late for some of our favorite local haunts, but it doesn’t have to be too late for all. Please. PLEASE. Think before you click. Can you get that in town? How devastated would you be if _______ closed? While of course many local shops have online personas as well – Etsy, their own point of sale websites, etc, etc – which is awesome!! And we aren’t saying that the internet is bad (no Luddites here!)…..just be aware of who and where you click from.

I love Anchorage. I love how tight-knit our community is. I love that we are so unique. Let’s not allow the big giant interweb and the convenience of stored credit card information and free shipping ruin it. Because that would be the ultimate sad.

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World Wide Knit in Public Day was started in 2005 by Danielle Landes. It began as a way for knitters to come together and enjoy each others company. Knitting is such a solitary act that it’s easy to knit alone somewhere and sink into your work without thinking about all the other knitters out there. Neighbors could spend all their lives never knowing that the other knits. This a specific day to get out of your house and go to a local event (with your knitting in tow) just for you and people like you. Who knows you might even bump into your neighbor! Consider this a spark, to ignite a fire; getting all of the closeted knitters out into fresh air.

WWKiP Day is really about showing the general public that knitting can be a community activity in a very distinct way. In some places there are many different knitting groups that never interact with each other, on WWKiP Day they come together in one place, making them hard to miss.

Where: Midtown Cuddy Family Park, Anchorage
When: Wednesday, June 12 6-9pm
What: Bring your knitting, crochet or needle work to the park with a picnic snack or dinner, a chair or blanket and get ready to have fun!

No need to RSVP but you are welcome to check out the facebook event page here.

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The rumors are true! Bella will now be open 7 days a week! Woo hoo! We’re pretty excited about being able to offer such great access to handcrafted awesomeness in Anchorage. New items arriving weekly, and great things in the works for our 5th birthday coming up February 25th (so mark your calendars).

In the meantime, we will see you Monday – Saturday 11ish – 6ish and Sunday Noonish – 5ish.

 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means Black Friday follows right along. But instead of battling the crowds in those big box stores, for the same thing everyone else is going to have, why not wait until the next day, and get on board with Small Business Saturday. This is the day to show your support for those little mom and pop local joints that you would be sad to see go. Choose to use your purchasing power to support small locally owned stores and watch that money not only stay in your community, but buy great gifts which are far more one of a kind that those you would find under all those fluorescent lights.

We will be open from 10-6 on Saturday November 26th with Free goody bags for the first 10 shoppers  in that day. Each bag is a little different, but contains lots of fun stuff. Think gift cards to other local businesses, yummy treats, and things you didn’t know you needed until now.

So, what do you say? Shall we see you on Small Business Saturday?


We are absolutely in love with the new Jes Switaj designs. Awesome roadster bicycles, jellies and octopi galore. Men’s & women’s sizes, 4 colors. Full of awesome. As always, we’re open Tuesday – Saturday 11-6, Sunday 12-5. See you soon!

Holy oh my awesome! We had so much fun during the Spenard Jazz Fest Jazz Boutique. Ric Ruttem & Shane Russell rocked it from 2-4 and it was fantastic! The tunes that were wafting through Spenard immediately put a smile on many faces. We love this neighborhood and to see (and hear) it so alive does a body (and soul) good! I can’t wait to do this again next year. Thank you all for coming out and supporting events like this. It is with your support that we can continue to do things like this.

Hugs and cookies and kittens for you all. Mwah.

If you came in to see us Saturday afternoon, I  must apologize for not being there. I received a phone call from my husband informing me that our home was on fire. We live in a 6 unit condo complex which caught fire early Saturday afternoon. Though we are *very* lucky in that we have only minor smoke damage, some of our neighbors were not as  lucky. Extensive fire damage has made 4 of the units uninhabitable for an extended period of time. All humans made it out safely, though we are sad to report that Marzipan, a lovely kitty cat, did not escape the smoke.

I am utterly amazed at the community outreach we have experienced thus far. The Red Cross was there with anything we could or will need, within 15 minutes of the firemen. The firemen themselves did a stellar job not only putting out the fire, but walking us through the next steps (they even brought our ferret Betty White out of the burning building! She will be bunking at Bella for a few days until we can move back in). I was also live tweeting the event and had over 50 offers of aid. From places to stay, to food, helping to clean, to critter care, I am just dumbfounded. This is such an amazing community to live in. I cannot thank you enough for all of your help.

We’re not out of the woods yet – we are just starting the process of investigating our options. Though my husband and I are so very, very lucky in that we only need a little smoke cleaning, our neighbors may need more. Stay tuned for information on how you can help. In the meantime, we thank you for your thoughts and good juju. We are truly blessed to be par of such a caring and amazing community.

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