By Jesse Amorratanasuchad
Business: Bay to Baker Trading Company
Owner: Tina Schwindt
Opening date: May 23
Address: 911 Harris Ave.
Phone: (360) 756-6078
Square footage: 2000
The golden lettering on the windows of Bay to Baker Trading Company glisten in the morning sunlight as its rays touch the rustic wooden floor inside of the store. Tina Schwindt, the storeowner, stands at a steel rack hanging T-shirts and sweatshirts and smiles to greet customers walking into the spacious, red-bricked Fairhaven shop.
Schwindt is also co-owner of the Fairhaven Toy Garden, so the transition to running her own outdoor retail store was not difficult.
Before she opened Bay to Baker, Schwindt noticed a large number of people looking for T-shirts and souvenirs in the Fairhaven area, so she combined these products with others she felt the neighborhood was lacking, such as outdoor recreation accessories for kayaking, boating and sailing.
“I walked around Fairhaven numerous times, looking in all the stores and trying to see where the gaps were,” Schwindt said. “I noticed there weren’t many stores that men would want to come in and spend time looking around.”
T-shirts have been a popular item for Bay to Baker since they scrambled to open its doors for the 2009 Ski to Sea race on May 24 and the foot traffic from the event provided a good opening weekend for the company.
Schwindt said she has made a point of catering to the older adult customer base, which is indicative of the Fairhaven area.
“Ski to Sea was great,” Schwindt said. “A constant flow of people down the street in front of your business. What more can you say?”
Bay to Baker did very well its first weekend, although some of its key merchandise, including Bellingham and Fairhaven T-shirts, had not arrived at the store yet.
The store is located at the end of Harris Avenue in the former Mud In Your Eye Pottery location and is one of the first stores people encounter walking up from the ferry terminals. This makes the shop a particularly popular place on Fridays, when ferry traffic is at its highest, Schwindt said.
Schwindt has been in Bellingham since 1981 and said she has loved the Fairhaven area for its charm and scenery.
“In Fairhaven it just seems like a team effort with all the businesses here helping each other,” Schwindt said. “It helps our business for other businesses to be healthy, too.”