Dimond Center was established in 1977 by Joe & Patty Ashlock. Both were originally from the lower 48. Joe served in the U.S. Army as a private first class during World War II and he saw action throughout the Pacific. He attended college on the GI Bill at Tulsa University, where he met his future wife, Patty Burtner.
Joe worked for many years in the pipe-coating industry, where he developed numerous inventions and patents including an extrusion coating process. Many of the patents are still in use. The trans-Alaska pipeline was what originally brought them to Alaska in the late 60’s. Their company Surfcote coated the pipeline and at the time was the second-largest employer in the state, exceeded only by the federal government.
When the pipeline project was completed, they decide to invest in a shopping center in South Anchorage, which at the time was sparsely populated. They both saw the area's potential though and reached out to ask the local residents what they would like to see in South Anchorage, what they needed and what they would really enjoy.
They received over 3,000 answers with proposals and welcoming them to the area. Finally on August 12th, 1977 Dimond Center opened its doors for the first time. It covered 180,000 square feet, included a Safeway, Pay 'n Save, and thirty seven small businesses.
A lot has been transformed from the original building. Safeway was torn down and Best Buy was built in 2002. The mall would be expanded in 1982 creating a new hallway in front of Pay'n Save with room for more businesses and finally Pay 'n Save would be substituted for the Gap & Old Navy stores in 1999. There are two original tenants, both have undergone remodeling in recent years, and they would be The Pefect Cup & Zales. The original small business covered what is today the entrance by Zales to where Auntie's Anne's & Sunglass Hut are. Then the bank was the National Bank of Alaska. On the second floor it went to about the movie entrance.
It was South Anchorage's first shopping mall and with a lot of hard work and vision it continued to grow side by side with Anchorage for the following 40 years.
Joe & Patty managed Dimond Center for 35 years, until 2012, when the passed the reigns to the next generation. Today Dimond Center is still family owned & operated. Still a local business and still committed to offering its community the best variety of retail and dining it can.
Thank you Alaska for your support these wonderful 40 years. We can't wait to see what the next 40 bring!