Open & Shut: Indoor produce sprouts in Anchorage; Planet Fitness expands

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 in the area, send a note to with “Open & Shut” in the subject line.


Anchorage Greens: This new indoor farm at 1207 E. 73rd Ave. in South Anchorage is building a devoted clientele eager for tasty lettuce, herbs and other greens, especially in winter when grocery stores can run low on quality produce.

“This is amazing produce," said customer John Schoen, buying a tub of butter lettuce and other leafy veggies on Friday. “Nothing at the grocery stores comes anywhere near this.”

“Our family doesn’t drive much," said Meghan Holton, another customer grabbing an order. "But we drive here every week to get fresh greens because it tastes like summer.”

Anchorage Greens is an expansion of Juneau Greens, a similar business in the state’s capital, said Trevor Kirchhoff, who co-owns the businesses with John Krapek.

In the back of Anchorage Greens’ warehouse, a vivid green garden grows in a hydroponic system. Racks of plants sit in nutrient-filled water under LED lights.


The first plants were harvested in November. Customers can subscribe to the Greens Bag program, a weekly rotating menu of lettuces and herbs including basil, cilantro and red-veined sorrel. Kirchhoff said customers can also buy items individually.

The store features hard-to-find veggies such as purple-leafed basil, a colorful take on the herb.

Anchorage Greens has done no advertising, Kirchhoff said. Clients are learning about it through word of mouth.

Planet Fitness: The gym chain in February will open its first locations in Eagle River and Wasilla, bringing its total in Alaska to six.

Construction of two new buildings for the gyms is underway. Together, the work amounts to a $5 million investment, said franchisee Dan Afrasiabi.

More than a dozen people will be employed at each location, he said.

Planet Fitness has more than 1,800 locations across the U.S, including three in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks, Afrasiabi said.

Alaska Salt Co.: This maker of bath and beauty products, seasonings and other items made from Alaska salt harvested from Kachemak Bay seawater has opened a store in the 5th Avenue Mall.

The new location comes on top of the company’s debut store in Homer that opened in May, said co-owner Britni Siekaniec. That store is open seasonally May through September, drawing Homer’s summer tourists.

The new store, featuring Alaska-made products, opened in November year-round, seven days a week. It’s on the first level of the downtown mall, near the elevator.

“We’ve been expanding at a pretty rapid rate,” said Siekaniec. “We started part time and it took off.”

Namaste North Yoga: After six years, the yoga studio in December moved from its spot near the downtown Hilton Anchorage to 400 L St., Suite 150. It’s next door to the building that houses Simon and Seafort’s restaurant, across the street from Snow City Cafe.

“It’s a beautiful space looking out to Sleeping Lady (Mount Susitna)," said owner Sandy Walters.


TGI Fridays: The restaurant at Tudor Road and C Street closed Dec. 31 after 16 years in business.

But owner Bruce Burnett plans to open The Bear Paw Bar & Grill in its place, with a grand opening set for March 1.

As part of a national franchise, TGI Fridays was limited in what it could offer customers, Burnett said in a note to customers that circulated on social media. The new restaurant will be able to “showcase” foods and beverages that are produced locally in Alaska.


Kay’s Family Restaurant: The restaurant in Spenard that served breakfast all day announced Dec. 8 on its Facebook page that it had shut down, generating dozens of disappointed comments.

“We are permanently closed. Thank you for allowing us to serve your family,” the post said.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or