Alaska Leather – It’s Not Just for Bikers
By Sue Todd
On the northeast corner of Spenard and Minnesota sits a unique establishment called Alaska Leather. If you are thinking it is only a place for bikers, think again. Alaska Leather has a wide range of products for people from all walks of life.
There is, indeed, a huge array of motorcycle gear – jackets, chaps, helmets, boots, and accessories. Other leather offerings, such as bomber jackets, belts, ladies handbags, and gloves, are also for sale. However, custom pieces can be crafted to suit specific needs. For example, a custom strap was created for one gentleman who needed his walking cane to travel with him on his bike.
One of the most popular and renowned items is the patented Buttpad®, which is a sheepskin motorcycle seat cover that provides air flow, comfort, and relief for pressure points. Alaska, it is rumored, has the highest number of motorcyclists per capita. Riders from Outside and even from around the world migrate to Alaska during the summer to see this beautiful state from a biker’s viewpoint. Many of these visitors make it a point to visit Alaska Leather.
As one would expect, though, motorcycle gear sales drop when the weather changes. No problem. Alaska Leather has a history of adapting. When the season changes, cold weather gear takes the stage. Along with traditional snow machine clothing, they offer sheepskin winter riding apparel. The insulating quality of sheepskin makes for wonderful protection from the elements while snow machining.
The leather shop has further extended their offering to include sheepskin seat covers. Fluffy and comfortable on a cold winter morning, sheepskin comes in a wide range of colors.
“People tend to own cars for longer periods of time,” reports owner Bonnie Welsh, “and it can be worth the expense to re-cover cracked and torn vinyl or leather.” Stock covers are an option, but Alaska Leather can also sew and fit custom sheepskin covers.
If sheepskin is not a preference, neoprene seat covers are another option. Neoprene allows for easy cleanup of minor spills or pet hair. Starting at around $400 for two-bucket seats, neoprene can be customized with add-on features like lumbar support and heating. Customers may choose from a wide variety of colors and patterns to reflect personal style. As with sheepskin covers, neoprene can be customized and installed for a factory-tight fit.
Alaska Leather is a dog friendly shop. Welsh says, “It’s so funny to see a burly biker come in and open his jacket to reveal a tiny Yorkie.” To accommodate dog owners, there is a dog corner that features Honest Kitchen dog food, a dehydrated product, and Columbia River, a raw dog food, and these are two of their fastest moving products. Alaska Leather is one of the few businesses offering these two brands in the state.
Along with everything else that Alaska Leather offers, it is also a meeting place. On November 16, motorcycle movie night will resume. In the spring and again in the fall, Alaska Leather hosts a gear swap and motorcycle show. Patrons can set up booths to sell used motorcycle or snow machining gear. The next swap is scheduled for April 25. More information on these events can be found on Alaska Leather’s Facebook page.
Alaska Leather has been around since 1979, but Welsh took the helm last summer. She claims to have had three careers in her lifetime – Assistant Cashier, Realtor, and now Retail. She loves people, and customers are her favorite part of the job. About her staff, Welsh states, “I have a great team of wonderful people. I consider them family.” She also takes pride in the fact that her people are well trained and educated on the products offered.
A stop at Alaska Leather is a worthwhile venture. With so much to see and select, it makes for a delightful shopping experience. Christmas is just around the corner, so why not shop locally? No shipping to pay, no delay in receiving your products. Just great products and customer service delivered with a smile. Alaska Leather is definitely more than biking gear. Stop in and see for yourself.