How government mandates have brought one Alaska business to brink of disaster - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, January 25, 2022
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How government mandates have brought one Alaska business to brink of disaster

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AND WHAT READERS CAN DO TO HELP

Jason Floyd was living his dream in Soldotna. After being laid off during budget cuts by the University of Alaska a few years ago, he and with his wife Michele and five children opened up a coffee shop in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula.

Ammo-Can Coffee is that coffee shop. Between the regionally famous cups of coffee that bring people streaming through the doors, and the various groups that use the meeting room, Ammo-Can has become a cultural center of sorts in Soldotna, especially for those who love America and the Constitution.

Ammo-Can offers discounts for veterans, and another discount for those responsibly carrying firearms. Floyd asks all his customers if they are packing, and thanks them for supporting the Second Amendment.

He has a sign on the wall that says “Keep your firearm holstered. If need arises, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.”

“We get lots of people taking their photos next to it but really, that’s our rule,” he said. He doesn’t allow people to unholster their firearms in his establishment, but he honors their right to carry.

When the COVID-19 mandates came down, business dropped off dramatically, as it has done all over the state. But the Floyds were able to stay open for several weeks, as they were still able to legally provide take-out coffee. The coffee klatch groups couldn’t gather, and the youth groups from a local church could no longer have their weekly meeting there.

Clearly, the Floyds’ finances were growing more problematic. They were not able to make good on their lease for the first time, and the government aid programs for businesses, they discovered, were not designed for a business like theirs, with all the members of the family working as baristas and bottle-washers.

The Floyds have other businesses to help them make ends meet: They own a small peony brokerage representing farms across the state. This year, weddings are being cancelled all over America, and most Alaska peony farmers will lose their crops because the markets have dried up. He also runs a 4-H program which has been cancelled due to COVID-19. His wife Michele teaches piano and voice.

“She is my rock,” Floyd said.

Usually, diversifying your income streams in Alaska provides some financial security, but not this year for the Floyds: Their income streams have dissolved.

Floyd hit a low point when all of a sudden a call came from the church youth group that had been meeting weekly at the shop. They asked him if he would meet them on the curb.

Jason went out the door and greeted  the youth, who handed him their monthly tithe. They wanted him to know they knew times were tough, and they looked forward to better days ahead. But in the meantime, they wanted him to accept their contribution.

He’d never imagined a world where he would be accepting money from his church youth group customers just to keep his business alive.

HEALTH MANDATE 16 – THE NAIL IN THE COFFIN?

The final blow came with Health Mandate 16, announced on Wednesday by the Dunleavy Administration.

It was supposed to start a “stage-gated” opening of businesses around the state, but for many business owners, it has proven to be a nightmare.

Ammo-Can is experiencing that nightmare. While people have been able to come into the shop to buy coffee to take it with them, the newest mandate says that the business, and all others that serve the public, must provide hand sanitizer at the door.

The problem is, in Soldotna, Nikiski, Homer, and most small towns around Alaska, there is no hand sanitizer for sale at any price. You can’t even find a bottle of Everclear to make your own.

A call to the wholesaler ALSCO in Anchorage verified that no commercial sizes of hand sanitizer is available and there is no date in the future when it will be.

The Floyds, like many businesses that were hanging on by a thread, had great hopes that this Friday they would be able to open to the public. Now, he feels the government has dealt him a crushing blow.

Instead of allowing people inside the shop, as they’ve been able to do for a month, the coffee shop can suddenly only provide curb-side service.

Floyd says the penalties associated with not obeying the mandate are serious: A violation of the mandate can result in an order to close, or a civil fine up to $1,000 per violation. In addition, the business can be criminally prosecuted for reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor.

That means the father of five could face imprisonment for not more than a year if he just stood his ground against the government. 

But the penalties don’t stop there: Under Alaska Statute 12.55.035, any person violating Mandate 16 may be fined up to $25,000 and a business organization may be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding the greatest of $2,500,000 for a misdemeanor offense that results in death, or $500,000 for a class A misdemeanor offense that does not result in death.

In spite of everything, Floyd says the community is amazing and that “coffee is a special culture in Alaska.” He has put his faith in God.

CAN AMMO-CAN COFFEE SURVIVE?

Ammo-Can Coffee is like thousands of businesses that are suffering under local, state, and federal government mandates.

Must Read Alaska has set up a GoFundMe page to help keep this family-owned business alive.

GoFundMe allows people to make contributions to causes. Like this one, for Ammo-Can Coffee, a solid small family-owned business in Soldotna.

Buy a “virtual cup of coffee” and send some love to the Floyd family so they can make it through the next few weeks of rigid government mandates and keep their doors open and their coffee pot on.

You can also send the business a cash contribution through the Venmo app. Jason’s Venmo identifier is Jason Floyd @ Jason-Floyd76.

Donations Welcome

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Tyranny is threatening to bring our country to its knees. Until now, I thought this kind of thing only happened in Communist dictatorships. The left is trying to maintain the “hunker down” approach until the election in November. This is nothing more than another coup attempt by the Democrat Socialists because their first one failed. Their plan is to destroy the economy totally so that the masses will have nowhere to go and turn to the Federal Government for everything. Open up the country now before their plan totally destroys our country. Our Republic will survive only if Free-Market capitalism is allowed to restore the economy in the way only Free-Market Capitalism can.

    • George,
      Did you not read the article?
      These instate mandates (that are becoming ridiculous at this point) are coming from your Republican Governor along with Crumb and Zink…
      Those 3 individuals are single handedly destroying 50 years of small business development in the last Frontier.
      Write an email to Michael Dunleavy and say “enough is enough”…
      End these fascist mandates and let the free citizens of this nation decide their own paths forward at this point.
      As sheriffs and representatives from around the country step out in protest supporting citizens who are done with government tyranny we will see a divide not seen in one hundred years in America.
      I wish the Ammo Can family best wishes during these trying times…
      Like St. Augustine once said:
      “An unjust law is no law at all”

    • Business cannot handle these stupid mandates and all its rules… It will never work and great little businesses like this will crumble and blow away. Personally I’m thinking that’s the way the left wants things. Closed down and depressed.. I’m over it. If your scared to get ill stay home. Let people get back to work so they can provide to their families… Or there will be no point as they all will have closed and declared bankruptcy. It’s happening right now all over the state. Drop all these stupid mandates.

      • Karaboo,
        You say; “Personally I’m thinking that’s the way the left wants things. Closed down and depressed.”
        I understand that many of you have been conditioned to blame the “left” but what we are seeing currently in Alaska are mandates handed down from the top arm of government (a Republican)?
        We are hearing mixed messages from the leaders these days…yes, your business may “open” but now you must wear an “albatross around your neck”?
        A part of the last mandate really got my attention, it says: “Travel throughout the state, previously banned, is now encouraged as long as it’s on the road system…”
        Does the “mandate team” understand that over 75 percent of Alaska is “off the road system”?
        What about the hundreds of Alaskans who own remote property outside of town?
        What about the new dip net fishery in the mat su that is “off the road system”?
        The reality is that none of these mandates would hold up to a good case in federal court.
        The right of the people to move freely and associate freely is guaranteed by our Constitution.
        Is is so important that it was included in the original articles of confederation.
        Having a government that issues authoritarian mandates day after day is tyranny not a free society.

        • About that comment on “What about the hundreds of Alaskans who own remote property outside of town?” We own a remote property near Trapper Creek and this whole virus pandemic never stopped us from going there. There was never any rule that said you couldn’t go to you remote property. Just wanted to clear that up.

  • “Government help is on the way !” And so with the new re-opening mandates, more businesses are being driven to the brink. Somebody please relay this information to Dunleavy, who is briefing us all everyday on the wonderful job everyone is doing… There is a word for what is going on, but I will spare you… Since this is a fly by the seat of your pants operation, it’s time to make a course correction, before someone kicks you where you sit ! Expletives deleted…

  • Anything the private sector can do……… the govt can destroy! Dunleavy has not handled this well!

  • I find it hard to believe that with all the friends Jason has in Soldotna , no one is willing to donate a few bottles of hand sanitizer. After all the mandate doesn’t say that a customer MUST use the sanitizer or that they must use any amount greater than a small squirt. Perhaps he could even put a small amount of bleach with a larger amount of water in a squirt bottle . Those people who are committed customers probably will put up with a lot to be in their favorite coffee place. Cmon, this seems to me like a very small obstacle considering all at he’s already overcome!! Don’t give up just before the finish line!, Are peonies flowers? Thanks , Jason for being a 2A supporter!!

  • The only epidemic we are suffering from is an epidemic of Government Tyranny and stupidity. The continuing lock down and associated edicts by this Governor are purely political and not medical as the medical evidence is overwhelming that Covid-19 is the greatest scam ever perpetuated on the public. The question is what will it take for open rebellion? I know I’m ready to join up with a local Wolverines.

    • You’re a nutter.

    • “The only epidemic we are suffering from is an epidemic of Government Tyranny and stupidity.”
      Well, Mongo, you’re half right.

  • I own a Nail Salon in Anchorage and I just bought 2 – 32oz bottles of hand sanitizer from the Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna. They make it themselves with the distillery and the add aloe and a pleasant scent to it. It’s $32 for a 32oz bottle, call ahead and order some.

    • That is a scalping price. Should be a fourth that price.

      • They are a brewing company, not Purell. I am sure that it cost much more to make it on a small scale.

      • Free enterprise. If you want more of something pay so more producers come on line, don’t complain about empty shelves.

        • I have plenty of the real stuff, don’t need any Everclear. Just crazy how flavored water is worth more than oil etc.

  • There is still that thing called SARS-Cov-2. The government mandates are not for nothing. Pretending that this is a governance problem is seriously whistling past the graveyard.

    .

    What’s going to happen to the middle class is sad. Blame China.

    • Blame
      Canada.

  • I wonder how long it takes before the State Troopers show up to investigate the comment section on MRAK? Specifically Mongo.

    • He’s crazy as hell, but I think harmless.

  • Thank you President Trump and Governor Dunleavy. What more can we say???

    • If you think this is solely the fault of President Trump and Governor Dunleavy you are by no means a realist.

      • There’s this thing called SARS-CoV-2. Solely the cause. The response, well, now that’s another thing.

        • We could do like liberal Democrats do and ban the purchase of seeds, or going outside…If you want to play politics Greg, you will lose in that pissing contest, hands down. The left has instituted unconstitutional measures, no doubt. The rational people in elected office have followed precedent, SCOTUS rulings, and the Constitution…oddly most of those are Republican.
          .
          The response most Americans are concerned about is that of DEMOCRATIC elected officials and how they have trampled various rights.
          .
          But you are right, there is the cause and then there is the response. Overwhelming the left has responded with tyranny, while the right has responded with due process and the rule of law.

  • This Alaska and nationwide hunker down policy would all end if everyone agrees to vote Democrat.
    Remember Swine flu in 2009…60 million Americans were infected, never made a blip on the news, President Obama was in office…..See? It works.

    • Swine flu is still around, it just became a part of the regular flu season. H1N1 is actually the most predominate part of the flu this year. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm

    • Yeah, fake news covered for the anointed one. We all saw that.

    • Good point. Interesting to see the effective of capable governmental response to a widespread epidemic.

      • Revisionist history at its best. We are in a pandemic Greg, and the swine flu was a pandemic as well. The Obama government was never a capable government.

        • I know. Just a backlash and evening of the score at the time. Anybody can go in and cripple our country like NoBama did. He got the peace price for bending over and grabbing his ankles. Sold us out paying Iran all that money. Crooked Hillary and Uncle Joe. Bill stealing all the Haitian relief money. Hillary leaving with billions of missing state dept money. People living and dead voted for these crooks. Not everyone will live up to it now though.

  • It is possible to make your own. Isopropyl alcohol is pretty easy to find, aloe vera, not so much. Lemon juice for smell. Lots of recipes on the tubes of the internet. Cheers –

    https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-make-hand-sanitizer#how-to-make

    • Most are reported to be ineffective.

    • Denatured alcohol that is used in drying turned wood works. Just cut it to 75%. Its cheap too, unlike the perfumed everclear they are selling.

  • Start writing letters to the US Attorney’s office on the civil liberties that have been squashed due to inept persons such as Dunleavy, Crum and those such as Berkowitz and assembly members that impose such restrictions of dictators. Attorney General Barr told it as it is. Complain to the right branch and let them take up the cause. When one business looses, there will be more.

  • I’m not sure how any public facing business could open or stay open under the 25% rule from the latest mandate. 50% seems doable but just barely. Having people go in one door and out another also seems almost impossible in small shops like a coffee shop.
    .
    The fishing charter and commercial fishing mandates are an entirely different set of virtually impossible barriers. If a six pack charter boat can only take 25% of their capacity that’s 1.5 people if they aren’t from the same household. One person on a boat won’t pay for the gas and insurance involved, so does that person have to pay even more for the unused capacity?
    .
    While some busi ess owners might be able to make this work for the short term, the sooner we get past this the better.

  • Crazy considerations of mandates with idealistic expectations. Tell the owner that I am willing to fly to Soldotna this afternoon with bottles of hand sanitizer bottles for their business. Only trade is a small cup of coffee and meet me at the airport for the transfer. Extra small cup of coffee as I really don’t drink much… ask the team at Jitters in Eagle River.

    • This is Jason Floyd, the owner of Ammo-Can Coffee. Thanks for the offer on hand sanitizer the response from people has been overwhelming we now have plenty to go around. If you’d like to come in for a cuppa coffee I’ll treat you. Your kind words and support are generous and we are actively working to pay it forward.

      • Do we flash our 9, or how do we get the discount?

  • We must stand up and fight this over reach of government if we do not stand up together and fight then we deserve everything we get as our founders said if we don’t stand together we will hang seperate may G-D help us!

  • The city or state cannot fine you unless you break a law and there exist no Alaska statutes that delineate the contents of these mandate being handed down by government. Statute 12.55.035 outlines the ability of the state to levy fines based upon CONVICTION. The state cannot prosecute because there exists no legislation that authorizes interference in free enterprise by government. Such interference by the government would be subject to legal recourse by the injured business owner.

  • No question this is a fine American family. Fine Alaskans and a compelling story. At the same time I am certain that Trump and Dunleavy have done their respective jobs extremely well in this case. I might guess that government pays for 95% of all health care actually paid in Alaska, and if we want less government control of behaviors in the next pandemic we have to dramatically change that metric; I would be OK with that. I was forced to enroll in Medicare. I bitched about it but I didn’t take my rifle into the federal building and straighten out the mess that is government funding of health care. Maybe someone else will have more courage than I did; I just began paying what is right now $376 per month for Medicare I didn’t want (something they call IRMA, or something like that). Because I complied instead of protested the government does have an undeniable interest in my health care costs. And after we get government out of mandatory health care (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.), let’s get them out of housing and food. If we really want to be independent then we have to stop all these mandates; Section 8 rent, SNAP, WIC, etc.

  • Ammo-Can Coffee will have the pleasure of paying tax on the money they receive from GoFundMe. Big government always gets theirs.

    • As they should. Who is keeping you from learning Chinese?

      • It doesn’t appear to be our Federal Government, at least prior to Trump.

        • Exactly. Biden and his son do business with the Chinese.

          • And now we hear Trump owes the Chinese big time for loans he took out. No wonder he so nice to them, praising their chairman and having Americans pay their tariffs on goods we buy. Wake up, maybe educate yourself, you missed a few years after fifth grade.grade

  • Why not write about problems at the massage parlor? This is about the BEST dog-whistle article I’ve read yet! We see in the comments that your puppies are well trained! Arff, arff.

    • It’s people’s life being effected even if over flavored water.

  • Federal and state gov’t rules and regulations seem to be a one size fits all (maybe) solution to Wuhan v and it’s problems. Cities, with their mostly dense populations, should be separate from restrictions/instructions for rural homes, businesses and communities because the potential dangers of Wuhan v differ, according to population density and voluntary preventive measures already enacted by citizens, on their own. Then, throw in a wanna-be “Diminutive Democrat Dictator”, like in Anchorage, with his own ‘special’ dictates to control businesses and citizens, and you’ve got a real mess. That’s what Alaska is seeing, at this very moment. The biggest fight in Alaska, currently, is how the leftists (legislative majority) insist on spending the “emergency” funding on their own agenda, when that funding is specifically meant to directly help distressed businesses and unemployed workers in Alaska, not leftist “programs”. The left’s legislative majority in Alaska is further threatening Alaskans’ business survival and personal security by diverting the “emergency” state and federal funding to everything except the “emergency”, especially where conservative issues, businesses and citizens are the ones at most risk. That’s the way I see it.

  • All I wanted was more information on how to donate a few bucks to the coffee shop family. So, the best way to find info is, of course, MRAK. And what I found just scanning the comments was a Dunleavy bashing. Maybe the best way is to stick a few bucks in an envelope and snail-mail it.

  • The restaurant and coffee shop businesses here and nationwide have been assassinated. There is no way that any can operate successfully with little capacity allowed. Most have several hours a day that are their profit making time and without people in seats there is no reason to open. Not all can operate as takeout facilities. Government is now paying servers, bartenders, baristas, etc. more not to work. What happens if there is a small uptick in the fall during normal flu season? Do we all have to shut down again?

    I believe Sweden had the right idea, but uncharacteristically, they did not do a good job protecting their nursing homes and senior living facilities, and the deaths there account for most of their statistics. Their mortality rate seems higher than their Nordic neighbors, but I believe the statistics are flawed. They indicate mortality versus number of known cases, but because of their open policy, it is likely that millions more have been exposed to the virus and showed insignificant symptoms and thus did not seek medical care.

    Quarantine the sick, the weak, the elderly. Don’t destroy jobs and people’s lives if they do not fall into that category.

    • So how long are the “weak, sick and elderly” supposed to be in prison for? And all so we can ultimately promote international travel. The borders are open children, but grandmas doors are closed?

      • Borders are closed for another 4 weeks. Until they get the shot.

        • The shot ain’t coming buddy.

          • Yes it is. The whole world is trying to develop it. We may have a running gun fight getting it out of China though.

          • We haven’t found a vaccine for any of the previous Corona viruses, no reason to think we will find one for this one.

      • If you are in the ‘at risk’ category, you stay in self-imposed quarantine until the risk is significantly diminished. If you are a friend or relative of someone in a high risk category, you interact with them with high precautions and hopefully soon, after being tested so you know if you could put them at risk. We passed the point where the cure is worse than the disease, in my opinion. Millions out of work and hundreds of thousands of businesses that will never return, mine included.

  • Ammo Can Coffee is a great asset to our community. I know this family owned business has been beaten down financially. Thank you Suzanne for doing the article & the go-fund-me.

    The effect of trying to minimize the virus infections has dealt a severe blow to business & the economy. But I don’t fault our Governor. I do believe he and his administration have been trying to impact the spread of the virus with as little impact to our lives as possible. Unfortunately that still delivers a hammer blow. I am convinced if the administration had enacted fewer mitigation attempts & the virus spread more quickly he would be crucified for not doing enough. Since the number of virus cases has remained low I think the key is, to try & open the economy back up by reversing the priority from 100% virus prevention to more emphasis on stabilizing our economy. I think he is trying to do that. Hopefully these efforts will help. I am happy we have not seen some of the draconian enforcement efforts we saw on the east coast & California where people were cited or arrested for visiting beaches or parks.

    Today we went shopping & found some people wearing masks & some were not. That’s ok with me. And as an aside, thanks to Must Read, we (and some others) found some newly arrived hand sanitizer in stock in stores & let Jason know. I think he stocked up!

    • We didn’t have the spike that they did now did we? Jeez!!!

  • Hello
    If anyone can help me get in touch with Jason, I would greatly appreciate it. I would like to offer assistance in the situation.

    • Amanda, were you able to contact Jason yet?

  • Sounds like this family can find a workaround to comply and still not be labeled counter-revolutionary.

    When these mandates hit the bottom line of our elected and non-elected dictators, they’ll vanish amazingly fast. It’s a problem they can just print more monopoly-money for themselves. Welcome to the newly empowered political class system. As long as you’re in government (either party member), or an “essential” worker in a surviving business, you’re golden.

  • It could be worse.

    Imagine a Socialist (OK, read “Democrat” if you like) Regime; you might well be wearing an ankle bracelent that would inject you with something far more fast acting if you DARED to leave your dwelling without first obtaining permission from “The Party”.

  • Excellent human interest story. It breaks away from being just another statistic. That’s the trouble with big government, they’re so busy looking at the big picture, the statistics, that they can’t see all the little individual tragedies.
    “One death is a tragedy. A thousand deaths are a statistic.” Can’t remember who to quote.

    • Stalin. And it was a million.

      • You know it’s bad when people are paraphrasing Stalin to support their idea of liberty…

      • I remember it being attributed to Stalin, and a million, but I also remember some Russian navy admiral saying it first as a thousand. Even before that, in 1925: Darauf sagt ein Diplomat vom Quai d’Orsay: „Der Krieg? Ich kann das nicht so schrecklich finden! Der Tod eines Menschen: das ist eine Katastrophe. Hunderttausend Tote: das ist eine Statistik!”
        quoteinvestigator dot com/2010/05/21/death-statistic/

  • The thing about the Everclear is not true. I saw tons and tons of it for sale at the Fred Meyer’s liquor store. It was on display at the front of the store. I am not saying that will save their business or anything, but Everclear is available at the Soldotna Fred Meyers.

  • This is terrible! And over on Facebook a few minutes ago: “liberal people in our total government are doing this because they want our President out!!”
    Way to bring communities together, wow! Way to be good Christians!!
    Stop it, people! Please!
    I was following this blog, because I thought it was good, but I won’t anymore.

    • If you want reporting that you won’t get from most other sources, you’ll continue to read. You can ignore the comments.

  • The mandates have been tough on everyone but I believe did indeed help to flatten the curve. I also believe it is now time to lift and just continue with the precautions we already know to use. I’m looking forward to visiting this coffee shop next time I’m working on the Kenai and just made a Go-fund donation. It looks like they have had wonderful response and that is so heartening! One blessing that has come out of this crisis is seeing people help one another and pull together.

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