Eden’s Coffee Garden
Owners: Monique and Brian Stacy
Address: 11 Bellwether Way, Suite 101
Phone number: 738-7789
Startup date: Aug 28
Square footage: 2,000
Espresso and dessert lovers beware — a new temptation has recently opened in the form of Eden’s Coffee Garden across from the Hotel Bellwether.
The apples of this coffee shop’s eyes are fresh pies from the Lynden Dutch Bakery and espresso drinks made manually from an old-fashioned, wood-paneled espresso machine.
Monique and Brian Stacy eyed the space from one of their other businesses, AJ Kids, located across the way in the Paulsen Building, after The Elbow Room closed there this summer. Despite owning several other businesses between the two of them, including a wholesale shea butter soap business, a brokerage and a warehouse in Blaine, and a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting young adults into drug treatment programs, the couple decided to further diversify their business portfolio.
“We’re entrepreneurs,” Monique explained. “We enjoy it.”
Not only did they think the Bellwether Peninsula could use a good coffee shop, they wanted to stay away from the restaurant concept that didn’t seem to work for the space’s high turnover of previous tenants. They also didn’t want to compete with the other restaurants in the area, Monique said. In addition to espresso, the coffee shop offers desserts, soups and sandwiches.
Since opening at the end of August, the two have consolidated their business focus to just the coffee shop, the kids’ store, the nonprofit and the shea butter soap business. They have created a space conducive to hanging out, reading the paper and playing board games.
Monique designed the interior — black-and-white striped walls, a bronze-painted ceiling and plush chairs and couches flanking a fireplace. Slick red lampshades punctuate the elegant space and a large glass case encloses decadent-looking dessert bars, pies and cookies.
Recently, the pop group The Nylons hung out at the coffee shop and signed its wall, a tradition Monique hopes to continue as celebs from the Hotel Bellwether get their caffeine fix in her shop.
For Monique, the biggest challenge so far has been the physical toll working in food service has taken on her body. For the first couple of weeks, she said she couldn’t believe how much her feet ached, but she has finally adjusted to the job’s physicality.
“It was one of those things where I’d get home and my body ached where I didn’t even know I had muscles,” she said.
Monique is working hard so her customers can simply relax and indulge. It’s not a hard task at a place where the biggest sin committed can only come from a cookie.
Owners: Jason Lee and Scott Friesen
Phone number: 965-3547
Startup date: Aug. 15
Jason Lee and Scott Friesen are hoping their new company’s name, FLIR, has the Google effect.
A whimsical, memorable and unique word, with no real meaning other than that it includes the first two initials of their first names — the branding and graphic design duo is hoping FLIR becomes a household name in Whatcom County as the area grows.
Having worked together at design house Baron and Co., they realized that Lee’s account management and strategizing strengths perfectly complemented Friesen’s graphic design sensibilities. Lee described their rapport as the “sweet spot” where two entwined circles interconnect.
“It’s rare where you click the right way together,” he said. “And ultimately, that benefits the client.”
FLIR focuses on brand development for businesses and organizations that are starting up or need to redefine their image. The two do this by asking the company hard questions about who they are and what their unique qualities
“We’re straight shooters,” Lee said about their approach.
From there, they sculpt a brand for the company that includes a logo, marketing materials, Web presence and press releases.
For the moment, FLIR is a bit of a nomad. Lee and Friesen are using a business model flexible enough that they don’t need a permanent office. Instead, for jobs that require a lot of time and involvement, they use space from the company they contract with.
“At some point we will have an office, but (having an office) is not necessary in today’s day and age to give good service to a client,” he said. “We are really embracing the Internet.”
Part of FLIR’s Web presence includes a blog where Lee and Friesen comment on local marketing and branding efforts, such as the new Fiamma Burger restaurant or the city’s new Holly Street pedestrian crossings. They want the blog, which is linked to their Web site, to be interactive and create a dialogue with people in the community about design topics, Lee said.
Being their first proprietorship, other than freelance work, simply deciding to make the leap from an established PR firm to running their own show has been a challenge, Lee said.
Wearing so many hats in the new business has also been a test, Freisen added.
But the two feel like they have a rare insight that most new business owners lack from having worked with so many startup businesses as part of their previous jobs.
“We have seen our business’s growing pains in the startup phase,” Lee said. “I think we’ve built up some street smarts.”
Evergreen Team Concepts
Owners: Henry Beeland and Vern Platt
Address: 3600 Meridian St., Suite 100
Phone number: 647-6922
Startup date: June 1
Square footage: 6,000
Henry Beeland has a passion for effective training.
Having worked in management positions in the grocery, manufacturing, distribution and construction industries for 15 years, he gathered a collection of training dos and don’ts that propelled him into his current endeavor.
First and foremost, it bothered him that not every company had access to quality seminars and trainings. Colossal companies like Microsoft and Boeing could afford to send groups of workers to topnotch speakers and training events while smaller companies were left in the dust.
At his new business, Evergreen Team Concepts, located on Meridian Street, Beeland focuses on narrowing the training gap by offering high-quality seminars and training events, as well as certification courses, at a reduced fee for local businesses by partnering with Kansas City–based Rockhurst University, which operates the National Seminars Training program.
Upcoming trainings and seminars at Evergreen include “Mastering the Essentials of Microsoft Excel 2007,” “Communication with Tact and Skill,” “Secrets to Creating and Sustaining an Energized and Effective Workplace,” and “High Performance Sales Certification Program.”
Through a special program called Team Development Group, employers can track and measure the progress of their employees’ skills acquired through Evergreen functions with an online matrix, as well as have access to Evergreen consultants, a facilitator, and a discounted rate for seminars, training and certification programs. For a one-day seminar or training, Team Development Group Members pay about $99 to $149 a seat, depending on the topic and the trainer.
“Our primary focus is to provide businesses with those intangible things needed to develop stronger teams,” Beeland said.
So far, more than 30 local business and government agencies have attended Evergreen’s first three seminars since Sept. 1.
Beeland said it is important for business owners to realize the changing landscape of employee tenure. These days, the average job retention in the United States is two years, he said, and that kind of turnover is killing employers.
While past generations of workers were incentivized by security, contemporary employees want opportunity and growth. Quality training and education, like the kind offered at Evergreen, can play into that need and retain workers, Beeland said.
As for the company’s future, Beeland’s goal is to open 24 Evergreen Team Concept centers across the country by 2020.