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Habitat for Humanity thrift store set to move into part of former REI space

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: April 12
  • Published April 12

The former REI location in the Northern Lights Center, photographed Friday, April 12, 2019. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Part of REI’s former space in Spenard has a new tenant on the way.

Habitat for Humanity Anchorage’s thrift shop, ReStore, is moving into a portion of REI’s old location in the Northern Lights Center mall, the nonprofit’s executive director Elaine Phillipps said.

ReStore will be on west end of the store, where the outdoor gear retailer’s backpacks and other camping items used to be, said Laura Gutierrez, Habitat for Humanity Anchorage fundraising manager.

ReStore won’t occupy the part of the old REI property that has two levels, she said. A construction crew has built a wall to separate the two spaces, and new front doors will be put in.

The commercial property at 1200 W. Northern Lights Blvd. has been the subject of much curiosity in Anchorage since REI relocated to the Midtown Mall earlier this year. It’s been difficult not to announce the move prematurely, Phillipps said, given the high level of interest in the spot.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” she said. The 15,000-square-foot location will have a soft opening in June and a grand opening in July.

It’s not clear what might be in store for the other part of the space. Renee Burk, building manager for the property, declined to comment for this story.

ReStore takes donations of furniture, appliances, construction materials and other items. Proceeds from sales go to Habitat for Humanity. The thrift store has outgrown its location at 5023 Cordova St., where it has been since 2004, Gutierrez said.

“One of our primary interests in moving was to move from a warehouse front to a retail front,” Phillipps said. “It’ll make for a much more welcoming and pleasant shopping experience.”

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