Five friends drinking coffee on a cold dark winter night in 1998 clarified the vision of If Only…a fine store. We almost went the easy way—to name the store after our dogs—Maggie, Shay and Judy. But we didn’t. The name If Only emerged from discussions of our perceptions of Fairbanks’ commerce and community at the time.

 

If Only we could choose from beautiful, tasteful offerings. If Only we had a fun place to shop where there is always a surprise! If Only we could find X. (There were many x’s). If Only we could walk downtown and select a great gift for a good friend.

 

If Only emerged. Next was finding our voice. What would be the foundation of our new venture? A huge list poured out of us. After creative discussion we were able to narrow it down to this: attention to form and function; beauty; organic in shape; botanical; nature-inspired; and, of course, our beloved Alaska. If Only…a fine store brings an infusion of choice and fun to downtown. It has from the very beginning. If Only was created to serve our community and invite visitors to enter as our guests.

 

The store opened in May of 1998 in a fraction of its current space. We pooled our collective imaginations and resources and scavenged recycle platforms at transfer sites for materials we could repurpose to suit our needs. Some of these are still evident in the store today! Family and friends assisted in whatever ways they could.

 

Over the years we’ve fine-tuned. We strive to stay focused on our roots. We’ve worked with artists to widen the circle for locally produced pieces and provide a First Friday venue each month that features the talents of a guest or artist. We’ve found that people who live in other northern latitudes are like-minded. We now feature a variety of products in our Nod to the North collection and include items from Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

 

We strive to be a fine store, keeping our fingers on the pulse of Fairbanks while choosing products and presenting them creatively with style. We strive to bring wonder and smiles to this northern corner of the world. We strive to have our customers leave happier than when they arrived. We strive to inspire. We strive to connect our customers with ideas and products that improve their relationships and their daily lives. It’s all about the love.

 

Five Alaskan women started this journey on a chilly night, grousing about Fairbanks, saying If Only there was ____. And over the course of twenty years If Only has become its namesake. If Only…a fine store, in a place we call home. The original five are still friends and although three have retired, one continues to work in the store on a part-time basis joining with our cadre of full and part-time sales associates. Together we have a wealth of information and experience and are happy to share the backstory of a jewelry line or where to get the best barbecue in town. All of us love Alaska, and we love what we do!

 

Who’s left? Two of the original five operate the store.

Meet Georjean

With an eye for what resonates with life in the north, she’s the principal buyer as well as the master crafter of display. Her creative eye and interests assist her in serving up delectable artisanal foods given her love of cooking. She keeps us focused on our delivery of intention. When not at work, she may be found fishing in the wilderness or dreaming of releasing paint and pencil to paper.

Georjean

Meet Rebecca

A true renaissance woman who can pick up most any musical instrument and produce a tune. She is a avid reader of multiple genres and puts words to paper in poetry and essay. At the store, she gives her attention to detail. With her calm demeanor, she is our ballast through the busiest of times in our small locally owned business.

Rebecca
Martha spring storefront