Arctic Circle was started in the late 1950’s by Henry Godfred acting as representative for a variety of manufacturing companies. Mr. Godfred would visit southeast Alaska on steamships, stopping at every port to present his various goods from the manufacturers he represented. His eldest son Gordon often accompanied him, and through the trips with his father Gordon fell in love with the opportunities Alaska offered. Connecting with communities across the state in his formative years, he saw the growing need for a distribution point in Anchorage to provide quicker service to customers. Upon his father’s passing in the late 1960’s while he was still a teenager, Gordon took over the company. He partnered with his brother Mitchell, while Mitchell was still in college, they teamed together to run the young company and purchased their first warehouse.
In the early 1970’s, the two brothers purchased the company's current warehouse on West 36th Avenue in Anchorage, and bought a Fairbanks post card company, Arctic Circle. This purchase began the post card division of our company, and inspired our current company name; a few years later, the company's name officially changed from Godfred and Associates to Arctic Circle Enterprises.
With the purchase of the new warehouse, our business transitioned from representing manufacturers to developing and distributing our own products that wholly represent our love for Alaska. We grew through the pipeline days as the largest distributor of gold nugget jewelry, jade, hematite and fossil ivory carvings and jewelry, soon developed a paper goods division, and started the development of our garment business.
1980 brought the need for more warehouse space, so our warehouse was expanded by 10,000 square feet to accommodate ever-growing demand. In 1992 more office and showroom space was called for thanks to our continued growth, and we moved our offices to the current location on Spenard Road in Anchorage. That same year we saw increasing opportunities to expand beyond sub-contracting our embroidery and printing needs, leading to our opening of Polar Graphics USA in Kent, Washington. That space has grown from a 20,000 sq. ft. facility to over 80,000 square feet in the years since. In 1994 we took hold of the chance to better provide service to southeast Alaska and opened an office and showroom in the Merchants Warf Mall in Juneau, Alaska. In 2014 we unified our company name as ACE USA Seattle, who support us in fulfilling our printing and embroidery needs and our business selling across the USA, and ACE USA Alaska, dedicated to servicing the needs of Alaska.
Our Alaska division focuses solely on Alaska gifts designed by our team of Alaskan artists. Everything we stock in our warehouse is decorated with an Alaskan design. We carry a broad line of gifts including t-shirts, hoodies, outerwear, ceramics, kitchen towels and accessories, socks, baseball caps, totes, key chains, magnets, ornaments, plushes, and more. We are the largest Alaska souvenir wholesaler in the state, creating enthusiastic customers with unique products for unique destinations, and staffing our company with hard-working and enthusiastic employees who contribute to our company's growth and success every step of the way.