Dimond Center was established in 1977 by Joe and Patty Ashlock, both of whom were originally from the lower 48. Joe served in the U.S. Army as a private first class during World War II and 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 Joe and Patty 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 a sparsely populated part of the city. They both saw the area's potential and reached out to local residents, asking what they needed and what they would enjoy seeing in the area.
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. The mall was 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 and Old Navy stores in 1999. Safeway was torn down and Best Buy was built in 2002. There are two original tenants left, The Perfect Cup and Zales, though both have undergone remodeling in recent years.
Dimond Center was south Anchorage's first shopping mall and with a lot of hard work and vision it has grown side by side with Anchorage for over 40 years.
Joe and Patty managed Dimond Center for 35 years, until 2012, when they passed the reigns to the next generation. Today Dimond Center is still family owned and operated, a local business 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!