Sullivan Honors Alaskans of the Week: Doug & April Moore

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) recognized Doug and April Moore, of Talkeetna, on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week. Doug and April are owners of Moores’ Hardware and Building Supply in Talkeetna—an iconic establishment in the area. The Moores are devoted to their employees and heavily involved in the community, giving generously to those who need help, including donating time and equipment to those who lost structures during the wildfires that spread throughout the region last summer. Senator Sullivan recognized Doug and April as part of his series, “Alaskan of the Week.”

Tribute to Doug and April Moore

Mr. President, it is the end of the week here, a Thursday at least, on the Senate floor, and it is that time of the week that I usually come down and talk about somebody who is making my State such a great place to live in, somebody who is doing great things for their community, somebody I refer to as a group or individuals as our Alaskan of the Week.

So this is kind of exciting. The pages usually see this as the most exciting speech of the week because they learn about Alaska.

This is our first Alaskan of the Week of the year. I am sure the Presiding Officer is even excited about that. It is actually the first one of the whole decade, so stand by.

Now, usually I give these speeches and talk a little bit and update about what is going on in Alaska.

I just spent a glorious holiday, New Year's, Christmas in Anchorage and Fairbanks over the last couple weeks.

We passed the winter solstice. That is the shortest day of the year. Now, it might not feel like that in Alaska, but actually the days are getting longer, getting more sunlight, but the cold has hit, winter has come. 

In Anchorage, our largest city, my hometown, temperatures just last weekend when I was home were dropping into the 15-below-zero range. In the interior of Alaska--that is a little more north--it hit 65 below zero in Manley Hot Springs on December 27. That rivals the winter temperature on Mars. OK? It is cold.

I was in Fairbanks. That is part of the interior, beautiful Fairbanks, where it has been close to 40 below the last couple weeks. I went out and took a run. I am not sure I realized it was that cold. It was only about 20 below on my run. It was kind of cold, but it was still a nice run. We have a lot of folks who get out and enjoy the beautiful winter, beautiful temperatures. 

I mentioned in the interior--the elementary school in Nenana recently posted that they were going to cancel school if it hit 55 below zero.

So these are tough people, especially having just witnessed Washington, DC, close the whole darn city because they had a half inch of snow, but I am digressing here.

We live in extremes in Alaska, but, for many of us, that is exactly why we live in Alaska. Toughing out these extreme temperatures together certainly makes us closer, brings communities together, makes people rely on each other. We are a huge State geographically, but a small, tight-knit State in terms of population, and we get through things like these tough winters, really cold winters, by gathering together in small and large places all across the State, places of warmth, particularly when it is cold outside.

So today I would like to recognize an Alaskan couple who has provided one of those places of warmth for the community of Talkeetna and the surrounding areas. Talkeetna is about 100 miles north of Anchorage. It is a must-visit stop when you come to Alaska. Why? Well, it is absolutely beautiful. It is the gateway to Denali National Park, and if you would like to take a flightseeing tour of Denali, it almost certainly is going to take off in Talkeetna.

So I encourage everybody who is watching here in the Gallery or on TV, you have to come to Alaska. You have to visit--winter, summer, fall, spring, it doesn't matter. You will have the best trip of a lifetime. Go to Talkeetna. 

It is also a unique town in many ways--Alaska unique. It was the model for the TV show, many years ago, “Northern Exposure.” Its honorary mayor for 10 years was a cat named Stubbs. So you get the picture. It is a town filled with generous and warm people who love their State, their communities, their country.

Our Alaskans of the Week today are Doug and April Moore. They are the owners of an iconic store in Talkeetna, Moores' Hardware and Building Supply. It is a hardware store with a heart and a place for the community to gather, particularly in the winter, and it is a place that the Moores run to reflect the value of families and communities that they hold so dear.

So let me tell you a little bit about the Moores. Doug's parents and his brother moved from Anchorage to Talkeetna in 1981, when Doug was a preteen and his parents wanted to live in a smaller community, smaller than Anchorage, and they wanted to own their own business. So they chose a tool store housed in a Quonset hut. Like many small business owners all across Alaska, all across America, they got to work--hard work, long hours, but that is what they did.

The younger Moores worked at the store when they were growing up, but Doug chose to be a surveyor when he was in college, and eventually he ran into April, his wife, at a restaurant in Talkeetna. Because it is a small town, they knew each other. They had grown up just a quarter mile apart, but things clicked at that restaurant.

After they got married, Doug and April decided they wanted to run the family business, the hardware store, and they wanted it to stay in the family.

Fast forward to now. If you live in Talkeetna, and you want to build a house, you want to make repairs, you need a hammer, a nail, or just for a cup of coffee, their store is more than 10,000 square feet, with a staff of about 20, with more in the summer. The staff loves the place. They love the Moores because they are great people, great owners, dedicated owners.

Here is how one employee describes working for them: “You will never find anyone like them anywhere.”

Another said: “They are amazing people, what they do to us personally--they take care of us. They make sure we are taken care of. If we have family issues, they understand and do everything they can to help.”

Doug recently said: “We're a family-oriented business. The families of the people who work for us are very important. The kids of our employees have grown up in the business.”

Both of their parents have been together for 50 years, and Doug and April have been together 25. These are really important milestones, really important examples.

As Doug said, “We really believe that's one of the big problems with America right now--families not staying together. We live our values.”

The Moores are also heavily involved in the community. April was a Girl Scout leader and a PTA member. Doug was the president of the community council, a volunteer emergency medical technician, a volunteer firefighter. They help on Thanksgiving with the food bank, as well as the local gun club and firing range. They give where they can. They give back to the community. They are integrated in the community.

Last summer, a series of wildfires ravaged through Southcentral Alaska. The most destructive of these fires was the 3,700-acre McKinley fire. It destroyed 51 homes, 3 businesses, and 84 outbuildings. Thank God, nobody in Alaska was killed.

As one of the largest hardware stores servicing that region where that fire was, Moores' Hardware and Building Supply stepped up, donating time, equipment, and giving to people who needed help, people who needed to rebuild.

We often talk about how small businesses are the backbone of our country's economy, but here is the thing. They are also the backbone of our communities.

In small towns throughout America or throughout Alaska, businesses are not just places for people to go and shop for things. They can also be places where people get together, where people give to one another. 

In fact, they are often the glue that holds communities together. This is what Moores' Hardware and Building Supply is. I have had the honor of going there, shopping there, seeing this great store and community in action. 

Now, one of the Moores' sons, Justin, is in training to take over the store when Doug and April finally retire. It will then be an official third-generation small business in the great State of Alaska. What a great accomplishment that will be.

Justin is committed, just like Doug and April, to their employees and their communities. So I want to thank the Moores. In fact, I want to thank all small business owners across Alaska and across the country for your hard work. 

Doug and April, thank you not just for that hard work but for all you are doing for the community of Talkeetna and the surrounding areas and for the great State of Alaska.

Congratulations on being our first Alaskan of the Week of 2020.

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