While one long-standing Juneau local business plans to close its doors after nearly four decades in business, another organization finds a new, and better, space to grow in that same location.
St. Vincent de Paul Society purchased Valley Auto Parts, and the deal was announced via a press release Feb. 15.
Jeff Pilcher, who has owned Valley Auto Parts for almost 38 years and has been at the 9151 Glacier Highway location for 19 years, is retiring from the business. The doors will close June 1. Pilcher, a Juneau resident since he was 13 when he moved with his family in 1959, said the decision to sell was tough, but not one he could pass up.
“Trying to sell any business during this Alaska recession is extremely difficult,” Pilcher said in a statement. “So when the folks at St. Vincent de Paul made an offer to purchase the building, I decided it was a good time to retire. More than anything, I appreciate all the fine businesses and customers and employees I’ve come to know in the last 38 years.”
Pilcher said he has been trying to sell the space for six years, but has had no interest until St. Vincent came along and made him an offer. At 73-years-old, Pilcher said he is looking forward to retirement.
“I’d like to golf,” he said. “I can’t do that here, but we will still be here. We just might find a place in California.”
Dan Austin, General Manager of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, said the organization’s Board of Directors have been working for nearly 10 years to lock in the right location for the thrift store.
“Our thrift store is the primary source of assistance we offer the needy of Juneau,” Austin said in the press release. “It supports our family shelter and transitional housing as well as the direct aid we distribute to hundreds of households each year. The Valley Auto Parts location will give our customers greater convenience and access and greatly increase our visibility.”
Austin said the old space will act as more space to help provide additional housing; only one floor is being used for housing right now, he said. St. Vincent de Paul’s thrift store, currently located at 8617 Teal St., will move to the location once the remodel is completed. Austin would like to see the new space open and ready not long after St. Vincent takes over.
“If we are going to be very optimistic, I would like to have it up and running by mid-June,” Austin said.
Austin said the new space will offer a more streamline experience for customers.
“It is a little bit larger,” he said. “It will be better utilized because it is one floor plan and one space. It will have more lighting and be less crowed. Overall, it will be a much more pleasant shopping experience.”
• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 523-2265. Follow him on twitter @GTPhilson.