Open & Shut: New bookstore and ice cream shop, plus two retail closures

This is an installment of an occasional series in the Anchorage Daily News, taking a quick look at the comings and goings of businesses in Southcentral Alaska. If you know of a business opening or closing its doors in the area, send a note to reporter Annie Zak at


The Writer's Block Bookstore and Cafe: This literary cafe and independent bookstore aims to have a soft opening in early January. Co-owner Vered Mares said the space will be a full-service restaurant, and it also has a small stage for readings and other events.

The new building is at 3956 Spenard Road, where a porn shop — bearing a sign that simply read "Adults Only" — used to be.

The Writer's Block will sell new books, with a focus on Alaska works, co-owner Dawnell Smith said. Mares said they hope to offer beer and wine as well. They plan to be open from 7 a.m. until midnight six days a week, closed on Mondays.

WooHoo! Ice Cream: Opening an ice cream shop in Alaska in the winter? It's actually going better than you might expect, said Peter Woo, who owns WooHoo! Ice Cream. The shop at 5881 Arctic Blvd. opened in early November, and Woo plans to have a grand opening in early December.

"It actually isn't turning out to be such a terrible time," Woo said, though he added that business has started off slow. "It's a good time for a soft opening, just to kind of work out the kinks of everything."


He's been making ice cream for about two years now, and uses honey instead of sugar in his product. The shop is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 2 to 11 p.m., and Fridays through Sundays it opens at noon. It's closed on Mondays.

[Open & Shut: A roundup of comings and goings among Anchorage-area businesses]


Bella Boutique: Annie Ciszak Pazar, owner of this clothing and accessory store at 2601 Spenard Road, said several factors led to her decision to close.

"The state economy — there don't seem to be as many people walking through doors into stores. There seems to be a lot more online buying," she said. "The (Spenard) Road project did not help. … And the mimes didn't help either."

Ciszak Pazar was referring to the MimeSpenard project, which brought mimes to the neighborhood during summer road construction. She said she's terrified of mimes and that some customers even asked her if the "coast was clear" of them before they came to the shop.

A silversmith by trade, Ciszak Pazar said she plans to continue working on her own jewelry line.

"It's been a good 10-year run, and time for something a little different," she said. Bella Boutique's last day of business will be Dec. 22.

About Face: This lingerie, bath and beauty store at 1005 E. Dimond Blvd. will close Jan. 31, the owners said in a Facebook post this month. The shop opened in 2003 in downtown Anchorage before moving to the south side, according to About Face's website.

"We are grateful to the Anchorage community for its support for the last 15 years," owners Leeann and Shane Taylor said in an emailed statement. "Now it is time for us to pursue more far-flung and leisurely interests in the future."

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.