Betty's Record Den

Betty's Record Den owner Betty Poeschel shares her story of how she first came to Alaska and how her Record Den in Anchorage became known and loved state wide.

When you entered Betty's Record Den, which was near the Club Paris in Anchorage, you opened a green door to enter the fabled record shop.

Anchorage Memories spent some time with Betty talking about how she first came to Alaska, and how the green door entrance to her record shop came about, and why.


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Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


Betty,  when did you first arrive in Alaska and how did you come up to Alaska the first time? Did you fly in or drive the Alcan?


Betty Poeschel:


It was summer time in around 1952. My family drove up on the Alcan. I was in high school. Our first destination was Seward. I graduated from Seward High School.

Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


When you first came to Anchorage, where did you work?


Betty Poeschel:


My first job in Anchorage was at the Den of Music on 4th Avenue across from David Green Furs.

While working there, the owner was not there a lot of the time, so my job evolved into the store manager..

I always kept the top 100 records in stock as well as Blues records.



Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:

You actually met your husband Ralph "Pretz" Poeschel in the Den of Music. Tell us how that came about.


Betty Poeschel:


Pretz was in the military and he used to come into the Den of Music to buy records. Around 1960 ish, we were married.



Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


In 1964, something was happening on the radio airwaves all over Anchorage and Alaska and the rest of the world. What was that?


Betty Poeschel:


The Beatles song "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" became a big hit in 1964. It was being played all over the radio, but you couldn't find the song in a record shop anywhere in Alaska.


Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


So you came up with a brilliant idea. You decided to bring the Beatles to Anchorage.


Betty Poeschel:


In a way, yes.


I got on a plane and headed for Seattle to pick up some Beatles records and bring them back to Anchorage. And these were the first Beatles records available in Alaska.



Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


After the Den of Music, where did you go?


Betty Poeschel:


I went over to Audio Cam, which was near Army Navy Surplus. But not long after that, the 1964 Good Friday earthquake struck. Audio Cam made some changes and I decided to open my own record shop.



Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


How did Betty's Record Den come about?


Betty Poeschel:


We found a place to open Betty's Record Den near Club Paris on 5th Avenue after the 1964 earthquake.



Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


From the beginning, Betty's Record Den was a special place. And it really became a great hang out for not only Anchorage teens, but for kids all over Alaska.

Even the front door of the Record Den was special. How did that come about?


Betty Poeschel:


There was a hit song that came out back in 1956 by Jim Lowe titled "The Green Door" and it was all about what was happening behind the green door.

So Pretz painted the front door of our record shop green. And our advertising slogan became "what's behind the green door?"


Anchorage Memories Note:


The Green Door is a fun song with a catchy melody and we've got it right here so Anchorage Memories visitors can give it a listen.

Click on the video below.




Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


Besides the green door, Betty's Record Den also featured glass booths where teens could come in and listen to new songs.


Betty Poeschel:


Pretz built all those glass audio booths. It was a nice touch for our customers.



The Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


You also did something unique for teens that lived outside of Anchorage.


Betty Poeschel:


Yes, we shipped records all over Alaska. And we didn't charge for shipping.

We also received calls from people in villages that had come in to Anchorage and visited Betty's Record Den.

They asked us if we would come up for a visit and bring records to sell. So, we said we would, if they would let everyone know what day we would be there.

We traveled to Nome and Bethel and took cartons of records with us and everything we took sold out.


Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:



Did those trips pay off for Betty's Record Den?


Betty Poeschel:


Kids from all over the state wanted to come see Betty's Record Den when they came to Anchorage.

Fairbanks kids would come in and hang out in the sound booths. They also liked to go to the dances and concerts we put together for teens.



Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


You were personally involved in some radio promotion for your record shop. There are two promotions that come to mind. One of them was very unique.


Betty:


Anchorage radio personality Ron Moore, who was also a very important part of our Pacesetters group, did a radio show from the front picture window of Betty's Record Den with me as his guest.

And we did a radio show together from the Ferris Wheel at the Palmer State Fair. Lots of fun.


Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


Betty, if you could name just one favorite thing about Betty's Record Den, what would it be?


Betty Poeschel:


The camaraderie with all the kids who came in from all over just to see Betty's Record Den.

There were also kids who came in to the Record Den because they needed someone to talk to. We had space in our office just for that. When kids had problems, Pretz and I were an ear. We listened to them. That was really my favorite thing.



Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


Betty, what would you like to say to all your fans out there?


Betty Poeshel:


Thank you for the good times and the great memories. And thank you for all you did and are doing to make my life so special.



Anchorage Memories - Mike and Mary:


And thank you Betty for spending some time with us here on Anchorage Memories and for all the wonderful memories. Betty's Record Den was a very special place.


BONUS



Remember those fun Pacesetters dances and concerts in Anchorage?

Check out Pacesetters Memories right now.


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