Bellingham Bells under new ownership

The Bellingham Business Journal

The Bellingham Bells Baseball Club has a new owner: Bellevue businessman Eddie Poplawski. He recently purchased the franchise from Brett Sports & Entertainment, which bought the team in January 2008.

“I want to thank Bobby Brett and the previous ownership group, as well as the City of Bellingham, for all of their help in making this sale come together,” Poplawski said in a press release. “Owning a baseball team is something I’ve always dreamt about, but everything had to be just right for me to take on a project of this magnitude. The Bellingham Bells have everything I was looking for.”

Poplawski is the former president/CEO/chairman of Anderson Chamberlin, Costco’s in-house manufacturer’s rep firm, and the co-founder of Poplawski also serves on the board of two nonprofit organizations and three privately held companies.

In addition to having family ties in Bellingham, Poplawski already has a handful of business relationships in the area through his involvement with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

“I love the game of baseball and I love the platform that it provides coaches and front office personnel, especially at this level, to positively impact the lives of young players both on and off the field,” Poplawski said. “Bellingham is a special community that has all the right ingredients to make the Bells one of the premier summer, wood bat franchises in the country. I’m truly excited about the future of this organization.”

Members of the former ownership group, including Bobby Brett and Andy Billig, will serve as advisors to Poplawski during the transition. Justin Stottlemyre, who served as the general manager of the Bells under Brett Sports ownership, will also stay on board until the new management team is in place.

“Eddie has a lot of enthusiasm and energy that he is going to bring to Bellingham,” former owner Bobby Brett said in a press release. “He reminds me a lot of myself when I bought my first team in Spokane 25 years ago. After having a number of conversations with Eddie, I know he’s going to be able to give the Bells the local ownership it needs in order to reach that next level.”

With the sale of the franchise, Poplawski becomes the fourth owner of the team since its formation in 1999. The team will start its 13th season within the nine-team West Coast League in June 2011.

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