Local News

Ferry gift shops to close

The gift shop on the ferry Kennicott is one of five to be closed this summer in a cost-cutting move. (Viking Travel/Alaska Ferry vacations.com)

The gift shop on the ferry Kennicott is one of five to be closed this summer in a cost-cutting move. (Viking Travel/Alaska Ferry vacations.com)

Alaska Marine Highway System officials plan to close gift shops on board state ferries.

Transportation Department Deputy Commissioner Rueben Yost says the shutdown will save about $1 million a year.

“The gift shops are nice, but it’s not part of our core mission of moving people and vehicles from one point to another. And over time, it’s become increasingly expensive,” he says.

Yost discussed the change at this week’s meeting of the state’s Marine Transportation Advisory Board.

Five larger mainline ferries have full shops. The two small fast ferries have limited gift items in their food-service areas.

Yost says a few necessities will remain on sale.

“We will address the need for toiletries and other commodities people may have forgotten to bring on the vessel by selling them in the cafeteria,” he says.

Those items will eventually be sold from vending machines. Ferry hats, T-shirts and similar “branded” products will be available online.

Yost says the shops will be phased out over the summer as the inventory is sold.

“It does involve 10 positions on the marine highway system. But the cashiers working in the gift shop have seniority. So ultimately, … rather than 10 people losing their jobs, there will be 10 less new people hired this summer,” he says.

There’s no immediate plan for how the shop rooms will be used.

Yost says labor contracts prohibit leasing the space to private businesses.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Not my town! ‘Grizzly Trade’ ambles through places, personalities of SE

Grizzly_Trade_250 It’s got a Vietnam vet with a big heart and anger management problems, a small-town newspaper reporter, and a hippie radio station. Throw in some meth-fuelled wildlife crime and a few cruise ships and you have the makings of an adventure mystery set in Southeast Alaska. more

Mallott: Alaskans have “clear choice”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott greets supporter Eric Jordan in Sitka on primary day, August 19, 2014. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)
News broke over the weekend that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott may be combining his campaign with that of Independent Bill Walker. In Sitka recently, Mallott argued the key issue in November is whether Alaskans' voices will be heard in state government, and said Walker remains, on social issues, a "conservative Republican." more