About Us

Jacob B. Jake” Gottstein was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1886. As a young man he was a traveling salesman, and from 1907 to 1911 he covered the Fraser River country in British Columbia. At age 25, he retired a wealthy man in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, then traveled extensively in Europe, returning broke in 1915.

He heard of the construction of the Alaska Railroad on Cook Inlet and immediately set out to find his niche in the new development of Anchorage. He was prepared to start his own grocery business and first opened in a tent on Ship Creek flats. He began selling cigars and sundries to construction workers and miners along the railbelt and walked many miles where there was no track. He made as many as nine trips by dog team to Seward and back to serve his customers.

Jake built his first warehouse at 5th Avenue and D Street in Anchorage and later opened up at the corner of 4th Avenue and G Street. He was one of the first wholesale grocers in Anchorage, and his business thrived throughout the twentieth century.

Anna Jacobs was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1889, and two years after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1916, she went to Valdez as a schoolteacher. She spent two years in Valdez and in 1919 moved to Anchorage, where she met Jake. They were married in Anchorage in 1920 and had two children; Miriam, known as Molly, who was born in 1924, and Barnard J., known Barney, born in 1925. Anna Gottstein was instrumental in starting the first PTA in the Anchorage school system and was renowned for her interest in education.

Jake retired from the business in 1945, leaving son Barney to take over the operations. Jake and Anna retired to Seattle, Washington where Jake died in 1963, and Anna passed away in 1981.

Molly Gottstein Oyer had four children; Kathryn O., Russell J., Steven L. and Gordon N. Barney Gottstein had five children; Sandy, James, Robert, David and Ruth Ann.