Anchorage Book Cache Memories

Anchorage Book Cache Memories recalls a favorite book store loved by so many.

book cache memories

What was Your Favorite Location?

Everyone in Alaska had their favorite Book Cache store location, and as you read this historic account, you'll discover some things about this Anchorage icon that you may not know.

In the winter, it was a nice, warm place to spend a relaxing time browsing the large selection of books, magazines, and sundries.

And on a warm summer day, it was a fun place to browse the shelves, discover a new book for your reading pleasure and say hello to friends.

They Created the Book Cache

owners of the storeOwners Doris and Russ Riemann

Anchorage Book Cache Memories

Russ and Doris Riemann first came to Anchorage in 1953 when Russ accepted a job with the Alaska News Agency, a wholesale clearing house that sold magazines and other reading materials to stores and other businesses in Southcentral Alaska.

But the News Agency wasn't doing very well. So with dedication and hard work, Russ soon turned it around.

Then in about 1958, Russ and Doris Riemann started considering the idea of selling books directly to customers in a retail store.

That's when they joined a lady named Esther Tout, who ran a small 15-by-25 foot book store in the same building as Jonas Brothers Taxidermy and Furriers, located on Fifth Avenue.

It all Started in Jonas Brothers

jonas brothers in anchorageJonas Brothers Museum

They began with a small book store inside the museum. It became more and more popular each year.

So Russ and Doris began looking into opening their own store location.

Anchorage Book Cache Memories

The First Location

Then in the early 1960s, Doris and Russ made the move by putting together their very own book store and what would become the best known Book Cache location in town at 436 Fifth Avenue.

What are your memories?

5th avenue interiorFirst Book Cache store

The Original Idea

It didn’t start out as just The Book Cache.

The original idea was to have a variety of stores under the name “The Cache”.

Those stores included:

  • The Book Cache
  • Stamp and Coin Cache
  • Barb’s Cache and Carry
  • Cache Dining and Cocktails

However, the idea of having a series of stores under the “Cache” umbrella, didn’t work very well.

The first to go was Cache Dining and Cocktails.

Eventually, all the stores were gone, except for the book store.

And the rest is history.

Remember the Sears Mall Location?

sears mall book cache store

When Anchorage got its first mall, the Sears Mall on Northern Lights Boulevard, the Book Cache saw the perfect place to find customers. They quickly jumped at the opportunity and opened the shop you see in the picture above.

You could walk into the mall, grab a treat at Andy’s Carmel Corn, then have some lunch or a cup of coffee before stopping in for a book or magazine.

The 1964 Good Friday Earthquake

earthquake destruction

March 27, 1964

For 5 long minutes the earth savagely shook Anchorage and Alaska like never before.

And the 1964 Good Friday earthquake took its toll.

Anchorage’s favorite Book Cache location was right next to the severe damage at the J.C. Penney building (seen above).

Sustaining major damage during the quake, Russ and Doris were among the first to get their book store open again… And with that, the Fifth Avenue Book Cache quickly became a very welcome information hub and meeting place for quake survivors.

Anchorage Book Cache Memories

As Far Away as Hawaii

In the late 1980s, Russ and Doris Riemann sold The Book Cache.

At that time, they had grown to 17 stores across Alaska, including the Carr's Mall in Kenai, and the Central Peninsula Mall in Soldotna.

And believe it or not, Maui, Hawaii was the location of 2 of those 17 stores.

Anchorage Book Cache Memories

What are your memories?

The Book Cache is probably at the top of your list.

Over the years, each location became a great place to meet friends.

You could spend a lot of happy time just browsing through shelves of wonderful books, magazines, newspapers and local information.

Book stores come and go, and now the Book Cache is gone. But for those of us who grew up, or lived in Anchorage when it was around, those stores will forever have a special place in our hearts.

In reading this article, it's easy to see why Russ, Doris, and the rest of their family had such great success.

They loved what they did, they loved the people of Anchorage and Alaska. And they didn't mind the hard work. And all of us enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

Thank you, Russ and Doris Riemann for the great Anchorage Memories.


Learn more about the Book Cache in Caching in on Novel History – Books were Family's Business Part One and enjoy the memories.


And take a look at Almanac Rich Cache of Memories Part Two and enjoy.

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