Editorials Heard It Through the Grapevine August 14, 1997 Share 1 -- The gift shop business in Skagway, Alaska, is booming. But it wasn't always so, and Insider's got a tale from back when. One of Skagway's longtime artisan-shopkeepers, Jim Stamper, tells of a rumor that hit town in 1985. It seems a visitor purchased a sculpture from a local merchant for about $1,000. This was a big sale, so, naturally, people got excited, and soon the news traveled the Skagway grapevine. By the time the "news" reached Stamper, though, the amount had grown to $50,000. Back before the cruise ships began arriving in large numbers, this figure would have been unthinkable, according to Stamper. "For $50,000 in 1985, I would have given them the keys to my shop," he said.