Rod Christopher, pictured with Miss Sterling, has operated Nordic Trading and Loan Co. for ten years.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Rod Christopher, owner of Nordic Trading and Loan, remembers days standing around and talking with old-timers about the way Alaska used to be.
He also remembers the day he found his cat Miss Sterling pumped full of bullets and the time it took him to nurse her back to health.
There also are the times people brought guns into the shops and accidentally fired them through the roof as they tried to pawn them.
All of memories are set in the confines of Nordic Trading and Loan, Christopher's pawn and gun shop started in 1995 and nurtured from the ground up fueled by a passion for guns, shooting and swapping tales.
However, now it is closing due to lack of business.
"It's probably the only place where people can tell a hunting lie and people will believe you," Christopher said. "(I've had) customers coming in here for years and we always have a good time. I'll miss them."
Christopher, an Alaska resident since 1974, said the spirit of his store is anchored in the tales, rumors, lies and good times of the old-time Alaska residents who frequented his shop on a daily basis.
One old-timer browsed around the store Monday looking for nothing in particular and talked about all the people from Outside coming up to ruin the state. He said terrorists hide in motor homes.
Another customer came in to reclaim his semi-automatic rifle, which was being held by Nordic Trading.
But like his daddy used to tell him, he said, when you find yourself digging a hole, stop digging it.
Christopher recently started working as the security supervisor at Tesoro to have something to do when Nordic Trading closes, he said.
Much of his business came from teaching gun safety classes and helping people obtain concealed weapon permits. But then the law changed and people no longer needed these permits.
"(The business) took a real big hit when they passed that law," he said.
Christopher still taught a variety of classes, though. People who carry concealed weapons should be properly trained, he said.
And many states still require these permits so people will continue to take the classes he said.
Now that his business is closing, Christopher is looking forward to having a lot more spare time, he said.
He will spend more time at the Peninsula Weapons Academy teaching classes, and training with the Alaska State Defense Force, the state militia, as well as shooting competitively.
"I have a real passion for guns and shooting," he said.
Nordic Trading will close its doors when the merchandise is gone and people reclaim their pawned items. For more information call Nordic Trading at 262-9399.
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