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By Jill Hockema


August 17, 2005

I was relieved to see that other members of the community feel the way that I do concerning the over abundance of Jewelry stores. Each time I return home for a visit, I see a new one opened up and began to think everyone in Ketchikan was happy with this.

Yes, some buildings north of the tunnel need improvement or demolishing... but don't allow more jewelry stores!! How many does the community really need??? And the local business owners worried about Wal-Mart changing the face of Ketchikan? HA!

I agree that Ketchikan needs diversity, but who is willing to do it? If you don't want these people to open up stores and "take over" the downtown area, there needs to be people who will step up and open new stores that are geared for Alaska, but yet still be able to market the tourism industry. Some folks have done it; Craig Carson, Cookie Michaelson, Larry Buster...just to name a few.

What City Official is allowing all this to take place? The Mayor, the City Council? Is there nothing else promising for Ketchikan than the Cruise ship industry? I'm all for progress and moving forward with the new, but there is such a thing as too much! Is it the Cruise ship companies, ie... Carnival, Holland America, Princess that enable the stores? They promote helping the communities that they pour their money into. So how are these foreign jewelers helping Ketchikan? They come in the summer, leave for the winter and board up the stores and from what I understand, the money they make, goes overseas. Sure, they shop for groceries and rent apartments or houses, but that is, what 3 to 4 months of the year?

It's great to be a tourist and have tourism where you live. In Homer, we don't have cruise ships, but we do have a plethora of motor homes!! The tourists I have met in our line of business are always looking for something that's "Alaskan". There are still the few who actually make their goods for resell, but aren't most of our "Alaskan" items made in Taiwan or China?

Hopefully, the changes to Ketchikan will truly help the economy. What will happen in the winter? Town's boarded up, no place for locals to shop, people fly to Seattle, surf the internet and make purchases for their holiday STILL doesn't stay in the community, does it?! What right does anyone have to complain when a business like Wal-Mart comes to town? At least they hire locally and they don't board their store up in the winter!

Jill Hockema
Fritz Creek, AK - USA



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