The owner of AK Starfish and Mermaid Boutique is looking forward to the holiday shopping season after recovering from the Nov. 30 earthquake.

Compared to a year ago, Marci Nelson said she believes this season could set a record for the South Anchorage business. 

"We are 50-percent up," she said. The increased business comes during one of the business' most challenging times since it opened 16 years ago.

The earthquake hit just one week after the start of the holiday shopping season.

"The Christmas Season is imperative to surviving, and taking care of our staff, rent, and all the other obligations we have," Nelson said.

The quake damaged many of AK Starfish's merchandise, including around 120 candles, multiple glass mementos and plenty of water bottles.

Those broken water bottles became known as "Quake Bottles," and were selling fast.

"We had messages coming in from Ireland, and Scotland actually, asking about the quake, and wanting to be a part of it, wanting to help. A lot of people who weren't physically here, wanted a momento, so, that's why they ordered the 'Quake Bottle,'" Nelson said.

Not everything damaged by the quake could be sold, but what could became part of the business' "Quake Collection" — a group of damaged goods that were sold as-is for those who wanted a small piece of Alaska history.

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