State comes up short
in dairy auction
Alaska officials say the state was able to recover only about $144,000 in an auction to sell what was left of the now-defunct Matanuska Creamery.
Hundreds of people attended the three-hour auction for a chance to buy equipment and fixtures.
The creamery, which had been the largest dairy in Alaska, closed in December after defaulting on loans totaling about $900,000 from the state's agriculture division.
Officials said another $100,000 was spent to get the building ready for the auction. That meant hiring contractors, plumbers, electricians and organizers.
Those who showed up to the auction included farmers, brewers and even mushers.
"It's a great opportunity especially for people who are wanting to get their business up and running," said Amanda Swanson, a loan officer with the agriculture division. "They might have a smaller-scale operation starting out and they're trying to get it bigger, or for them to find of get their foot in the door and be able to build up from there."
Available for sale were lab equipment, office supplies, trailers and stainless steel tanks.
"Stainless is pretty expensive," said bidder John Cooney. "If you get a good deal on some stainless scrap out here you can make some good money."
Many bidders were sad to be there under the circumstances.
"It's a bad thing for the Valley," said Cooney. "You don't want to see industry lose. We're always talking about being progressive in growth, and I hate to see a business drop."