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By Alaina Bartel
Daily News Staff Writer
When most of the seasonal shops were closing down at the end of September, there was at least one business that was opening its doors once again. It’s been a long time coming, and there’s still a fair amount of work to be done, but the Creek Street Cabaret has reopened and is ready for business.
Karl Richey, long-time local doctor, opened the Creek Street Cabaret on Stedman Street in 2010. He’s been planning an expansion to the cabaret ever since he purchased the building it’s in.
“The plan all along has ultimately been to have all of the interior walls out,” Richey explained, “all of the things that were built by KRBD and, before them, Schmolck Mechanical.”
Richey spoke about the project with the Daily News in late spring and then again on Tuesday.
Antique and vintage store Maiden Voyage once had storefronts on either side of the Creek Street Cabaret entrance, but the business moved to Water Street earlier this year. Work on the cabaret began almost immediately after its neighbor moved.
“We’ve knocked out all the walls that separate the cabaret from Maiden Voyage and we’re cutting back on some of the mezzanine, so we’ve got more space above,” Richey said in the earlier interview.
Its tattered wooden floors that detail the building’s history remain, but there are many new additions to the Creek Street Cabaret. One of those is a large new bar made from one 20-foot-piece of red cedar that sits opposite the stage. Todd Lesko and Linda Millard, friends of Richey’s, helped with the new wooden bar.
Another addition includes the Cabaret Boutique next to the cabaret, which Richey’s wife, Maria Richey, has been working on. Karl Richey said he’s not sure what her winter hours will be, but he’s proud of all the effort she’s put into it.
“She put a lot of work in finding things that are artistic, Alaskan, local, native, things along the Northwest Coast, some Canadian stuff. It’s all stuff that’s relatively unique for Ketchikan,” Karl Richey said on Tuesday.
Karl Richey said they’ve now completed phase three of what he expects to be a six or seven phase project. Once the project is completely finished, Karl Richey plans for there to be windows overlooking Ketchikan Creek.
Additionally, he said there could be a promenade on the Stedman Street side of Creek Street in the future, as well as a deck behind the cabaret’s building that connects with other decks. Other plans include opening a brewpub towards the front of the cabaret, and having a restaurant that serves lobster, salmon and steak cooked on an open-flame grill.
As for now, the Richeys are working on being completely open come next summer. Karl Richey said that includes adding appliances to the new bar, like a glass washer, cocktail-making station and three sinks. He said once that happens, they plan to be open for business six or seven days a week.
For the moment, the Creek Street Cabaret is open for jam sessions 6 p.m. on Sunday’s with local musicians, occasional square dancing with the Free Radicals and other special events.
“We have several entertainers lined up and eager to take us through to the next tourist season,” Karl Richey said on Tuesday, “when we’re going to be open all day, every day.”
Karl Richey emphasized the main focus of the cabaret has and always will be live music, not only a place where people can hear it, but a venue for local musicians to express themselves.
“I don’t believe there’s another spot in Ketchikan — a bar or a nightlife place — that was built with and kind of consideration for entertainment,” Karl Richey said in the earlier interview. “I’ve known this for 25 years, that we want a place that is going to be pleasant for people to come who actually want to listen to the live music and enjoy the music.
“Certainly they’ll be able to dance — we’ve got a great big dance floor — but people who want to come and have an enjoyable time listening to some live entertainment can come, too,” he added.