California power woes dim Alaska department stores

Posted: Friday, January 26, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- California's power woes have dimmed the lights of some Alaska department stores.

Officials with Fresno, Calif.-based Gottschalks Inc. announced this week that all 79 stores in seven states -- including Alaska -- would turn off unneeded lights and close stores early in an effort to conserve power.

''There may not be an energy crisis there. We just felt it was in our best interest and everybody's to conserve energy.'' said Fred Bentelspacher, Gottschalks spokesman.

Gottshalks adopted the new policy at all stores, even those not affected by California's power shortages, because they want to treat all stores equally, Bentelspacher said.

''We are one company,'' he said. ''It's probably things we should be doing anyway.''

The company says its stores will resume regular business hours when the energy crisis is over.

The stores are employing other conservation measures, including shutting off the Gottshalks signs when the stores are closed. Employees now restock merchandise and clean during store hours as well.

''We don't turn the escalators on until we open and don't turn lights on any more than neccessary until just before we open,'' said Jeanne Sneddon, store manager.

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