Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire 
The Doogan family: Isaac, Neil and Alma pose behind the counter of their family-operated business J&J Deli and Asian Market. The family has decided to stay in business for one more year and continue the search for a new buyer.

Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire The Doogan family: Isaac, Neil and Alma pose behind the counter of their family-operated business J&J Deli and Asian Market. The family has decided to stay in business for one more year and continue the search for a new buyer.

J&J Deli and Asian Market to remain open for 1 more year

The search will continue for new buyers

On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, Juneau’s popular J&J Deli and Asian Market was business as usual during its normal busy lunch rush. Regulars filed in one right after the other, and in most cases didn’t have to give their orders because store owners Neil and Alma Doogan have been serving their customers for so long that the orders are committed to memory.

The lunch rush was so busy, it’s hard to imagine that the sandwich shop was recently just one month shy of having to close permanently, but now, thanks to those loyal customers and a decision made by the property’s owner, the J&J Deli and Asian Market has made official plans to stay in business for another year, though Neil Doogan said within that time they will continue to seek out a newer buyer.

[J&J Deli and Asian Mart plans to close up shop after 43 years]

“As it stands right now, we had to wait on the owner to make that determination if he wanted us to stay year for another year or not because our lease is four years instead of just one, but since he didn’t have anyone else to put in here at the time, he didn’t have a problem with us being here,” Neil Doogan said. “But our intention is to still try and sell it within the next year that we have here. If that doesn’t happen and we’re not able to find someone, our plan as of now is to shut it down.”

The Doogan family purchased the deli from the original owners Jack and Susan Woods in 2010, and the Woods were running the shop from as far back as 1979. That was part of the original appeal of purchasing the well-known establishment in the first place, to maintain and hold onto the history and nostalgia, as Neil Doogan, 59, can still recall frequenting the deli while in high school when his friends were staffing the shop.

Neil Doogan’s busy job with the state and their youngest son, Isaac, 16, still in school, had left Alma Doogan to do nearly all of the daytime duties on her own, which over time contributed to health concerns and took a toll on her hands, back and feet. So despite the strong and consistent customer base, the family decided it was best to part ways with the business once the lease expired this coming August.

That all, of course, was until Alma Doogan had a change of heart. The Doogans managed to find someone to come in and help her with some of the day-to-day duties, as well as running the register while Neil and Isaac Doogan aren’t able to be around to assist her. Though still dealing with the same health related issues, she’s decided to soldier on, a decision that Alma Doogan said was largely due to the customers she calls family.

“The reason why I changed my mind is because here in this community, it’s a very good community, that’s the reason why, especially the kids,” Alma Doogan said. “The kids, it just really, it breaks my heart, so that’s the reason why I changed a little bit on my part. At least this way the kids in school still have somewhere to come that’s closer than going to (Foodland) IGA.”

While Neil said there has been some occasional interest expressed from people wanting to purchase the space, the search ultimately still continues and until that time comes, the Doogan family, at least for one more year, will continue to happily serve sandwiches to the community that’s kept them running strong for over the last decade.

“There have been a few potential buyers, but there were circumstances where it proved to be too early for them to take it on,” Neil Doogan said. “Hopefully, we can find someone to take it over and carry on the legacy, we’ll see.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com

J&J Deli and Asian Market has been in business at 1248 Glacier Ave. since 1979. The Doogan family acquired ownership of the well-known establishment in 2010. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

J&J Deli and Asian Market has been in business at 1248 Glacier Ave. since 1979. The Doogan family acquired ownership of the well-known establishment in 2010. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

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