Anchorage nonprofit hopes to open marijuana business, donate proceeds to charity
The big yellow sign outside 6th Avenue Outfitters boasts a $2 million liquidation sale at The Outlet Upstairs, a new business that started in July.
However, the reason everything must go isn’t what you’d expect.
When Kate Giard, a former Anchorage chief fiscal officer, first explored the second floor of the former Downtown Anchorage Library, she was shocked.
It was like walking through an episode of the TV show, Hoarders. The 14,000-square foot space was filled to the brim with outdoor gear that had accumulated for years and sat untouched.
“There is so much that it’s almost unimaginable,” Giard said. “Rows and racks and miles of Carharts. We have extreme winter gear. There are entire containers full.”
The building is currently owned by 95-year-old Larry Passerine, who started a nonprofit called the LAP Foundation. Giard serves as the foundation’s trustee. She said when Passerine dies, the LAP Foundation will take over the 6th Avenue Outfitters building.
Giard helped come up with the idea to sell as much of the excess inventory as possible to help pay for essential renovations to the building.
“We looked at all the inventory and an idea popped into our head and we said, ‘Why don’t we open an outlet store?'” Giard said. “We are trying to clear out this area so we can take this awesome building and bring it back to what it used to be.”
The LAP Foundation’s plans don’t stop there.
Once all the inventory is sold or donated, the LAP Foundation hopes to use the second floor of the building for a different kind of business — marijuana.
“We are going to try it,” Giard said. “We are going to go forward and see what it takes to put a marijuana retail or a marijuana club in this building because we think those profits can be dedicated to charity.”
While most people see dollar signs in the budding industry, Giard sees good will.
She said if the marijuana business idea doesn’t work out, the LAP Foundation will explore other uses for the building that will generate revenue for charity.
The Outlet Upstairs staff said the liquidation sale is expect to continue through October.
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