One Man's Alaska

The free store in Talkeetna

September 20, 2007

Somehow I've managed not to have any stories here about the "free" store in Talkeetna. Known as the Free Box Community Store, everything in the "store" is indeed free.

The concept is simple: If you need something you're welcome to stop in the store and see if they have what you need. If you don't need something any more you're welcome to drop it off at the store for other people that might need it.

In my case I recently needed a hair dryer to dry out my car after it sprung a leak and flooded, so I walked up to the Free Box to see if they had one. A couple of hours before they did have one, but they had just given it away. Interestingly, the town is so small, the man that was working there told me who had it. It was a girl named Holly who (along with her husband) runs the local hostel.

(An interesting aside: Any time anyone mentioned Holly to me, they always described her the same way: "You know, Holly, the pretty girl who runs the hostel." I don't know if that's her legal name, or just the way everyone describes her.)

Okay, on to the pictures. Here are a few snapshots of the Free Box, which is located just down the road from the post office. The first picture shows what this free store looks like as you approach it:

Talkeetna Free Box, as seen from the road

Picture #2 shows what it looks like from the front. On the day I took these pictures the store was closed, and you can see a few items had stacked up on the front stairs.

Talkeetna Free Box, as seen from the front

The tank on the right side of the building holds the heating fuel (kerosene) used to keep the Free Box warm on cold days.

Finally, here's a close-up picture of the Free Box sign:

Free Box Community Store sign

All the workers at the Free Box are volunteers. If you want to volunteer one day, just walk in and let someone know, and they'll point you in the right direction. As I get ready to leave town, they need money more than they need volunteers to help pay their fuel bill for the winter.

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