Alaska Supermarket Damaged by Rockslide to Close Permanently

February 5, 2021

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The owners of an Alaska supermarket that was severely damaged by a rockslide plan to permanently shutter the business.

Tatsuda’s Supermarket Inc. CEO Katherine Tatsuda announced the closure of the store in Ketchikan Monday, Ketchikan Daily News reported.

“It is with sadness in my heart that I tell you Tatsuda’s IGA will not be returning but this is not the end of the Tatsuda family serving our community,” Tatsuda wrote in a social media post.

Tatsude said she made the decision with her father and co-owner, Bill Tatsuda Jr.

An early morning rockslide slammed into the building Feb. 27, 2020. No one was inside, but the structural damage was extensive and the store never reopened.

The building had been remodeled in 2015 ahead of the store’s 100th anniversary the following year.

There has been a Tatsuda-owned market in Ketchikan since 1916, when Bill Tatsuda’s grandparents opened Jimmie’s Grocery. The family had another store before moving to the current site in 1974.

“I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love and support you’ve given my dad and I over the last year,” Katherine Tatsuda wrote in the online note to Ketchikan residents.

“Losing Tatsuda’s shook us to our core,” Katherine Tatsuda said. “It was like losing a loved one and a part of ourselves at the same time. The grief was tremendous. We could not have gotten through this loss without you.”

She and her father made plans to revive the business following the rockslide, including the purchase of a lot next to the existing property.

The pair spoke with “builders, blasters, architects, financial advisors, lawyers,” she said, but they eventually came to two realizations.

“One is that we don’t have the resources to do what we wanted to do and more importantly, my dad and I want to do other things,” Katherine Tatsuda wrote. “My dad is enjoying his forced retirement and I have a higher calling to serve people in a different way.”

Katherine Tatsuda said she hopes to develop an organization to support local nonprofit entities that “enhance the quality of life” in Ketchikan.

“Never in a million years did I think that it would happen so soon,” she said.

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