It may have been Alaska's Bushrat Governor Jay Hammond who described the Alaskan tuxedo as a plaid wool shirt and blue jeans, but with no official data available it's reasonable to believe that the 49th state ranks 50th in black tie events.
So even former Governor Jay may have chuckled when driving through Sterling and seeing the gowns and tuxedo rental sign out front of the log cabin along the Sterling Highway. Step inside however, meet entrepreneur Debbie Debnam and her alterations partner Sonya Nicholson, and you'll quickly discover that Alaska Wedding Brokers is no laughing matter.
"It just sort of evolved," says Debbie, who recently outfitted Alaska's Jr. Miss, Kaitlin Vadla, for her national television appearance next month. "We've been doing weddings down on the River since 1993, and we found that there was a real shortage of formal wear available on the Peninsula, and we bought this log cabin in Sterling and started selling a few wedding dresses out of it just to pay the mortgage and all of a sudden the demand was there and we were on," said Debnam.
Alaska's Jr. Miss Kaitlin Vadla will be seen on national television to in gowns from Alaska Wedding Brokers in Sterling.
While Alaska may rank 50th for black tie events, Debnam says the tuxedo business is booming in Sterling due to the fact that Alaskans like to go on cruises, and that Alaskan brides don't put up with the "Alaskan Tuxedo" even if they are getting married by the River.
"Our business is going bananas," admits Debnam. When Alaska's Junior Miss went looking for her gowns needed for the national Jr. Miss Competition later this year in Alabama, her shopping included trips to Anchorage, San Francisco, and every site she could find on the internet, "This is the place where I found what I liked the best, I looked in all the magazines, on line, and in tons of bridal shops, and didn't find what I found right here," said Kaitlin.
Vadla admitted that she too was surprised at the selection available inside the log cabin, "I was very surprised, when I first arrived I thought the building was adorable, but when I got inside it was amazing the variety of dresses, shoes and accessories it's amazing what Debbie can fit in this log cabin, and the personal alterations that are available is really unique. You don't have to worry about having something fit perfectly off the rack," added Vadla.
Sonya Nicholson, in the alterations loft of Alaska Wedding Brokers in Sterling.
One might think that the next step in Debnam's booming business would be to expand, move or open another shop in Kenai or Soldotna, "We love the personal aspect of this business, we help the over stressed Dad's as well as the brides, and by the time the event is at hand, we feel part of the family. That's the charm of this place, and we don't ever plan on loosing it so we are going to stay right here," said Debnam. Alaska Wedding Brokers is located in Sterling on the Sterling Highway, and offers after hours appointments. For more information call Debbie or Sonya, at 260-9278.
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