Before there was Carrs there was J.B. Gottstein & Company. Way back in 1915 when Anchorage was still a rough hewn town of sawmills, blacksmith shops and saloons, J.B. Gottstein began supplying groceries and other staples to Alaskans, making it today, the oldest company in Alaska. A generation later in 1949, J.B.'s son Barney, fresh out of school, assumed management of the company, and began expanding it into the region's largest wholesale grocery distribution center. One of Barney's early customers was Larry Carr. In 1947 Larry moved to Anchorage intending to just make enough money to return home to Southern California. In 1950 he opened a quonset hut grocery store on Gambell Street which proved to be an immediate success. Larry now called Alaska home.
Growing with Alaska
Unsurprisingly, Barney Gottstein and Larry Carr's business dealings expanded as Alaska took its place among the 50 states and its economy and population boomed. In 1974 the two companies merged, pooling their retail grocery resources, their assets in drug stores and shopping centers, and their unparalleled knowledge of the Alaskan market. The move made the company the state's largest retail chain, now with 28 locations.
A Local Institution. A Legacy of Firsts
Within a few years 60% of the entire population of Alaska lived within three miles of a Carrs store. Although the company has small outlying bush stores to serve the state's scattered citizens, the bulk of the sites are large supermarket/drugstore combinations that respond to local needs and interests in Fairbanks, Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. Survey after survey has positioned Carrs as Alaskan's most highly regarded source of fresh produce and meat at the most competitive prices. Equally as impressive are its scores for service and fast checkout.
Alaskans have come to expect continuing innovation at Carrs. It was the first supermarket chain in the state with a 24-hour pharmacy, the first with service delis and fresh bakeries, soup and salad bars, the first with scanning, 59-minute photo processing and in-store banking. Simultaneously the company has managed to enhance its core, year-round grocery business (with seasonless produce like tomatoes from Israel and raspberries from New Zealand) thanks in large part to operating its own, and Alaska's only, full-line food distribution center.