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A new take on an old place

Local artist Eriksen to revamp downtown post office

Posted: May 14, 2014 - 11:02pm
Christy NaMee Eriksen stands in front of her new downtown storefront, at the corner of Franklin and Front Streets.  Courtesy of Christy NaMee Eriksen
Courtesy of Christy NaMee Eriksen
Christy NaMee Eriksen stands in front of her new downtown storefront, at the corner of Franklin and Front Streets.

If you know Christy NaMee Eriksen’s work, you know how much she values the written word. As the daughter of Juneau’s former postmaster, she dreamt of running her own post office, where people could connect over old-fashioned letters. So when she saw an opportunity to take over the downtown post office, she pounced at the chance.

The downtown post office, formerly called Juneau Miners Postal, closed about a week ago. Eriksen will reopen it July 1 as Kindred Post. She hopes to make it a fresh take on a traditional space.

“It could be revitalized in a sense that it’s not just a place you would go to mail something but take that gem of connecting with someone (and make it) this community hub where people can gather and connect with each other,” she said.

Besides continuing to function as a post office, Kindred Post will also be a retail shop, art gallery and creative space, she said. She’ll display local and national artists’ work — “showcase and lift up quality work of independent artists that are doing contemporary things with classic materials or classic processes,” she said.

Eriksen likes to think of her concept for Kindred Post as a “creative clubhouse.”

“I think of it a little bit as my grown-up fort,” she said, laughing. “People come together and hang out and be creative, and not just in an artsy kind of way but in a way that sparks new ideas and expands people’s thinking.”

She hopes to eventually partner with other businesses and artists to hold workshops in the space, but not necessarily your run-of-the-mill art classes. A couple examples she threw out were kimchi making and flower arranging workshops.

She sees the evolution of public libraries as a good model for what she wants to do with Kindred Post.

“Libraries used to be seen as this place where you could go to read books and check them out and over time they’ve evolved into a community space,” Eriksen said. “It’s a place where people engage with each other to learn. That’s a great business model for a post office.”

The location at 145 S. Franklin St. is nestled right in an exciting strip of new, vibrant local businesses, she said. She named the Rookery, Shoefly and Hudsons, Alaska Robotics and future design shop Trickster Company as cool entrepreneurial endeavors she wants to collaborate with.

“I’m really excited to be in that location because I think there is so much happening in that two- to three-block radius,” she said. “I’m stoked to be a part of that business district.”

Although the post office aspect of the shop will open July 1, Eriksen plans to have a grand re-opening in late summer or fall to celebrate the artistic side of Kindred Post. Up until then, she’ll be getting it ready, she said.

Kindred Post is hiring, and anyone interested can contact Eriksen at kindredpost@gmail.com.

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com.

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