Auto dealer submits plans for expansion

    The City of Bellingham planning department has received plans from Jerry Chambers Chevrolet for a new 18,000-square-foot showroom near the auto dealer’s current location on Northwest Road.
   The plans call for the building to be constructed on the corner of Home Road and Northwest Avenue, and the showroom would be for Cadillac automobiles.
   Jerry Chambers couldn’t be reached for comment about the project, which had originally been submitted in 2001.

Prostock purchases former Christo’s building
   Prostock Athletic Supply has purchased the former Christo’s building at 110 North Samish Way and will be moving into that location.
   Remodeling of the building is scheduled to begin in July and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Prostock anticipates moving out of their current 1515 Cornwall Ave. location in January
   “We see the acquisition of this property as a tremendous opportunity to enhance our customer’s experience. The Samish area is seeing tremendous growth with new construction and revitalization,” said Prostock’s president, Eric Ericsson. “What is important for us is that the new location has improved accessibility to I-5, increased parking, and additional square footage allowing us not only to
enhance our in- house decorating service of embroidery and lettering, but with the trend to year-round sports participation, we will be able to have all sports merchandised on the floor year-round.”
   Prostock Athletic Supply has been servicing school, club, and recreational athletic teams and corporate customers since 1982.

WECU to open Fairhaven branch
   The Whatcom Educational Credit Union is planning to open its fourth Bellingham branch later this year after snaring a Fairhaven location.
   WECU is planning to open the branch in the former Washington State Liquor Store spot, located at 1212 13th St., said WECU spokesperson Megan McGinnis.
   She said the branch is scheduled to be open sometime this fall, and will offer most of the services typical of the other WECU branches, except that it will not have a drive-thru window.
   “We’re excited about coming to Fairhaven. We’ve had a lot of customers asking us to open a branch there,” McGinnis said.
   WECU has been going through a growth spurt in the past year. A year ago the credit union opened a branch on Meridian Street in the Fountain District, and earlier this year they opened a branch in Lynden. Another branch will be opening in Blaine later this year.

‘Cowboy Dan’ starts new business
   Dan Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Towing, recently founded Cowboy Dan’s Auto Auction at his towing company headquarters, 4058 Bakerview Valley Road.
   The new business, a division of Johnson Towing, is a unique way of purchasing automobiles.
   Like a typical auction, customers can view vehicles a few hours before sale. However, when it’s time to auction them, an employee drives the car past grandstands inside a 3,000- square-foot warehouse
at the location. After the vehicle is sold, another then drives through.
   “Whatcom County is in need of something like (an indoor auction), due to weather circumstances, and it’s a service-oriented society right now,” Johnson said.
   Johnson, a Meridian High School graduate, had his first auction in April and plans to hold them the last Saturday of each month. The next auctions will be June 25 and July 30.
   Cars, which are sold on consignment from local dealers and residents, have been selling at prices as low as $500 to $1,000.
   “It’s a good place to get a first car for a son or daughter or an A-to-B, run-around-town car,” Johnson said.
   For more information, contact 671-5346 or

Security company moving to Queen St.
   A local business is moving into new digs.
   Gateway Controls plans to move into a new building at 2205 Queen St. next month, or as soon as construction is finished, said company president John Merrill.
   The business, which has been at 1600 Kentucky St. for the past four years, has outgrown its current space, Merrill said. The new 4,000-square-foot building will have twice as much space as Gateway
Controls’ current location and will allow the company to plan for further expansion.
   The security company, which, among other things, installs automatic gates and closed-circuit TVs, has been in business 10 years and has nine employees.

Restaurant spot to get new tenant
   Chun Zhi Xie has received a business license for China One Buffet to operate in the former East Village Mongolian Grill location located at 950 Lincoln St., near the former Samish Drive-in. Owners of the new restaurant were unavailable for comment, but a sign on the door said they plan on opening soon.

Building permit news
   Fred Bovenkamp has received city building permit approval to build a new building on 2425 E. Bakerview Road, which will have Main Street Cabinets as a tenant.
   The $1,009,746 building will be constructed by Colacurcio Brothers Construction of Blaine. Company officials at Main Street Cabinets did not want to comment on the project at this time because they were still working out the details.
   Permits have also been approved for renovations at the former Jody Bergsma Gallery on King Street. Escape Day Spa is having $200,000 in tenant improvements done and expects to move there from its Bay Street location later this year.
   With demolition now complete on 140 Samish Way, permits have been approved for the construction of a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant. Construction Structures Inc. is the contractor for the $205,680 building.

Business to bloom on Cornwall Avenue
   A trip to Europe and a 50th birthday have prompted Trish Manley to turn over a new leaf.
   She and her husband, Chuck, have moved their business, JQ Flower Shoppe, from 118 W. Holly to 1327 Cornwall Ave.
   The move, Manley said, was inspired by a recent trip to Europe where she noticed that many flower shops there displayed their bouquets on the sidewalks in front of their stores. The new location has three garage doors facing the sidewalk and will allow Manley to emulate what she saw in Europe.
   “When I was in Europe, I said, ‘We don’t have any flower shops like that (in Bellingham), with flowers on the sidewalk and an open feel,” Manley said.
   With the new location, and her recent 50th birthday, Manley said she’s decided to change the store’s name to JQ’s A New Leaf Flower Shoppe.
The Manleys, who’ve owned the business since 1980, may also add more employees to their six-person staff and extend their hours.
   Manley, who’s been at 118 Holly for eight years, said there are two parties considering opening a cafe at the site when it becomes vacant.

Salon moving to Ohio Street
   A longtime downtown hair salon is moving to another part of town.
   Salon Capelli, located at 209 Prospect St. for the past 17 years, will move July 1 to the Ohio Street Work Studios on 112 Ohio St.
   The hair salon, which currently leases space in the Zervas Group Architects building, needs to relocate because Zervas is expanding into that space.
   “Change is good and we’re excited to be with everybody at the Ohio Street Work Studios,” said Cheri Shagren, a nine-year employee who will become co-owner at the new site.
   Anna Aliotti has been the sole owner for the past 17 years. Aliotti and Shagren met as students at Sehome High School.

Fairhaven Bob’s finds new location
   A burger joint will be going into the new Gateway Building after all — Bob’s Burger and Brew.
   Michelle Heffley, owner of the Fairhaven Bob’s Burger and Brew, announced this week she’s signed a 10-year lease with Lisa and Ron Woo, property owners of the former Bellingham Inn located on the
southeast corner of Railroad Avenue and Holly Street.
   The downtown Bob’s is likely to open about a year from now, said the Zervas Group’s Mike Smith, the lead architect on the project at 202 E. Holly Street.
   Two months ago it appeared Dan and Ken Bothman, owners of La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza, were going to open a “Fiamma Burger” at the Gateway Building. Lease negotiations, however, fell through.
   Heffley said she was contacted by the Woos about potentially leasing the spot after Lisa Woo read in the March issue of The Bellingham Business Journal that the Fairhaven Bob’s was seeking a new location.
   Heffley hadn’t renewed her lease at the Fairhaven Bob’s current location, 1304 12th Street, because she thought she’d be moving into the Harris Square building. Deep into the negotiation process with
Harris Square, though, developers and Heffley realized they weren’t going to be able to meet parking requirements.
   The Fairhaven Bob’s, which has been at its current location for 10 years, will still close June 26. Most employees, said Heffley, have been given jobs at other Bob’s locations in the area.
   Bob’s new downtown location will feature an outdoor patio, first-floor dining area and second-floor lounge.
   “We’re very excited to go downtown,” Heffley said. “With all the new revival, we think it will be a perfect spot. And there’s lots of parking.”

Retrotec expanding its local operations
   Retrotec, which manufactures testing equipment that can determine the energy efficiency and fire-suppression capabilities of rooms, recently opened a shipping department at 2141 Queen St.
   Production manager Carl Piehl said the new space, approximately 35 feet by 70 feet, allowed the company to increase its total square footage by about one-third. He said several part-time employees have been hired to work at the new facilities.
   Retrotec, which is renting the new space from Tim Donnelly of Special-T Striping and Sign, will maintain its current operations at 2200 Queen St.
   Retrotec was able to begin its new operations after Special-T sold its auto and truck accessory and installation division earlier this year and space became available.

Bellingham is wired – with coffee
   Bellingham is ranked in the top 10 on yet another list, and it probably won’t surprise those who regularly need a caffeine fix.
   The city of subdued excitement is ranked No. 4 in the United States for having the most coffee shops per capita, according to a study done by NPD Foodworld, a provider of data about food consumption patterns.
   According to the study, Bellingham has 2.1 coffee shops per 10,000 people, ranking ahead of every community except Anchorage, Alaska (2.8), Seattle (2.5) and San Francisco (2.2). Los Angeles has the most coffee shops in the country, with 801, followed by Seattle with 628. Bellingham has 37 coffee shops.

Brown & Cole to close Kennewick store
   In May, Brown & Cole announced that it would be closing the Food Pavilion in Kennewick and laying off 29 employees.
   The company had put the store up for sale when it announced in March that it was selling or closing eight stores. Brown & Cole couldn’t find a buyer, however, so the company decided the store would close in June.
Some of the employees at the Kennewick store will be offered jobs at the Pasco Food Pavilion.

Buddhist group leases office space
   Soka Gakkai International-USA, an American Buddhist association, will be leasing 2,000 square feet of space in a Trillium building at 4370 Cordata Parkway.
   Real estate agent Jim Lackey said SGI-USA intends to use the space as a meeting and office space.
   The group has applied for a building permit for tenant improvements and expects to be moved in at the end of July.
   SGI-USA’s focus is to promote world peace based on the teachings of the Nichiren School of Mahayana Buddhism. The organization has 87 centers in the United States and 12 million worldwide members. More information about the group can be found at this SGI link.

New sushi restaurant slated for Samish
   James Burkholder and Song Lee Kim have applied for a liquor license for a new restaurant on 102 S. Samish Way, in the mini-mall near McDonald’s. The new restaurant name is Blue Fin Sushi.

Insurance firm moves back into old location
   Northwest Capital Conservers will be moving this weekend from 3080 Northwest Ave. to 2505 Cedarwood Ave., suite B. The insurance company will be moving back into the location it originally occupied in the 1980s. It was founded in 1986 and still owned by Tony Cubellis.

Mortgage company changes spots
   First Horizon , a mortgage company, will soon be occupying 1301 W. Bakerview Rd. The company had originally planned to locate in the Barkley Village area.

Alaska ferry making changes
   A shift in ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway System will mean the ships Columbia and Taku will make Bellingham their ports of call this winter, according to the Anchorage Daily News. In the past, the Kennicott and the Matanuska have been making regular stops in Bellingham. The Columbia is the largest ship in the AMHS, holding more than 600 passengers.

D’Anna’s to take over Calumet location
   The former Calumet Restaurant location won’t stay dormant for long. Michael and Florita D’Anna, who’ve owned North State Street’s D’Anna’s Caf"� Italiano since 1996, recently purchased The Calumet’s restaurant equipment and assumed its liquor license at 113 E. Magnolia St.
   The couple hopes to open a new restaurant there by the end of June.
   The new restaurant, Chiribin’s , will have a different menu than D’Anna’s, said Florita D’Anna. It will be casual/fine dining, featuring appetizers, steaks, seafood, barbecue, vegetarian and the
like. There will also be a large bar menu.
   “We’ll make it so everyone’s welcome, from a toddler up to any age,” Florita said. “If you’d like to spend a little money, we’ll have something on the menu like that. If you want to spend more, we’ll
have that, too.”
   Added Michael: “My expertise goes way beyond Italian food. I feel like we’re missing some really good steak and seafood in this town.”
   The restaurant will be able to accommodate around 100 diners and will likely employe a staff of 10 to 20 people, she said.
   Chiribin’s is named after Michael’s pet rooster as a child, Florita said.
   “The rooster was treated like a baby and tucked into bed every night,” she said.
   The Calumet, a stylish dining and drinking establishment, closed April 9. Mauri Ingram and husband, Lee Eberhardt, operated the restaurant for the past seven and a half years.
   Ingram cited, among other things, more competition from new restaurants in Fairhaven and downtown as factors behind The Calumet’s closure.


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