Business Births

Blue Moon Ballroom

Owner: Molly

Address: 1213 Cornwall Ave.

Phone: 647-9778

Startup Date: March 1

Square Footage: 3,000 square feet

Molly and her dance partner/co-instructor Marcus Tasanasanta both received high honors during their certification from ballroom legend Ron Montez.

People learn to dance for many reasons.

Perhaps on your wedding day, you want the first dance to be an elegant presentation of your love set to music. Or maybe whenever the band strikes up, you wish you could grab your partner and thrash out a beautifully choreographed dance that would ignite the crowd into a dance frenzy.

Perhaps you just love to groove your body.

Whatever the situation, Blue Moon Ballroom has a class for you. Owner Molly and co-instructor Marcus Tasanasanta have all the tools to get wannabe dancers grooving like pros to rhythm dances such as the cha-cha, mambo and salsa or smooth dances like the waltz, tango or foxtrot — just to name a few.

“I don’t care if you think you have five left feet,” said Molly. “We’ll get you dancing.”

Molly and Tasanasanta have been ballroom dancing for only a few years themselves, but the pair have already become certified instructors and professional ballroom competitors.

“It’s so fun and everyone can do it,” Molly said. “Lots of people say, ‘Not me, I have two left feet.’ But then they actually try it and realize they actually like it.”

Tasanasanta said his father runs a dance studio in Seattle and made him try dancing for a year — and if he still didn’t like it after a year, he could quit.

“At first I hated it, but then I loved it,” Tasanasanta said. “I loved it so much I became an instructor.”

As Molly received her ballroom certification, she realized there were several dance studios in Seattle and Everett but not that many in Bellingham. So Molly decided to open her own studio.

“I’m rooted here,” Molly said. “Bellingham is my home.”

Molly and Tasanasanta see all different types of couples, and mostly the female is dragging her partner into the studio at first, but then the guys slowly come around. Molly also said men are in high demand in dance classes — plus it scores bonus points with the ladies.

“Some guys are like, ‘That’s not manly!’” Molly said. “But I wouldn’t dream of dating a guy that couldn’t dance.”

Molly said those interested should not let their couple status discourage them from giving Blue Moon a whirl.

“We sometimes have people who come alone and don’t know anyone,” Molly said.

The Blue Moon Ballroom is located on Cornwall Avenue between Holly and Chestnut streets, and Molly said she loves having the studio downtown because of the foot traffic and the proximity to local restaurants and cultural activities.

“There is a real artsy feel here,” she said.

Molly said dancing is something that, if you’re open to it, comes into your life and never leaves.

“Dancing is one of those lifelong addictions,” she said. “You either get bit by the bug or you don’t.”

VIP Chauffeur Service

Owners: Allan Linde

Phone: 224-3050

Startup Date: March 6

Allan Linde said his passengers get more than just a ride — they get a feeling of safety and security.

As the wheelchair rolled to a stop after getting off the plane, a flurry of questions stormed the woman’s mind. How am I going to get my bags? How will I get home? How will I get the bags into the house?

But as her apprehension built, she saw a man in tuxedo standing in front of sparkling van — waiting, with a big smile, to carry her bags and give her a safe ride home.

VIP Chauffeur Service, a luxury transportation company, provides a comfortable ride in a six-person van going anywhere their life might take them, whether it’s visiting a friend and seeing a movie or going to the airport or touring Whatcom County.

Owner Allan Linde said the majority of his clients are senior citizens who are handicapped or cannot drive but still need to get out of the house.

Linde said he heard from some of his elderly friends that they were uneasy about riding in taxis due to the gruff and sometimes unkempt appearance of some of the taxi drivers.

“[Taxi drivers] are their own bosses, so they often dress down while they drive people around,” Linde said.

So Linde dons a suit and tie or even a tuxedo to class up the trip.

“I try to look trustworthy and give them a feeling of comfort,” he said.

Linde is no stranger to ferrying people to and fro. He has worked for both a local limo company and a taxi company, which Linde said makes him uniquely qualified to operate this kind of business.

“It’s in between a limo and a taxi,” Linde said. “But I offer services that a limo and a taxi do not.”

Linde said VIP Chauffeur Service is a classy, full-service transportation alternative.

“I carry groceries or luggage all the way into the house, help them in and out of the van and make sure the person feels comfortable and safe,” he said.

Linde said he likes to brighten people’s day as he drives them to their destination. One of Linde’s favorite hobbies is to give out cards with fun sayings and compliments written on them to strangers and friends. With more than 50 different cards, Linde hands one to each of his passengers as a way to make them smile and break the ice.

“It brings a little fun and levity to the ride,” he said. “Plus it will help them to remember me.”

Linde said the most important thing is to make the passenger feel as comfortable and as safe as possible.

“I treat them like a king or queen,” Linde said.

Steven Moore Designs

Owners: Steven Moore

Address: 1200 Old Fairhaven Parkway, Suite 107

Phone: 739-0117

Startup Date: Feb. 22

Square Footage: 2,400 square feet

Steven Moore taught himself to sew at age 15 and made his first wedding dress just to prove he could.

When Steven Moore was 14 years old, he began playing piano at weddings. As he played, his mind would wander toward the event’s lackluster flowers or dull decorations.

“I could see the panic on people’s faces,” he said.

Something inside him knew he could do a better job. So one day, one lucky bride listened to his ideas and finally said, “You should just coordinate my whole wedding.”

Moore decided to take her up on her offer and began working steadily to hone his craft.

In 2005, he started Steven Moore Designs, a full-service event design company. And full service means full service. Moore is an experienced cake designer, florist, dressmaker, musician and event coordinator.

“No one else can do the broad spectrum of what I can do,” Moore said. “I am multiple vendors in one.”

The benefit, Moore said, of going through a single wedding designer, is that customers get the benefit of a fluid, consistent design that is a cohesive statement.

“An event can be so much more than just an event,” Moore said. “It can be a work of art.”

Moore’s jack-of-all-trades status evolved over several years. At 12, his mother, who is also a cake designer, helped him to bake his first wedding cake. At age 14, Moore was steadily playing piano at a local mall, which led to several wedding gigs. Then, at age 15, he taught himself how to sew and made his first wedding dress.

“No one thought I could (sew a wedding dress), so I had to prove them wrong,” he said.

Moore said the majority of his clients are planning weddings, but he can plan just about any event imaginable. In addition to his wedding designs, he has worked with the Mount Baker Theatre to plan some of their gala events.

In the beginning, Moore said he likes to get to know his client on a personal level and then lets that relationship shape his designs.

“Every event is so different, so you really have to get into their lives,” he said. “I end up becoming their friend, counselor and advisor and we stay in touch long after the wedding.”

One step inside Moore’s posh design space is a glimpse into an elegant and refined aesthetic. The space is superbly decorated with classic crystal chandeliers, exposed brick, mirrors, elegant antique furniture, topiaries and lots of open space.

Moore said his business has grown over the past few years and he needed a design space that reflected the current stage of his business.

“I offer a certain level of professionalism,” he said. “I needed a space that showcased that.”

Overall, Moore said, the most rewarding part of his work is seeing his client’s reaction when they see all the elements come together. Moore said he strives to work diligently so his clients can actually be a guest at their own event and truly enjoy what could be a stressful day.

“In the end, they won’t remember music or the texture of the table linens, but they will remember how they felt,” he said.

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