Haines businessman Mike Ward has added to his property holdings and brought business back to an empty building downtown.
Ward, who owns many local businesses including Howsers IGA and Alaskan Liquor Store and the Quick Shop near Fort Seward, recently purchased the building on the corner of Main Street and Second Avenue previously owned by Marilyn Josephson. Gift shop Alaska Side formerly occupied the site before relocating.
After a quick remodel that included "buying up all the carpet in town," according to Ward, his clothing store Caroline’s Closet moved into the new space, taking up about half the building. Ward said he hopes in about three or four weeks to develop the other half of the building into an extension of Caroline’s or as a separate store to offer convenience items, including cigarettes.
"As we continue to develop the store and continue to improve, we’ll decide if we need to put another name on it," he said.
Ward said a small convenience store would likely have late hours and would improve the downtown Main Street shopping traffic as well as relieve some pressure on Howsers. He said the corner location is highly visible and it’s important to the look of downtown to have the building occupied.
"We want that building to be a vibrant part of the community," Ward said.