Family-owned Alaskan Fur Co., a retail mainstay in the Kansas City area for nearly a century, is undergoing a change with new, outside ownership.
After 96 years in business, the fur fashion retailer based at 9029 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park announced this week it has been sold to an ownership group led by John Hanlon and Tiara Peach, owners of St. Louis-based The Fur Centre.
“Kansas City is such a natural expansion market for us,” Hanlon said. “Alaskan is truly one of America’s iconic fur retailers, and we are excited to… add Alaskan and Kansas City to our corporate family.”
With the sale, Alaskan Fur’s 16,000-square-foot building on Metcalf, which houses offices, retail space and a factory used to repurpose and repair furs, will fall under ownership of Hanlon and Peach.
The pair say they have plans to remodel the space and feature a wider array of products upon taking over full ownership.
The Alaskan Fur showroom and factory are near the ongoing Promontory development, which is displacing some other stores including Half Price Books, but the furrier has no plans to move.
Alaskan Fur was founded by Philip Wang in 1926 in downtown Kansas City.
His son, Myron Wang, who retired earlier this year as the company’s CEO, took the business over in 1971.
Then in 1991, Wang’s daughter Missy Love became president and the third generation to lead the company.
After three generations of leadership and almost a century in business, the Wang family says the sale of the company is a bittersweet moment.
“It has been incredibly special to work alongside my family and continue the legacy my grandfather started,” Love said. “However, we could not be more excited for John and Tiara to take Alaskan into its next chapter.”
In addition to Wang’s retirement, two other family members, vice president Gary Zimmerman and his wife, Darlene, are also stepping back from the company.
All other Alaskan employees will remain in place with the new ownership team, including Love, who will remain in the store as a part-time brand ambassador after the sale closes, the company says.
Her job is to ensure a smooth transition of ownership, while continuing to work with customers.
Alaskan Fur moved to its flagship location in Overland Park in 1979 where it has sold fur couture for over the last 40 years.
Ranging in a variety of styles, the company offers animal-based products, such as fur coats and leather, shearling and cashmere-trimmed coats and shawls.
Additionally, the fur provider also sells an assortment of coats, gloves, hats and other accessories for both men and women.