“The shop is like a gypsy tent that doesn’t move,” said Megan Frost, co-owner of Lost & Found.
Step into the cozy and brightly-lit shop on Second Avenue and odds are you’ll be greeted by the smiling faces of Frost, Max Hicks, and their son Indie. Frost and Hicks are owners of Lost & Found, a shop of vintage vinyl records and a myriad of curiosities.
“That’s basically just our style,” said Frost. “We started in curiosities.”
The pair came to Alaska from Florida in August of last year. They opened Lost & Found that November. The shop is full of old vinyl records, music gear, and jewelry. The walls are also covered in art; paintings done by both Frost and Hicks. At any given time you’ll hear the sounds of Cactus or Tom Waits (one of Hicks’ favorites) echoing from a record player behind the counter.
While managing a business isn’t new to either of them, the pair didn’t come to Fairbanks with the intent of running a shop. The pair were drawn to Alaska – like so many others – by the “idea of the frontier.”
“Alaska has opportunity,” Hicks said. Frost added that Alaska is also a great place to raise kids.
Like Frost and Hicks, the store itself has its origins in the warm waters of Matanzas Bay off the coast of St Augustine. Lost & Found began life as a jewelry store with only a single milk crate of records. Its status as jewelry store didn’t last long.
“They called us a record shop,” said Hicks, referring to the St. Augustine locals who began bringing in and looking for records. “The transition from jewelry store to record shop was immediate,” he said.
While they now live in Fairbanks, in some ways the couple brought Florida with them. A curio cabinet near the middle of the shop is full of historic detritus: pottery, a bit of an old pipe and even a horse tooth. That last one Hicks found swimming in Matanzas Bay.
St. Augustine, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, is the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the United States. That Hicks and Frost moved from the oldest city in the country to one of the youngest is a fact not lost on them.
The circus tent
In Fairbanks, the couple dove head-first into opening their shop. “It makes me think of a circus,” Frost said on the shop’s eclectic, “ever-changing vibe.”
That ever-changing vibe might be because the store not only sells, but also buys and trades. Oftentimes they end up rescuing transfer-station-bound items. “We have a lot of cool, oddball vintage gear hiding around here,” Hicks said. He should know – he’s put some of the gear to good use hosting a vinyl night at the Mecca.
Despite being newcomers to Fairbanks, Frost and Hicks put a lot of stock in keeping things local. They currently have art by Geneva Hobson and Sunny Park on display, as well as numerous local musicians. The shop sells the work of twelve Fairbanks artists and is “always looking to get more.” Local artists even have their own prominent display near the middle of the store.
“It’s good to have a store for tourists, but you got to have stuff for locals,” Hicks said.
In addition to offering the wares of Fairbanks’ artist community, Lost & Found has also gotten involved in some of its creation. Since opening last winter, they’ve helped organize three all-age shows at 544 3rd Street featuring local artists like Kittiwake, Rebecca Menzia, The Artificer, Awaken Antagonist and Alderest.
According to Hicks, Alderest will host family-friendly Open Mic Nights every third Friday of the month inside Lost & Found. The first event will be September 16.
“It’s great having a space that is for all ages,” Frost said. “It’s okay to be under-21. Kids are people, too!”
Why did they choose to open their shop downtown? It’s simple, Hicks said. “We’re downtown people. I see so much potential in this downtown and want to make sure we get in at the ground floor.”