Black Market Store in Downtown Closing
Smoking accessory store has been open 40 years
ANCHORAGE - After 40 years in Anchorage, The Black Market is closing down. Though the store has been the subject of legal battles and police raids, it’s closing because of a retirement. Owner Douglas Myers is in his 80s and he said it's time to slow down. He's marked all of the pipes in the store down 30 percent and said once the inventory goes, he'll close his doors.
Colored glass pipes line the walls behind the counter. Pipes made of different materials line up under the counters. The downtown fixture is known for selling these kind of edgy products. When asked to describe his store, Myers said, "You can call it whatever you want. It depends on the people what it is." Cashier Shannon Combs delivered the politically correct definition: "It's a tobacco shop – we sell pipes and water pipes."
Selling products that many people use to smoke marijuana has its challenges. Myers said he's spent lots of money on legal fees in the past 40 years. He said other similar retailers will miss him standing up for all of them when he goes out of business.
This will be the Myers' second retirement. He also retired from the Air Force. His service brought him to Alaska from his Southern California. He said he appreciated the freedom in Alaska when he first came up. He also said it was a good place to raise his five children.
For someone whose profits are derived from the counterculture, Myers seems incredibly tame, saying that he's really looking forward to studying family genealogy when he retires.
Combs, the cashier, said from the outside it’s easy to judge The Black Market and its employees. She's been advised to leave her two-and-a-half years at the store off her resume. "You know sometimes people judge you; you try to not care. We don't do anything here that people don't do out there."
She described working at the shop as like a family, "somewhere you can go and just feel comfortable."
She has another job lined up once the store closes.
It's a quiet ending for a store with a colorful past.