Countrywide Home Loans will in May open a Bellingham office on the second floor of the Arch Talbot Building at 2200 Rimland Drive. Countrywide will occupy nearly 2,800 square feet in the former Washington Mutual Commercial Banking office and start with five employees, according to Matt Hammatt of the Barkley Company.
Countrywide’s mortgage banking business ranks among the top five loan originators and servicers in America, with over 400 branch offices nationwide. Countrywide Home Loans is experiencing substantial market-share growth in home loan originations and the company’s loan-servicing portfolio now is nearly $900 billion.
Abbe Rolnick, a former executive at Cascade DAFO, is opening a Robeks Fruit Smoothies & Healthy Eats, a fast-growing healthy-food franchise, at the new Dahlia Building at 3110 Woburn St.
Rolnick is leasing about 1,300 square feet of space in the southwest corner of the building, facing the Barkley Boulevard/Woburn intersection. Rolnick said Robeks focuses on providing a healthy option for people who need food on the go.
Along with smoothies, Robeks will offer sandwiches, soups and breakfast bowls (a blend that includes berries, juice, granola). There will also be a sit-down area.
“When people are busy and they need to get something quickly, there are usually just unhealthy food options. This will give people a choice,” Rolnick said. Rolnick hopes to have Robeks opened in August. This will be the first Robeks in Washington state, and Rolnick plans on opening a second Whatcom County location later this year.
Robeks was founded in 1995 in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Rolnick said the company is in a major expansion phase, opening stores throughout the United States.
The Barkley Village John L. Scott Real Estate office recently signed a lease for an additional 2,000 square feet of office space. In the next few months, following some tenant improvements, it will expand into the former Moxie Fitness location, contiguous to its existing office at 2930 Newmarket St., Suite 111.
More offices for Paulsen Building
Two new office spaces are currently being developed on the waterfront at the Paulsen Building. Peter Paulsen, who owns the 34,000- square-foot high-tech, mixed-use building, adjacent to the Hotel Bellwether, said space that had previously been used for hotel business has recently become vacant.
His company, he said, is currently developing the second-floor space to accommodate new businesses. Both new offices will have three 12-foot by 16-foot individual offices, reception and storage areas, and wall-to-wall waterfront views. The new offices should be complete in about two months, Paulsen said.
Bellingham business starts daily flights to islands
Bellingham Aero Aviation Services has begun offering an air taxi service with daily flights between Bellingham, the San Juan Islands and Anacortes.
Bellingham Aero’s pilot Chris Pagnotta said the air taxi service started on April 18. There are two options for passengers: to either charter a three-passenger Cessna for $90 and go anywhere on the islands or Skagit County, or purchase a seat for a negotiated price, typically around $29.
“Let’s say I have a chartered flight with two people to Friday Harbor. Someone who lives on Friday Harbor could fly into Bellingham for $29 and get some errands done,” Pagnotta said. The company also offers a free courtesy car for those who fly into Bellingham, as well as free overnight parking in Bellingham.
Bellingham Aero was founded in 2003 by Fred Knutsen to provide fueling services and a flight school at the Bellingham Airport. Pagnotta said they began offering the air taxi service because they see a demand for a service based in Bellingham as well as the flexibility to go to all the major San Juan Islands. Their local competition is San Juan Airlines, based in Anacortes, and Island Air, based in Friday Harbor.
The company will currently operate a three-passenger Cessna for its flights, and they plan on adding a five-passenger Cessna. For more information, visit the company website or call 671-3075.
Business is rising for bakery
Wendy and John DeFreest, owners of Avenue Bread on Railroad Avenue, plan to open a second location this summer, in Fairhaven.
The new bakery and eatery will be on the ground floor of the Fairhaven Gardens building, under construction on Mill Avenue, between 11th and 12th Streets.
“We’re pretty excited about it. It’s all coming together right now,” John DeFreest said. The DeFreests do not yet have a set date for the opening of the second store. They bought the Railroad Avenue business in November 2001. Pat and Bruce Hendin operated the store for seven years prior to that.
Knitting & crochet store heading to Northwest Avenue
There’s a new business going into the former Frontier Bank building on Northwest Avenue, across the street from Yeager’s Sporting Goods & Marine.
Marilyn Hendricks will be opening Marilyn’s Yarn in May. It will be a knitting and crochet business, and Hendricks wants it to be more than just a store.
“I want it to be a place where people can hang out and get some knitting and crocheting done,” Hendricks said. “There is an espresso place next door, so people can get their coffee and pick up tips while working on their projects.”
Hendricks has spent about $50,000 in tenant improvements to this point in the 4,000-square-foot space, which includes putting in new carpeting and molding.
For the past 27 years she’s been a bookkeeper for her husband John’s business, Northwest Off Road Specialties Inc.
Business park sold
The Iowa Street Business Park, located on 1700 Iowa St., was recently sold for $4 million by MSG Properties LLC to Iowa Street LLC. MSG had originally purchased the business park from Ron and Anita Davis in January 2002 for $2.75 million.
Local Attachmate employees await fate of merger
Employees at Attachmate’s Bellingham office will be seeing some changes in the coming month, as the Factoria-based company is merging with WRQ of Seattle.
The deal, announced on April 18, is expected to result in some layoffs as the two software companies consolidate local and global operations. The Bellingham office has about 40 software developers but no official announcement will be made on changes until the deal closes at the end of May, said Marcus Nitschke, a company representative at the Bellevue office. No word yet on which name will be used for the new company.
The combined company will be the second-largest host access provider, behind IBM, with about 16 percent of the market, according to the newspaper’s analysis of the industry. The host access software helps companies manage and access information stored on large computers.
Including the 40 Bellingham employees, Attachmate has about 650 employees. WRQ has 300 employees, 230 of whom are based in Seattle.
Local businessman has interest in Anacortes hotel
It appears a local business person is about to take on a major project in Anacortes.
According to the Anacortes American, Mike Keenan, owner of the Chrysalis Inn and Spa, is partnering with Bob Morand and Guy Davidson of Anacortes to purchase the Majestic Hotel on 419 Commercial Ave.
With the sale of the building scheduled to close in May, the partners hope to put in a restaurant and a second-floor spa.
According to the article, the Majestic has been empty since it was gutted by fire in February 2001.
Longtime Ferndale medical facility moving to a new location
The Ferndale Family Medical Center, located at 5616 3rd Ave. for more than 20 years, broke ground last month on a new building at 5580 Nordic Way.
“The population in the county and Ferndale is growing and we don’t have the ability to grow in our current location,” said practice manager Lisa Carter. “We’re at capacity and in order to meet the need of the community and serve everyone, we need more space.”
The new $1.8 million building, which was designed by Carletti Architects and is being built by Roosendaal-Honcoop Construction, will be about 10,700 square feet in size. The medical center’s current location has approximately 3,600 square feet.
With the additional space, Carter said, the medical center can increase from four to six practitioners. She expects the new building to open around Jan. 1.
Opening in a neighborhood near you …
There are three new companies coming to Bellingham, hoping to open by this summer:
Help-U-Sell, a real estate company that has franchises across the country, is moving into the Blossom Commons building on 131 W. Kellogg Rd. The company will lease about 1,000 square feet of space. The company’s focus is to help sell homes at a lower commission rate and has flourished in the past two years. It was ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country. Gene Erskin, involved in getting the Bellingham office open, hopes to have it ready by June 1.
Also moving into the same building complex is Country Insurance and Financial Services. The company, which has a Lynden office, will also be leasing 1,000 square feet of space and is scheduled for a June 1 opening, said building manager Debbie Turk.
Lee’s Buffet has applied for a building license at 819 Lakeway Dr., in the former Pizza Hut building. When contacted, the owners said they weren’t ready to make any announcements about their plans, except to say they hope to be open later this summer.
BTC to break ground soon
Bellingham Technical College plans to break ground on a new building this summer. Construction of the building, which will house the school’s welding and automotive technology classes, is expected to begin July 1, said college spokeswoman Anne Bowen.
Dimensions and features of the building, which will be designed by The Henry Klein Partnership, Architects, have not been finalized, Bowen said. The project is scheduled to go out to bid May 31. The building will cost $10.5 million, according to a building permit application filed with the City of Bellingham. Bowen anticipates the project will be completed in about two years.
Mud In Your Eye to expand
Mud in Your Eye Pottery will be expanding by 700 square feet next month, taking over the back room of the soon-to-be-closed Fairhaven Hardware & Garden on 909 Harris Ave. Owner Frank Howell said they are reclaiming that space in order to expand both the retail store and the studio.
“We had taken 1,300 square feet of the 2,000 square feet offered when we first opened (in 1996), but now we’re ready to add more product and add more space,” he said. “This will dramatically change the look of the store.”
Howell said he hopes to have the expansion completed before Ski to Sea weekend at the end of May.
As for the front portion of 909 Harris Ave., it was just announced at press time that Academic Outfitters will move from its location next to the Shrimp Shack on Cornwall Avenue to fill this part of the building.
Owner Mary Gibb said she expects to be in the location by July.
“(Our old space) was lovely, but the foot traffic just wasn’t there. We’re excited about moving to Fairhaven,” Gibb said.
Samish Plaza gets two tenants
Two businesses plan to open in June, in the new Samish Way Plaza.
Lydia Bennett of Saratoga Commercial Management, who leases the building at the corner of E. Maple and Otis streets, said Anna and Tony Nguyen plan to open a nail shop, and Alfredo Aguirre will operate a karate studio. Both businesses are expected to open June 1.
The Nguyens, who own T&T Nails on 36th Street, will be on the ground floor of the two-story building. Anna Nguyen declined to provide further information.
Aguirre’s Leeward Kenpo Karate will be on the second floor. He could not be reached for comment at press time.
There are still unoccupied spaces in the building, Bennett said. She’s working on providing restaurant space on the main floor, while office space is available on the second floor.
Masonry company working on their own building
R&D Masonry has received city permit approval to build a 16,000-square-foot office/warehouse building at the south end of Irongate Road. The company is planning to break ground on the 5-acre property soon and hopes to be completed in August, said Jim Dickie, regional manager for the company.
The address for the new building is 2520 Masonry Way, just off of Irongate Road. R&D will occupy about half of the $675,000 building and lease the other half. They are currently located at 3870 Mustang Way.
Dickie said they designed the building to be a showpiece for masonry work and will be using brick and limestone for most of the structure. The 10-year-old company, based in Everett, leased a branch office in Bellingham in May 2004.
R&D is working on several local projects, including Harris Square in Fairhaven and the Morse Square buildings on State Street.
New owner at coffee company
Rob Camandona of Bellingham has purchased Toad Mountain Coffee Co. from Mike and Chris Ashby and will keep the two Bellingham locations open, but will close the Ferndale location. Camandona has been a barista at Toad Mountain’s Dupont Street location since it opened in 2003. He had been working there while completing his college degree when he approached his employers about purchasing the company.
“I’ve always felt invested in the business’ success. It’s a neighborhood gathering place and an exceptional coffee experience — and now it’s also a full-time job,” said Camandona, who previously worked as a marketing manager for Holland America Cruise Line.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but it does include the three locations and the coffee roasting and on-line coffee sales business. Camandona said he decided to close the Ferndale location so he could focus his efforts on the Bellingham locations.
Distribution center to expand
Due to an increase in customers, Art in Motion will move into larger facilities this summer.
Currently located in a 27,000-square-foot warehouse in Ferndale’s COPAC Industrial Park , the business, a distribution center for the Coquitlam, British Columbia-based fine art publishing company Art in Motion, hopes to be into a new warehouse by mid-July.
The new warehouse, currently under construction, will be 48,000 square feet in size and located across from Art in Motion’s present site at 6925 Salashan Parkway, said distribution center supervisor Ernest Bortfeld.
Art in Motion, which has been in the industrial park since last February, may retain its current warehouse. Bortfeld said the distribution center just added three new employees to its six-person staff. If business continues to grow, it may make additional hires this summer.
Magazine subscription company moves to Bellingham Towers
American Readers, a two-person company that performs outsource telemarketing and sells various magazine subscriptions and other publications, plans to move to the Bellingham Towers this month.
The move, said an American Readers administrator, is necessary because the company’s lease at 305 Flora St. expires next month. The company will move into an approximately 900- square-foot suite on the 12th floor of the Bellingham Towers. The relocation will allow David Evans and Associates Inc., a neighboring engineering firm, to expand into American Readers’ space of around 1,100 square feet.
A David Evans and Associates official said the company will likely begin occupying the new space in June and be able to add some new employees.
Northwest Computer wins Readers Choice award
Due to staff error, Northwest Computer was not mentioned for winning the “Best computer repair service” category in the February issue. The BBJ apologizes for the oversight, and congratulates the company for its win.
Giuseppe opening new eatery
Giuseppe Mauro, owner of Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, has found a new location for his restaurant. By mid-July, he plans on being open for business in the former Elks building on 1414 Cornwall Ave., next door to the Pickford Cinema. The restaurant will be the second floor of the three-story building, and Mauro said he plans on having similar interior design details that made his location at 1309 Commercial St. popular.
“We’ll also have some unique features that will make this a great place to go, including a fountain at the entrance and an open kitchen,” said Mauro, who plans on having the restaurant open for lunch and dinner.