Anchorage, AK – May 1, 2015 Big Ray’s, The Alaskan Outfitter, announces that the company’s five stores: Army/Navy in Anchorage (2 locations), Big Ray’s in Fairbanks (2 locations) and Mack’s Sport Shop in Kodiak will operate as Big Ray’s. This exciting new chapter will result in a stronger statewide network allowing every store to provide the best mix of products and the highest levels of customer service.
While the names on our buildings may be changing, the Ownership and Staff remains the same. We look forward to continued community involvement, investment and service. Witnesses to Statehood, the Good Friday Earthquake and the construction of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, all of us at Big Ray’s—past and present—want to thank you for your support during this exciting step into the future for our company.
About Big Ray’s
Big Ray’s has a long rich history of serving our friends and neighbors across Alaska. Founded in 1947, Army/Navy sold surplus war materials in the Anchorage area. The original 4th Avenue store continues to thrive today. The Fairbanks Store opened the same year and operated under various names and locations until becoming Big Ray’s in 1952. Mack’s Sport Shop first operated out of a Kodiak basement in 1970’s before moving to Lower Mill Bay Road where it operates today. Always owned and operated by Alaskan families, today’s ownership group formed in 1988, operating Army/Navy and Big Ray’s before acquiring Mack’s Sport Shop in 2008.
Contact: Deanna Miller
Phone: 907-222-4600 or 301-5711
Q&A with Monty Rostad
Why are we changing our name?
We are making this change for the following reasons….better customer service, better product selection and a better way to take advantage of the opportunities we see for the future. The independent retailer is being challenged in more ways than ever before and we need to be in the best position to compete.
We are still the same Alaskan Family owned and operated business, our staff remains the same, and we will continue serving our neighbors and investing in our communities with a sharp eye on the changing big old world out there.
It has been a very tough and emotional decision to no longer use the Army Navy and Mack’s Sport Shop name. These are historic Brands in our communities. These names represent a lifetime of hard work, family pride and community support.
We believe that having one strong brand recognized across Alaska prepares us for the new competitive retail environment.
The single Big Ray’s Brand:
Will allow us to eliminate much of the confusion we are causing with our customers
Will allow us to eliminate much of the confusion we are causing with our suppliers
Will allow us to compete more effectively in e-commerce
Will allow us to prepare our marketing plans more efficiently
Will allow us to be more efficient in our costs
Does this in any way affect our products that we sell?
No. The re-branding will only open opportunities for more brands and categories of products. We believe that more brands will be interested in us because of our five locations. It will allow us to experiment more with new brands and products by giving us the opportunity to sell at more locations. Some of our suppliers will only allow their merchandise to be placed in limited markets under specific names. We believe we will have the opportunity to move merchandise around to maximize sales
Does this affect our corporate structure?
No. Same People. Same Places.
What’s wrong with the name we already have?
Nothing…..but we must stay competitive in a world that is changing faster and in more ways than ever before. Operating under multiple brands makes it tougher in many ways on the independent retailer today. It has been a very tough and emotional decision to no longer use the Army Navy and Mack’s Sports Shop name. These are historic Brands in their communities. These names represent a lifetime of hard work and Family pride. We can only reassure them that we are still Alaskan Family owned and operated, that our staff remains the same and that we are making this change for a reason—better customer service, better product selection and a better way to face the future of retailing.
Who is Big Ray?
Big Ray is Milan Raykovich. As a 6 foot 7 inch tall basketball player he played for UAF (then Alaska College of Agriculture and School of Mines) in 1936 and 1937. He moved to Anchorage sometime in the Late 1940s or early 1950s. He returned to Fairbanks as a business partner of the founders of the Army Navy Store in Anchorage. The Fairbanks store was renamed Big Ray’s using the new partners’ nickname. Big Ray sold his interest In 1961 and moved to Washington state. He passed away in 1989.
Did we/you sell our/your store? (did we get acquired)
Absolutely not. The only thing changing is the name on the building.