Anchorage gets a new vintage clothing store, a vet clinic opens, and Uncle Leroy ends his run in Midtown


April 5—Open & Shut is an ongoing series about the comings and goings of business in south-central Alaska. If you know of a business opening or closing in the area, send a note to reporter Alex DeMarban at [email protected] with “Open & Shut” in the subject line.


Penny Royalty: Nessa Nouveau has a passion for recycling – improving and increasing the value of old objects.

So in December, she opened a vintage clothing, jewelry and art store in Spenard, just north of Bear Tooth Theatrepub.

“I love bringing old things back to life,” she said.

It is a collective of a dozen female artists, friends of Nouveau, who sell their creations and receive a share of the sales, she says.

“It’s a cool girl group doing cool things,” she said.

She also buys some items for resale and accepts others on consignment.

Nouvelle said she was inspired to open Penny Royalty after working for a decade with other strong-minded women at the former Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge in Anchorage.

“As we get older, we get into that rhythm and we forget to create, and that’s important to me, to inspire creativity,” she said.

She is planning a fashion show on April 23 to celebrate Earth Day and highlight the work of several artists. They will show upcycled clothes, like a corset she made from silk tea bags.

Penny Royalty is at 1241 W. 27th Ave. It is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Anchorage Veterinary Clinic and Emergency Care: Emily Mehlman and John Knudsen are already getting calls for appointments. But the couple of veterinarians do not open their new clinic until Tuesday.

It’s a sign of the acute need for more veterinary services in Anchorage, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mehlman said.

They saw a husky named Stewie for a checkup last week, after the owner found them on Google but had few other options, Mehlman said.

“It’s hard to turn people away when pets are in need,” Mehlman said.

She said there was a shortage of vets nationwide and in Anchorage. Veterinary hours have lengthened during the pandemic as more people have had pets and clinics have been ordered to stop elective procedures, such as spaying and neutering, in order to give the priority to medical supplies for people.

The husband and wife recently left their jobs at other practices in Anchorage to open the clinic in South Anchorage at 8811 Toloff St. near Abbott Road.

They plan to offer curbside service from Tuesday, which means technicians will come outside to pick up pets for treatment.

Final construction work is still underway indoors, so the clinic does not plan to open indoors for pet owners until April 11.

Ravens Ring Brewing: Four guys with a passion for brewing opened this South Anchorage business in February after getting a great deal on equipment from a Kenai brewery.

In addition to beer, they serve wine, mead, cider and soda, said Lee Butterfield, professor of applied technology at South High School.

Butterfield and the other owners are all dads, so kids’ sodas, he says.

“We wanted to build something in our community that would be sustainable and bring people and families together,” he said.

They also wanted to create something they could one day pass on to their children, he said.

The other owners are Dave Parker, former head brewer at Broken Tooth Brewing, the brewing operation of Moose’s Tooth; Buck Voeller, who works at Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility; and Zac Hays of First National Bank Alaska.

They all spend time behind the bar, Butterfield said.

They planned to open Ravens Ring in the summer of 2020 but “the world has ended,” he said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building materials arrived late. And subcontractors were hard to find.

But everything is fine. The sales opening month was good, thanks to word of mouth, he said. They serve creations like blueberry and vanilla mead, rhubarb cream soda, and Concord wine.

“We won’t be Elon Musk by the end of next year, but it works,” he said.

Ravens Ring Brewing is across Industry Way from Play it Again Sports at 12150 Industry Way, Unit Q1. It opens on weekends from noon and from Wednesday to Friday at 4:00 p.m. It closes in the evening at 8:00 p.m.

Sonic Drive-In: Like other fast food restaurants in Alaska, the first Sonic to open in Anchorage encountered long lines of cars when it soft-opened last month, when it offered only a delivery service.

The real opening began last week, with car-hop and catering service, said franchise owner and manager Larry Clark.

The Sonic, the third largest in Alaska behind Fairbanks and Wasilla, has spent the past few weeks training employees and fixing software issues to improve drive-thru service.

The Sonic at 1137 Huffman Road, with an indoor play area, was slated to open last spring. But pandemic-related challenges in obtaining building materials and builders have held back progress, Clark said.

Sonic’s department will work on issues for a few more months as it improves its procedures, he said. It was so crowded that he had to send employees to direct traffic outside the restaurant. And some people place huge orders.

“It’s a very strong demand,” he said.

Apex Auctions: Craig Aglietti said a decade ago that he had a hunch Anchorage needed more auction houses.

At the time, he emptied foreclosed properties for banks and brought the abandoned items to auction houses. Business at auction houses was always buoyant, even when operations were poorly managed, he said.

He opened Apex Auctions late last year and realized he was right. Sales are taking off and there is plenty to sell, he said. Every Alaskan has some quality stuff they need to get rid of.

Apex hosts daily online auctions at He sells guns, jewelry, tools, motorcycles, and even cars, including a 1966 Plymouth Barracuda, among others.

The auction house will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce at its bonded warehouse Tuesday beginning at 4 p.m., Aglietti said.

It’s located in South Anchorage at 625 W. 59th Ave., Unit G. It’s near Brewerks, a new brewery. Apex will host a reception there after the inauguration.

Maple Springs of Anchorage: Retirement and assisted living home opened recently. It has dozens of assisted living units, with kitchenettes and private bathrooms, and a memory care unit called The Lighthouse which includes 28 private studios, serving people with diagnoses such as dementia.

Several people are moving in each week, highlighting the need for assisted living support in Anchorage, said Ethan Tyler, spokesperson for Cook Inlet Region Inc., owner of the land in Maple Springs at 11000 C St. in South Anchorage.

United Physical Therapy: The local business opened its fourth Anchorage clinic in South Anchorage in January, at 2203 W. Dimond Blvd., Suite 100A, near Walgreens.


Uncle Leroy’s Cafe: The small-batch roaster closed its cafe in the Olympic Center mall in Midtown last month.

Co-owner Carla McConnell cleaned everything Thursday night. Then she sat there and cried, she said.

“It was quite emotional,” she said.

She said the landlord wanted another tenant in the space, but offered Uncle Leroy a new place in the mall. But the cafe had spent more than $100,000 upgrading its establishment more than four years ago, she said. The owners therefore decided not to do so.

“We didn’t have the funds or frankly the energy to start all over again,” she said.

She said Food and Wine magazine recently named Uncle Leroy the best coffee in Alaska. The business, which got its start roasting coffee beans in a pot on an old bus, will stay alive, she said.

Its night roasting operation will move into The Writer’s Block bookstore and cafe in Spenard. The bookstore will serve cups of coffee from Uncle Leroy. The same will be true for That Feeling Co., Cake Studio and Blue Market. Coffee beans will still be available on

Bistro Red Beet: Wasilla restaurant and bakery closed Saturday after 15 years after retired owners failed to find a buyer for the business, according to a Facebook post for its ‘Beetniks’.

But Bistro Red Beet, which focused on Alaskan-grown ingredients, isn’t going away entirely.

Sally Koppenberg and her husband Jay Erickson have always planned to retire this spring, Koppenberg said Monday. But they are “worker bees” with a small commercial kitchen at home and plenty of projects. For one, they will have a trade booth at the Palmer Midsummer Garden and Art Faire in July, she said.

Larger projects include publishing a cookbook one day, as well as “private catering, teaching, and subscription baking (think donuts, cakes, and bread),” according to the Facebook post.

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