After earthquake, Anchorage businesses clean up, assess damage

JJ Doherty serves customers at Chilkoot Charlie’s on Saturday, December 1, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. The bar had a lot of damage from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck the city on November 30. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Businesses around Anchorage were shaken hard by Friday’s earthquake. After a weekend of cleanup, many businesses are re-opening. But not everyone has the all-clear yet.

By Saturday, while many Downtown Anchorage businesses had opened, some remained closed. Signs in doorways indicated their owners were cleaning up.

The whole Fifth Avenue Mall was closed until early afternoon Saturday.

At 2 p.m., some mall stores opened, letting in a crowd of customers who had been waiting on the sky bridge outside its doors.

The mall’s management declined to comment for this story. Management also did not want Alaska Public Media to talk to its retailers.

At Chilkoot Charlie’s, a bar in the city’s Spenard neighborhood, bartender JJ Doherty was back to business as usual. Friday morning, she arrived at work to find broken bottles all over the floor behind the bar. The cleanup required extra people and tools.

“Shovels, lots of shovels,” Doherty said. “When I first saw it I was like — you know I’ve cleaned up messes of bottles here and there but — I saw a pile of it and I was like I don’t even know where to begin.”

Doherty says bar staff and friends came together and got the mess cleaned up within a couple hours.

“And we also had friends who came in and helped me,” Doherty said. “I had called my friends, I was pretty shaken up. They were calling me like ‘we got the day off, we’re going home! And I was like, ‘well then you get over and help me clean up.'”

Chilkoot Charlie’s stayed open throughout the cleanup, and Doherty says by the evening, there was a full bar of customers.

She says bar management is still assessing the impact of the lost bottles, but she doesn’t expect it to be huge blow financially.

Around the city, businesses that had closed for cleanup are beginning to re-open.

R.E.I. was open Saturday. So was Title Wave Books. The bookstore had to pick up a lot of books that had fallen off the shelves. They’re currently having and earthquake warehouse sale.

The movie theater at the Beartooth Theatre Pub is closed through at least Monday. General Manager Stephanie Johnson says they are unsure exactly when the movie theater will be back up and running. The business is making sure the room is structurally safe, and that the technical equipment needed to show movies is running properly. The restaurant is open as usual.

Barnes and Noble re-opened Monday after being closed through the weekend for clean-up.

The full extent of earthquake damage, and what it will cost to fix it, is still being assessed throughout Southcentral Alaska.