At annual ‘Make It Alaskan Festival’, some businesses report decline in customer spending

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – More than 6,000 people strolled through the Dena’ina Center throughout the weekend for the 29th annual “Make It Alaskan Festival”. But while the number of visitors is similar to previous years, organizers say people are spending less money.

“It’s been a down year for everyone,” said event president Peggy Anderson. “A lot of different things that people have done this year, they’ve noticed that there has been a decline in people spending money. They’re keeping it closer to the vest.”

It’s a trend that several of the 120 vendors at the event say they’re experiencing firsthand. Vicky Palmer owns Alaskan Stitches, which makes and sells decorative Alaska-themed aprons. She says business has held steady in recent months thanks to a loyal customer base.

“It’s been a little slower, but the economy’s kind of tough so vendors have to understand that it’s not going to be a great year every year,” said Palmer. “You try and ride out the storm.”

Thomas W. Cooper, who sells his own horn and antler carvings as well as other hand crafted items, says he’s also been able to adapt to changing spending habits from consumers.

“I see people spending less money, but more of them spending smaller amounts so it’s kind of evening out,” Cooper said. “They just don’t buy the big huge pieces of artwork like they used to.”

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