Owner: Caryn Poole
Address: 1303 Astor St. Suite 102
Phone number: 306-5317
Startup date: Sept. 4
Square footage: 1,300
If you haven’t heard of the Kaur Lounge, that’s because they haven’t done any advertising yet.
“With our industry, it’s a lot of word- of-mouth,” said owner Caryn Poole. “People ask, ‘Where do you get your hair done?’”
Tucked into a quiet corner building in Old Town, the Kaur Lounge (pronounced “core”) is a haven for hair and beauty, a “hidden gem,” said Poole.
Kaur is a traditional middle name given to Punjabi women and means “princess.” Poole decided to use the name as a way to represent the women in her family.
After 15 years of working in the industry, Poole decided that she wanted to have things her way and create her own environment. She said she is happy with the location in the School of Industries building on the corner of Astor and I streets. The site offers high ceilings, original wood floors and is elevated slightly above the street, offering customers an escape from the eyes of passersby.
“Our clients like not being on display for people walking by.”
What really sets the Kaur Lounge apart from other salons, Poole said, is the distinct line of beauty products they use called Davines. Imported from Italy, these all-natural and vegan products come in food-grade plastic containers, meaning they can be easily washed and reused rather than tossed in the garbage.
“One of my best friends in Vancouver [B.C.] uses them and loves them,” Poole said.
Last month, Kaur Lounge donated samples of their products to Garys’ Fashion Show, an annual benefit for Women Helping Others, a local non-profit organization.
Asked what she wants her business to become, Poole said: “I’d like it to be recognized as one of the best salons in Bellingham. And I’d like it to be busy.”
Kaur Lounge has eight employees and offers a full list of salon services, from haircuts to massage therapy to waxing. Poole said she recently hired an esthetician and will soon offer facials as well.
Owner: David Egli
Address: 1021 N. State St.
Phone number: 527-2347
Startup date: Aug. 13
Square footage: 3,000
Waiting for new furniture to be delivered can be a hassle, especially if it means sitting on the living room floor for several weeks.
“You can buy a house and close escrow faster than you can buy a sofa,” said owner David Egli. “I’ve got a quick turnaround, though. Most of what you see, I can deliver within a week.”
Egli is able to offer such quick delivery by keeping most items in stock in his warehouse below the store. He also works with warehouses in Seattle and Tacoma, whereas most larger stores work with national distributors that have warehouses scattered across the country.
Every piece in Furniture Now! was picked by Egli to match a specific look.
“I picked looks that are super popular nationwide and made popular by huge companies that are very successful,” Egli said.
He studied Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and Restoration Hardware catalogs for their most popular designs and tailored his shop after those looks.
Egli and his wife moved to Bellingham two years ago to escape the Los Angeles life. At the time, he was a partner in a custom furniture store in Pasadena where he designed every piece on the sales floor. Rather than opening a similar store here in Bellingham, Egli decided to shift business strategies for his new venture.
“I decided I wanted to tailor the store more from the customer in, rather than from me out,” Egli said. “So I thought, ‘What does the average customer want and let me give them that.’ However that works out for me, I’ll accept it — rather than come up and say ‘I like to do custom furniture and that’s what I’m going to do and I hope people like it.’ That’s a little arrogant.”
It seems Egli has found what the average Bellingham customer wants. He reports that business is better than he expected and customers are already coming in with referrals from friends and family.
Egli said he hopes to expand the showroom someday and offer more styles. But in the meantime, he’s happy with his new business, and more importantly, happy with his new Northwest lifestyle.
“Businesses come and go, but you’ve got one life.”
Owner: Jeff Down
Address: 113 E. Magnolia St.
Phone number: 734-0817
Web site: www.bistrozazou.com
Startup date: Oct. 4
Square footage: 2,700
Chef Jeff Down began studying French language and culture more than 20 years ago in order to make his job easier.
“It’s frustrating when you can’t pronounce something you just made,” Down said, referring to his early experiments with French dishes.
Now his menu has enough tongue twisters and accents to make a francophone out of anyone: duck confit, gougères, tagine de sept legumes. Down’s favorite? “Pommes frites — french fries. We use organic potatoes and make them from scratch.”
After cooking for a wide variety of food service establishments all over the world, even as far away as Antarctica, Down, who grew up near San Francisco, chose Bellingham as his home town because he said he likes the interconnectedness of the community.
“It’s a wonderful thing to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than your own little business,” Down said as he waved to a fellow downtown business owner walking past the large front windows that flood his restaurant with natural light. “It’s like an old village model: I recognize all of my vendors by face.”
Those large, storefront windows used to adorn Chiribins, a bar that closed earlier this year. For those that wish to reminisce about the old music venue and late night hotspot, the place hasn’t changed dramatically. The bar still remains and is lighted with bluish purple glass lamps. The bright red brick walls are now highlighted with black and white photographs of France. And the location is still a great spot to hang out at night.
The restaurant currently opens at 5 p.m., though Down said he has plans to open earlier for lunch once he is comfortable with the dinner operations and can arrange for more supplies to be delivered daily.
“I’d eventually like to be open all day,” Down said. “Traditionally, bistros are always open. You never have to question if it’s open during normal daylight hours.”