History of the Anchorage Market
2023 is the 32nd season for the Anchorage Market, located in our NEW home at 88th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99515. Our new home was made possible thanks primarily to the Dimond Center Mall.
Why we moved: In January 2021, a representative with the downtown parking authority called our office to speak with us in regard to the 2021 Anchorage Market season. During this phone conversation the parking representative officially notified us that they would not be willing to reduce our rent as they had in 2020. In 2020, the downtown parking authority was able and willing to reduce our rent to $2,500 per weekend +utilities, down from $7,120 per 2 day weekend; it was because of this reduction that the Market was able to continue in 2020. This agreement in 2020 was only made possible after providing the parking authority with a breakdown of what the parking lot was valued at, had each space been paid for by a monthly parking customer.
Continuing in our conversation, the parking authority gave us a two week period in which we could raise enough funds to pay rent for 2021 and to provide them with an answer as to whether or not we would be able to afford rent for the parking lot. We notified the parking representative that without a reduction in rent, our business would not be able to survive in the location, in conjunction with a dismal projection for tourism to Alaska in 2021. Unfortunately the parking authority would not renegotiate rent for 2021, even with the dismal forecast for the Anchorage economy. Further the parking representative made us aware that their lease on the parking lot would be expiring in September of 2021 and they would not be renewing their lease with the MOA for this parking area. This further emphasized our need to relocate the Market to a suitable area.
So, after 29 years in the same location, having installed infrastructure such as buildings and utilities, which we were forced to abandon, we have found our NEW home at 88th Avenue and we are more excited than ever to host an event where small businesses can grow and customers can enjoy the fruits of these small businesses labor!
More on our History: The Anchorage Market was first established in 1992 as the Anchorage Downtown Saturday Market, and consisted of about two dozen vendors with an emphasis on fresh Alaska Grown produce. The mission of the Market was “To provide a conveniently located family oriented open-air Market for Alaska residents and visitors to shop and enjoy Alaska’s beautiful summer season while creating economic opportunities for local citizens and businesses.” From its beginnings through the 1998 Season the “Saturday Market” was operated by the Anchorage Parking Authority.
In 1999, the Anchorage Parking Authority issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the management of the Market and this was awarded to its previous manager, Webb’s Consulting and Management Services, Inc. of Anchorage. Under the management of Webb’s Consulting the Market grew and flourished into what it is today, one of the largest and most successful open-air weekend Markets of its kind in the United States. As of December 31, 2018 Webb’s Consulting & Management Services, Inc has sold the Anchorage Market to Alaska Markets & Events, Inc. On January 1, 2019 the Anchorage Market is under the ownership and management of Alaska Markets & Events, Inc. Under new ownership Alaska Markets hopes to continue the long standing reputation of the Anchorage Market as a family destination in Anchorage. The Anchorage Market operates eighteen weekends starting in mid-May and ending in mid-September constitute our season so that we provide the Anchorage community and visitors with a summer weekly attraction and family event suitable for the enjoyment of adults and children of all ages without charging for admission.
During the 2023 season, more than 100 vendors will fill our booths to offer Alaska’s largest variety of products, including unique handmade arts, crafts and gifts by Alaskan artisans, collectibles, furs, jewelry, fresh produce, a wide variety of foods to eat at the market or take home and so much more! But shopping is only part of the Anchorage Market’s appeal. Buskers (street entertainers) perform in the aisles throughout the market. Our 30 food booths make us Anchorage’s largest restaurant with the most diverse and exciting menu in town. However, food and shopping are 2nd and 3rd on the pollster’s results as the reason to visit Anchorage Market . People (and dog) watching, along with the general ambiance of the place are way out in 1st place with Market-goers.
The Anchorage Market has become a very special event and destination for many locals and visitors, and plays a very important role in our community. Estimated counts by outside consultants show that more than 500,000 people attended the Market in 2019. Considering Anchorage’s population of about 300,000, this is a truly amazing number!