Open & Shut: Anchorage adds an online ammo delivery business, a taproom, 2 coffee shops and an e-bike tour company

Also, Sweet Caribou opens a location in the airport, a Burlington store moves to a new spot and new concept emerges: garage condos. And Ghost Tours closes.

Open & Shut is an ongoing series looking 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 reporter Alex DeMarban at with “Open & Shut” in the subject line.


Buzzed Beetle: Simone Lange opened this taproom in Mountain View after years of making homemade mocktails and hard seltzers using Alaska ingredients like dandelions and fireweed.

Buzzed Beetle sells non-alcoholic cocktails like the matcha mojito, the strawberry basil and lime, and the sweet-and-sour appletini. Other drinks include the Moroccan melon mint iced tea and the strawberry orange spritz.

Lange also plans to sell hard seltzers as soon as she receives the liquor license for the business, though she’ll keep Thursdays non-alcoholic for people who want a nice place to gather but don’t drink.

Her flagship beverage will probably be a cinnamon hard seltzer, which she describes as a “smooth, elegant Fireball.” She brewed a keg of that for Turnagain Brewing last year, where she apprenticed to learn more about the taproom industry. South Restaurant + Coffeehouse also carried it last summer, she said.

The Bridge Co. restaurant in the Ship Creek area in downtown currently carries four of her mocktails.

Lange is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She moved to the U.S. at the age of 12, and later joined the U.S. Army, which brought her to Alaska. She opened Buzzed Beetle after impressing friends with her homebrews and non-alcoholic cocktails, she said.

She was researching the business idea last year when Alpenglow Brewery closed, allowing her to purchase the equipment and open her doors late last month.


The taproom is located off the Glenn Highway at 3024 Mountain View Drive, Suite 106, in a business center next door to Spinz Pollo a la Brasa restaurant. It’s open 4-9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday. It opens at 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It closes one hour early on Sunday, at 8 p.m.

The Buzzed Beetle got its name after one of her homebrews dripped onto her garage floor. A black beetle slurped up the brew and “staggered away,” only to return with a friend for more, as Lange tells it.

907 Ammo: James and Meredith Lewis provide online-based doorstep delivery of bullets and shotgun shells along the Alaska road system.

The idea for the business started turning in their heads about a dozen years ago, after they moved to Alaska for his military career and couldn’t find a business that provided online-based ammunition delivery to houses, they said.

It’s a service that existed in other states where they’d lived, said James, a former U.S. Army officer who also served in the Alaska Army National Guard.

When the pandemic ramped up online purchasing a few years ago, they seriously began pursuing their idea.

In April, they launched 907 Ammo.

The company delivers competitively priced ammunition to homes and businesses from Homer to North Pole, they said.

“We wanted to increase the convenience of online ordering,” James Lewis said.

907 Ammo sells ammunition for pistols, shotguns and rifles, from names such as Winchester, Federal and Black Hills. A popular item: the special HoneyBadger bullets often purchased by hunters for bear defense, he said.

They rent a warehouse in Midtown and have no storefront. That helps them order in large quantities and keep costs low, he said.

Parents of two young children, the husband and wife are former shooting instructors who grew up shooting competitively.


As they expand their business, they want to employ military veterans and support the community, they said. They’ve donated to events for youth shooting education and to the Combat Fishing Tournament in Seward for veterans. James Lewis serves on the board of Arctic Guardian, a nonprofit advocating for adequate training and equipment for active-duty military and law enforcement.

“We look forward to growing and being able to support other community engagement activities for veterans and small businesses,” said James Lewis. “And we hope to increase support for youth shooting sports education.”

Freewheel Tours: Leland McKeeman combined his passion for biking and art to start this new tour company.

At Freewheel Tours, McKeeman provides e-bikes for an 18-mile, three-hour tour of the city’s murals and sculptures. With the backstories of the art and artists, he brings alive public art that’s sometimes overlooked, he said.

“I bring people to see and experience the art, and get the history behind it and the deeper story behind the things we walk by every day,” he said.

Among his favorites is the tall, red Crystal Lattice sculpture outside the Anchorage Museum. The Lunch Break sculpture off a Campbell Creek trail, featuring a bear, a man and a sandwich, is another one he likes, he said.


The tours start at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., at Tudor Elementary in the Campbell Park neighborhood, at 1666 Cache Drive.

The route includes a circuit around downtown Anchorage, including along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. It also connects the greenbelts along the Campbell and Chester creeks, allowing for wildlife sightings and mountainous views along with the art stops.

Able Garage Condos: Ryan Cropper is building 32 garage condominiums off the Seward Highway in South Anchorage. About half will be rented out, and about half will be for sale, Cropper said.

With their own plumbing, power, showers and bathroom, along with heated floors and washer-dryer hookups, they might be as comfortable as some homes.

But they’re not zoned for residential living.

Instead, with their huge garage doors, man door, and 1,000 square feet of space or more, they often store people’s toys or work equipment, said Yvan Corbin, the project’s Realtor. That includes RVs, oceangoing boats and snowmachines.


Corbin said garage condos are increasingly common nationwide. Some garage condo complexes already exist in Anchorage and new ones are being built, he said.

People want a space to safely house their gear, he said. Some use it for business purposes, like a plumber with a work van and equipment. Others are downsizing their home, perhaps to a residential condominium, and they suddenly need the extra garage space.

He said Able Garage Condos can also be a place to relax or remotely work. One family plans to put a pool table in the upper loft that comes with some units. Others will use the loft for an office. One person plans to have a golf simulator inside, he said.

The units are located at 7840 Homer Drive, site of the former Able Raceway go-kart track.

Cropper, the project owner who formerly owned Able Body Shop, said he purchased the go-kart track about five years ago. But it could only operate in dry weather in summer. He closed it, and came up with the idea for the garage condos after thinking of all the times customers had asked him if they could use his garage to repair equipment in the winter.

“There’s just a huge shortage in Anchorage for anyone who wants garage-type space,” he said.

Some units are completed and under contract to be bought, Corbin said. They’re going for more than $300,000. Others are still under development. They include monthly fees for things like security and snowplowing.

The project will be completed around the middle of this summer, Corbin said.


Chugach Mountain Roasters Spenard: Lyle Kass and Kerry McCourt started their roasting business in Girdwood in the early days of the pandemic.

“It worked out perfectly to drop off coffee at people’s doors and run away,” Kass said, laughing.

But early this year, the husband and wife moved the coffee roasting company to Anchorage. Now, they’ve just opened their first cafe in Spenard.

Chugach Mountain Roasters Spenard sells its coffee, made from beans from around the world. They also continue to roast beans and sell them online to individuals and to other cafes.

“We roast our coffee to reveal the flavors of its origins,” he said. “We want to show where it comes from, and what the coffee and producer and climate have put into it.”

Single-origin drinks, with coffee sourced from a single farmer or country, rotate regularly. It’s selling a specialty tea through June for Pride Month. The “Let’s have a kiki,” is an iced matcha with dragon fruit agave coconut cream. Some of those sales will go to an organization that helps queer youth find shelter, he said.

The cafe is open from Tuesday through Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It’s located next to Catalyst Cannabis, at 4707 Spenard Road, just east of Lake Hood.

Sweet Caribou: The macaron, sandwich and salad shop is opening its second spot. It’s in the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, after security in the main terminal.

Owner James Strong said he opened the new location because travelers looking for a quick airport meal need healthier choices than fast-food burgers or pizza. Sweet Caribou’s salads and sandwiches fit that bill, he said.

“And people are always looking for something uniquely Alaskan, and the macarons can fill that order,” like the Summit Tree Earl Gray made with local fireweed honey and lemon buttercream, he said.

Wild Starr Coffee House: Linda Burke and her daughter Angel Ochoa opened a gift store and art studio in downtown Anchorage last summer.

This summer they added a coffee house and charcuterie bar in the vacant space next door, at the northeast corner of 6th Avenue and E Street, at 500 W. 6th Ave.

Wild Starr Coffee House sells artisan cheeses, dips, jams and other items made by Alaska vendors, plus beverages like fresh-squeezed lemonade blended with locally crafted jam to sweeten it, Burke said.

The coffee bar serves Kaladi Brothers coffee. Some of the coffees include lattes made with Alaska ingredients spruce tip or birch syrups.

The coffee shop hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. They open at 8 a.m. on weekends, closing Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Burlington: Formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, Burlington has moved into the former Bed Bath and Beyond store. It’s located just north of the Dimond Center at 601 E. Dimond Blvd.

The new spot replaces the store’s former location at 1920 W. Dimond Blvd., near Fred Meyer, west of the Walter J. Hickel Parkway.

The New Jersey-based chain sells ladies, kids and baby apparel plus menswear, including big and tall sizes. Other lines include home décor and pet care items.


Ghost Tours of Anchorage: Ghost tour guide Rick Goodfellow is hanging up his top hat and tails after nearly two decades in business.

Downtown Anchorage has gotten too uncomfortable for the tour groups that visited downtown sites rumored to be haunted.

“If I owned the Daily News, this would be the headline: Downtown is too scary for the ghost tour,” he said

Goodfellow said that in recent years, his tour groups have been increasingly accosted by people who might be on drugs or are unstable.

Other business owners have raised concerns about the state of downtown, especially when it felt like a ghost town during the pandemic. Though new construction activity is upgrading spots, the area continues to struggle as the number of unsheltered residents in Anchorage has risen and city leaders have grappled with providing shelter and support.

Kaladi Brothers cafe closed its longtime location inside the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts late last year. The coffee shop cited growing safety concerns tied to bad behavior, such as people throwing objects inside the shop and relieving themselves outside it.

Goodfellow said it seemed like not enough was being done about the problems, so he decided to call it quits last summer.

“I want to emphasize not everybody who’s a bad actor downtown is homeless,” he said. “That is just not the case. But homelessness is at the root of it, because simple laws of decorum no longer apply downtown.”

Goodfellow isn’t giving up ghosts.

He’s working with a colleague on a book about the murder mystery about a century ago of Anchorage’s first chief of police Jack Sturgus. Sturgus’ death near the Historic Anchorage Hotel made for a popular ghost story during the tour, Goodfellow said.

“It’s quite a story,” he said, “to go back 100 years and solve a murder.”

Rainmaker: The Rainmaker car wash at the northwest corner of Elmore and Tudor roads has closed. The company directed customers to its location at 8900 Lake Otis Parkway.

Southcentral Foundation, the Alaska Native-owned health care organization, is building a $100 million facility at the site to expand behavioral health services in Alaska.

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