Fairhaven gets a new Asian restaurant

   A & W Bistro, a new Asian restaurant in Fairhaven, is set to open in late July at 1138 Finnegan Way in the Fairhaven Gardens building.
   Randall Fong, the restaurant’s project manager, said the menu will feature a fusion of Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and Hong Kong-style food, and will also have a sushi bar.
   Co-owner Anita Mei and her family, who are from Seattle, have owned and operated Seattle-area restaurants for several years, Fong said.
   For more information, call (425) 455-2065.

A 100-year-old city business closes
   Cascade Laundry and Cleaners on Prospect Street is closing after over 100 years of business in Bellingham. The laundry service closed at the end of April and its office will close Friday.
   All of the company’s 18 employees have already found new jobs, co-owner Diana O’Hara said.
   O’Hara, whose family has owned the business located at 205 Prospect St. for 40 years, said the company has suffered financial problems during the last seven years.
   “If we would have had any other choice, we would have done it,” she said. “We have really appreciated all our customers and their faithful business.”
   The business first opened on Bellingham’s waterfront and relocated to its current location approximately 75 years ago, O’Hara said. The company laundered uniforms for Whatcom, Skagit and Island County restaurants, hotels and industrial businesses.
   The building, which the company owns, is also being sold, although O’Hara did not wish to disclose the buyer at this time. She did say, however, that the new owner would most likely renovate the building.

Espresso stand opens on Lakeway with grand-opening special
   Call it Cool Beans, part II.
   Cool Beans, a locally owned drive-thru espresso company just opened a second branch at 320 Lakeway Drive. Co-owner Kelli Hawkinson — who runs the company with her husband, Jeremy — said the Lakeway stand joins the original Cool Beans on Cornwall Avenue, which has been operating for the past seven years.
   She said the site, which they started developing late last year, was appealing because of the high traffic volume.
   “Accessibility and visibility was also good at this location,” she said.
   Hawkinson, 28, and her husband, 29, have been in Bellingham the past nine years after graduating from Western Washington University. Jeremy also owns Asher General Contacting in Bellingham.
   Kelli said her company roasts its coffee daily on-site and uses all-organic beans. As part of the grand opening, Hawkinson said the Lakeway branch would be offering $1 drinks for beverages up to 20 oz. (no blended drinks) over the next few days.

Nibiru coming to Fairhaven
   Nibiru, a new retail shop in Fairhaven selling an eclectic mix of travel and outdoor gear for people and their pets, as well as gardening supplies, will opened in Fairhaven’s Harris Square last month.
   The store, located at 960 Harris Ave. #101, will sell hiking and camping gear for dogs, including packs, harnesses, floatation devices, collars and portable dishes, Owner Paul Kuepfer said. The store will also sell healthy, natural pet food and toys.
   For people, the store will sell pet-centered gifts as well as outdoor gear and gardening items such as benches, tools, clothing and picnic supplies.
   Kuepfer and his partner, Joni Randell, moved the shop from Jacksonville, Ore., after operating it there for a year. They decided to move to Bellingham after Randell’s daughter, a college student in Olympia, said Bellingham was her favorite place in the Northwest.
   For more information call Kuepfer at 752-0801.

Downtown pub locks up for good
   Key Northwest Pub on Chestnut Street closed last month.
   Building owner Fred Schacht is looking for new tenants to occupy both the pub’s space at 207 E. Chestnut St. and the space next door, which used to be the Hand To Mouth Art Studios and Gallery that also recently closed.
   A new tenant could potentially rent both spaces and turn them into one, he said.
   “I’d like something that contributes to the revitalization effort downtown,” Schacht said.
   For more information call Schacht at 676-8406.

Upscale kitchen design shop to open in Fairhaven
   Is your kitchen suited to your lifestyle?
   If you don’t know, you may want to check with Marshall Dobry, who will be opening Kitchen Design Studio at the 12th Street Village in Fairhaven. Dobry, an architect who has been doing kitchen design work since 1975, moved from California to Bellingham in June 2004 with his wife. He is currently working out of his home near Everson.
   His new, 800-square-foot studio in Fairhaven is nearing completion, and he said he is excited to officially open the doors, which should be in late June or early July.
   “When I saw this building, I really felt like I wanted to be here,” Dobry said. He said he is seeking clients who are looking for high-quality results and design based on lifestyle, not just the bottom line.
   “It’s not about price, it’s about lifestyle,” he said. Dobry said he has done and is currently doing design projects all over the U.S.

Retail shop spreads its wings and says goodbye
   After two years, dragonfly fine gifts closed its Holly Street doors this month.
   Owner Marilyn Morrissey said she will sell her items, mostly hand-made gifts from local and third-world craftsmen online and through a catalogue. She will also sell her wares by request at craft shows and parties.
   Morrissey will continue working full time as a career and life coach and human-resources manager for Portionables, Inc., a local manufacturing company, she said.
   A few people have shown interest in the space, which is owned by the City of Bellingham and located at 126 W. Holly St. in the parkade building, said Joie LaBlond of Saratoga Commercial Real Estate. The city would like to lease the space to another retail shop, she said.
   For more information about dragonfly online, visit www.dragonflyladies.com. For more information on the space, call LaBlond at 676-4866.

Specialty shop pulls out of Fairhaven
   Get your clogs while you can.
   Northland Specialties, a Fairhaven shop specializing in all things Scandinavian, is closing June 21, according to owner Andrea Daniels. The store, at 1102 Harris Ave., first opened its doors in November of 2000. Both Daniels and her daughter/business partner, Karrin, are ready for a change, Andrea said.
   “It’s been very rewarding. I’m very pleased with how well-received the store has been,” she said. “It’s been fun working with the product because it’s close to my heart. I’m Norwegian.”
   The store carries a wide assortment of products from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, ranging from food to woven linens to Scandinavian books and CDs.
   “We’re a little more upscale than most Scandinavian stores because we don’t concentrate on the novelty things,” she said.
   Building owner Ken Imus said the new tenant – California resident Morna Rea of Sonora — is scheduled to move into the facility in July. Reached at her home, Rea said she hopes to move two shops into the location eventually that will share space: a gourmet candy store and a custom-design jewelry shop.
   “My son (a senior at the University of Washington) has been pushing me to move to Washington,” Rea said. “The shop space just dropped right out of the sky. It’s the most perfect location in all of Bellingham from what I’ve heard.”
   Rea, who has never been to Bellingham, said the candy shop will likely be her first business to open in July until she gets settled.
   In the meantime, Northern Specialties will have a sale that runs till its closing date.

Top chef to take over at Nimbus June 1
   A new chef at Nimbus may take over the business in addition to the menu when the deal becomes final June 1.
   Josh Silverman, once an assistant cook at Nimbus, took over the restaurant’s chef duties from Jim Kowalski recently and will purchase the business with his partner, James Winburg, from current owner Rick Hillyard in June, he said.
   Kowalski, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, no longer works at Nimbus, which is located on the 14th floor of the Bellingham Towers building at 119 N. Commercial St.
   Under Silverman, Nimbus’ menu will change every month, instead of every season, he said, but the menu’s genre will stay the same and will continue to revolve around fresh and organic produce.
   “Everything’s just going to get better,” Silverman said. The restaurant’s staff and interior design also will not change under Silverman’s ownership.
   Silverman, a graduate of Bellingham Technical College’s culinary program, spent the last two years after leaving Nimbus working at the W Seattle hotel’s Earth & Ocean restaurant as well as traveling in Spain.

New piercing shop opens on Prospect
   "If you can pinch it, we can peirce it."
   This is the unofficial mantr af thenewest piercing shop in town, Steel Expressions Studio, which had its opening April 5. The shop, at 6 Prospect Street (tucked neatly between Bay Street Coffee House and Paris Texas), is owned by Bellingham piercing-industry veteran Davis Campbell and Stanzi Harris.
   Campbell, a 28-year-old Bellingham resident, has been piercing for eight years in the city. He said his shop would be different from other tattoo/pierce shops in the area because Steel Expressions specializes in only piercing, and doesn’t offer tattoos.
   “So far, it’s been really good,” Campbell said of business. “The more shops there are in town, the less the prices get.” The shop is currently in the middle of an opening sale that will continue until May 15.
   Campbell started piercing to pay for college, and Harris, an 18-year-old Bellingham native, started doing it for fun. The two have known each other for about a year, and they both pride themselves on having a clean, organized shop. Campbell added that his business would be certified by the Association of Professional Piercers within the next two months.

One Fairhaven retail store moves out, another moves in
   LuLu 2, a women’s clothing store, will replace Bohemian Bliss, a retail shop, in Fairhaven this month.
   Kay Mott, owner of Bohemian Bliss, which sells clothing, gifts and jewelry, said she is moving to the Washington coast after running the store for more than two years. She will continue selling wholesale inventory through a Web site she plans to begin operating in October from her new home. That Web site’s address will be www.bohemianbliss.com.
   “I just need to keep on moving,” she said.
   Her store’s last day was May 5.
   Moving in is Diane Ferree’s second LuLu store, called LuLu 2. The original LuLu is located downtown at 124 W. Holly St. The new store will open at the 1208 11th St. location at the beginning of June.
   Ferree will sell clothing in the new shop similar to the contemporary lines she carries at her downtown shop, but the clothes will have different labels, designs and styles, she said.

Stuart’s at the Market opens
   Stuart’s Coffee House owners Maria Koplowitz-Fleming and Gary Fleming are happy to announce that Stuart’s at the Market is now open for business in the Public Market building at 1530 Cornwall Ave.
   The market location’s grand opening is scheduled for Friday, June 2.
   The new facility still has some finishing touches left to complete. It will be transforming over the next few weeks, adding comfy couches, easy chairs, area rugs, mood lighting, a performance stage and a kids’ play area. They’re also starting to book music events.
   Stuart’s at the Market will serve organic fair trade coffee and espresso from Tony’s Coffee, as well as tea, milkshakes, fresh desserts and pastries made by local suppliers, and a limited food menu.

Cornwall welcomes
   consignment store, bids farewell to rug shop
   The market for upscale used men’s clothing is healthy in Bellingham. That’s what Re-Threads owners Rian Greer and Becki Lawson are banking on.
   Re-Threads, a men’s consignment store, opened its doors May 10 at 1309 Cornwall Ave. They took over the shop space rented by Authentic Rug Gallery. That shop will move its business to 1904 Midway Lane, Ste. 201 in Bellingham.
   Greer, a Whatcom county resident since 1998, and Lawson – who owns Du Jour Bistro in Bellingham with her husband, Mike – feel the market is primed for what they are bringing in.
   “Downtown definitely needs more options for guys,” Greer said. “Looking around town there are a lot of women’s used clothing shops, and there is a lot of need for men.”
   Greer said his shop would carry higher-end inventory, such as suits, ties, watches, sweaters, slacks and jeans. Clothing will sell for roughly 20 percent to 25 percent of the cost of the new version of that product. Shop patrons who choose to sell their products at the store will take home 40 percent of the sales price and the shop will keep 60 percent, he said. By the time it opens its doors, Re-Threads hopes to have between 1,000 and 1,500 items ready.
   Meanwhile, Authentic Rug Gallery – which has called the Cornwall location home for the past six years – will be moving out of town. Owner Mohammad Malayeri said he is excited about the change because it will mean more reasonable prices for his customers due to reduced rent costs, as well as more parking for his customers.
   He also said it will be a warehouse, as opposed to a walk-in shop, meaning customers will have to call ahead for an appointment.
   “They can call us and tell us what they want,’ said Malayeri. “That way we spend more time with our customers.” All other services it currently provides will stay the same, he said.

Historic downtown buildings find a pair of new owners
   Daylight Properties owner Bob Hall said his company has closed a deal on Monday to purchase the Leopold Retirement Inn building on Cornwall Avenue for just over $4.6 million from Leopold LLC.
   The 92-unit, 100,000-square-foot building —currently used as a retirement home — is the 28th building purchased by Daylight in Washington state. In addition to Bellingham, the company also has properties in Spokane, Olympia and Chehalis.
   “Something like this property — downtown — doesn’t come up for sale very often,” said Hall. He said the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, will have three owners: Kane Hall, David Johnston and himself. The group will continue to lease the property to the Retirement Management Company, the company that oversees the retirement center, Hall said.

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