Grand reopening on Grand Avenue

   The Grand Avenue Ale House will reopen its doors to customers this weekend.
The longtime establishment has been closed for remodeling since early September.
According to bar manager Laura Nelson, the building was almost completely redone, including the bar and kitchen. New mahogany flooring was put into the kitchen and bar, while the fir floor, which dates back some 70 years, was redone throughout the rest of the building.
   The bar also now has granite countertops, Nelson added.
   Nelson said the 1,600-square-foot restaurant is “definitely not a hole-in-the-wall tavern anymore.”
   The new atmosphere has brightly painted walls and warm wood tones, she said.
There are also additions to the dinner menu, which will now have ahi tuna, teriyaki chicken and black pepper steak, in addition to the establishment’s traditional pub fare, said Nelson.
   Talks are in the works for a possible grand reopening celebration for the restaurant, located at 113 Grand Avenue.

Homax acquires Stone Care’s stock
   Ross Clawson, president of Homax Holdings, Inc., a leading supplier of do-it-yourself and contractor products, has announced that the company has acquired the stock of Stone Care International.
   Stone Care International, based in Baltimore, Md., is a manufacturer and marketer of premium countertop and floor-care products, sold in more than 3,000 retail outlets.
Homax Holdings Inc., which is owned by Connecticut-based Olympus Partners, employs more than 75 people in Bellingham, including Clawson.
   Clawson said the acquisition will enhance the company’s growth strategy.
   “The acquisition of Stone Care International will enable us to further expand in the flooring and countertop-care markets with another top-selling nationally recognized brand, as well as enhance our reach into tile- and stone-specialty retailers,” Clawson said.

Book store to stay open after all
   The Book Warehouse, in Custer’s Birch Bay Square, will be staying open after all.
The business, which has five employees and more than 50,000 books, had planned to close last month, but was able to reach a new lease agreement in the retail center.
Because of work on the center’s new grocery store, Scott’s MarketFresh, however, The Book Warehouse has relocated to Suite 13 from Suite 18. Its first day in the new location was Oct. 29.

Trillium buys Boss Tweed site, condos may be in the works
   Trillium Corp. has purchased property on the corner of West Holly and West Champion streets, the current location of Boss Tweed restaurant.
   “We’re excited to be investing in downtown Bellingham again,” said Trillium’s Vice President of Real Estate, Wayne Schwandt, in a press release this month. “This is an outstanding piece of property, and it will play a key role in connecting the waterfront to other downtown districts.”
   Boss Tweed owner John Sands, the previous owner of the property, said that he has signed a lease with Trillium for the property, and will continue to operate his restaurant. Trillium purchased the property for $1,469,453; the sale was recorded on Oct. 31. The restaurant has 3,812 square feet and was built in 1966; the accompanying parking lot has 9,832 square feet.
   Trillium is developing a general plan for the entire parcel which could include the construction of condominiums.
   Former Downtown Renaissance Network Executive Director Mauri Ingram, now Trillium’s project manager for the site, said, “Six years ago, when the Downtown Renaissance Network was formed, we routinely had inquiries from people looking for condominiums downtown, but there simply were none. The investment in residential development is exciting.”
   “We look at the big picture when we’re planning a project. Whatever we do in the future, it will support all the work that has been done by the community, business and property owners, and the city,” she said.

Schnitzelz coming to Bellis Fair mall’s food court
   A new eatery is coming to Bellis Fair.
   An official with Nooksack Valley Construction this month said tenant improvements are currently underway in the mall’s food court for a new restaurant, Schnitzelz. The spokesman said the work should be completed in about a month and the restaurant will likely open soon after.
   Schnitzelz, according to the company’s Web site, is based in Vancouver, B.C., and has 35 locations. The first location was opened 40 years ago in White Rock, B.C., by Jack Niemann, and called Black Forest Steak and Schnitzel House.

Walker’s Healthy Pet on the move
   Walker’s Healthy Pet, an all-natural pet store, has announced it plans to relocate to Barkley Village in early December.
   Walker’s, currently located at 2925 Newmarket Pl. #108, will be moving to 3110 Woburn St. The pet store, which also has locations in Smokey Point and Mount Vernon, has been open in Bellingham for six years.
   Company president Scott Price said more room was required to meet customers’ needs.
   The new space, which can be seen from the current store, will feature new racking, check-out counters and concrete flooring.

Road to Bali now goes through State Street
   As a world traveler, Bellingham’s Stephanie Machlin has developed a fondness for the people and goods of Southeast Asia.
   In opening her retail store last week, Gallery of Village Arts, at 840 N. State St., she hopes to showcase the textiles and crafts from that region.
   “Establishing the Gallery of Village Arts is really the culmination of a 10-year relationship with villages in Bali,” said Machlin, who also teaches English as a second language at Skagit Valley College.
   Machlin’s shop will feature hand-embroidered, woven or batiked textiles from Laos, wooden toys from Thailand, small sculptures from Bali, and leather journals and wall hangings from India, all bought directly from the people there who made them.
   In the past, she’s sold similar items at local fairs, such as the Northwest Folklife Festival, Bumbershoot and Ski to Sea.
   “The people there try to enhance all of life with something beautiful,” Machlin said. “For example, you don’t just have a tablecloth, you have a unique piece of art.”
Machlin, who’s gotten to know many youngsters in the countries she travels to, will donate about 3 percent to 5 percent of her sales to help children in Southeast Asian countries.
   Machlin and several other buyers will continually be “globe trekking” to stock the store with unique items.

All-American eatery Deli to open in Fairhaven
   All American Deli & Ice Cream & Espresso will open this month in Fairhaven.
   The new restaurant, owned and operated by Robert and Kate Jones of Lynden, is located at the corner of Old Fairhaven Parkway and 12th Street in the new 12th Street Village.
   All American Deli will offer a Pacific Northwest menu with deli-style, toasted and panini sandwiches, a variety of fresh salads and soup. Also available on the menu are 28 flavors of premium ice cream, frozen yogurt, muffins, scones and cookies. Organic coffee will be used for a full line of espresso products.
   The new venture will have a drive-up window and the restaurant’s Web site will have a catering menu with their regular menu items, plus frozen yogurt pies and trays of meat, cheese, vegetables and fruit.
   All American Deli is also launching a reading program in cooperation with local schools and home-school parents. Students who read five books that are verified by their teacher can submit a form for a free scoop of ice cream or a small frozen yogurt. Details are available on the store’s Web site,
Whoa, Canada: B.C. businesses benefit with U.S. addresses
   The Province newspaper, of Vancouver, B.C., had an article last month detailing the number of B.C. firms opening branches in Whatcom County in recent years.
   The benefits of Canadian companies having a Whatcom address, the story reported, can include: the increased marketing power of a “Made-in-U.S.A.” label, having a labor-cost advantage of an economy that is less unionized than B.C.’s, easy access to Seattle, and less hassle with rising shipping costs and heightened border scrutiny.
   Canadian firms with Whatcom operations cited in the article included: Nature’s Path Foods, Canfor Corp., Interfor, Teal-Jones Group, Sawarne Lumber, Sauder Moldings and International Market Access.
   Rob Pochert, executive director of the Bellingham/Whatcom Economic Development Council, was quoted in the story as saying 98 percent of the queries he gets about expanding into Whatcom County are from Canadian outfits.
   The article also reported that Nature’s Path will likely add another 20,000 square feet to its Blaine plant next year and is considering opening a Chicago location, which would serve as a third-party distribution and logistic center.

Port approves new lease for ACB
   Port of Bellingham commissioners were busy at their Nov. 1 meeting, with several significant real estate decisions to discuss.
   At the meeting, commissioners approved:
   • The transfer of the lease of the Web Locker Restauraunt, from Web Locker Restaurant Inc. to Captain’s Locker Inc., led by James Altman, owner of Dos Padres.
   • A new lease for a new tenant, Western Airways, Inc., which provides helicopter services. The new space will have approximately 2,400 square feet of office space with adjoining T-hangars located at 4131 Mitchell Way.
   • A new two-year lease with Aluminum Chambered Boats in Fairhaven.
   • Authorizing the executive director to terminate a lease with Wachovia Securities LLC and enter into a new lease with First American Title Insurance Company, Inc.    Port officials said Wachovia will likely move to the Paulsen Building, which would enable First American to move into the Bellwether Building. First American could be into the building by Feb. 1, and would move from their current downtown location across the street from the library.

Local mortgage company branches out
   Neighborhood Mortgage, which has headquarters in Bellingham, opened a Lynden branch on Oct. 10 in Bender Plaza.
   Dan Harrell of Lynden is owner and manager of the branch at 8874 Bender Road, Suite 106. He and Lynden resident Tammy Yoder will be loan officers at the office.
    Neighborhood Mortgage offers a variety of real estate loans for customers at every level of credit-worthiness. Additonally, the Lynden branch will serve commercial clients seeking to purchase or refinance their business or investment property.

Antique shoppes history on Holly
   Uncertain about what will eventually become of the building at 306 W. Holly St., the location’s tenants, Affordable Furnishings and BarleyTwist Antiques, have decided to relocate.
   BarleyTwist, which had been in the location since March, is reopening at 1139 11th St., said shopkeeper Alfie Farrand.
   Affordable Furnishings had been in the Holly location for more than a year. Co-owner Tonya Lester said her business partner, Brenda Campeau, is attempting to purchase a building on Front Street in Lynden. If all goes well, they could be opening a new antique and consignment shop, Twice As Nice, next month.
   Hal Arnason, Jr., whose family has owned the building for decades, said his family, at times, has considered selling the building but there’s currently nothing major to report.

Performing arts group taps into Bellingham
   Northwest Ballet Theatre, a non-profit performing arts organization in Anacortes, has acquired Bellingham’s Pacific Dance Company, located at 1415 Cornwall Ave.
   The new ownership is led by director John Bishop, a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre of New York; ballet master Jeff Stover, who’s performed in the Russian School of Ballet; and guest instructor Evgeny Lushkin, who’s performed with the St. Petersubrg Ballet.
   In addition to ballet, the school’s dance curriculum will include modern, jazz and hip hop.
   For more information on Northwest Ballet Theatre, contact 714-1246.

Private investigator launches company
   Joan Carpenter, a private investigator focusing on background profiles of prospective employees and business partners, recently launched Carpenter Investigations.
   The Lynden-based Carpenter, licensed by the state of Washington, has several years of experience conducting domestic and international background investigations for the gaming industry. Her clients have included casinos in Las Vegas and California.
   Carpenter, in a news release, said most of her clients seek pre-employment profiles or due-diligence/corporate background investigations. Both can include searches of criminal and civil courts for arrests, bankruptcies, liens and judgments, credit checks, verification of employment and education histories, and interviews for character references.
   For more information, contact Carpenter at 306-5421.

New business to lift off at former Cinco site
   A lifelong love of hobbies has spurred Glenn Serl, 45, to open a HobbyTown USA franchise at 4151 Meridian St. #106, in the former Cinco de Mayo location.
   Serl, who’s worked as a network administrator for about 20 years, began researching HobbyTown franchises several months ago, when he lived in Tennessee.
   “I wanted to get out of being a network manager and I’ve been interested in hobbies all my life,” said Serl. “My favorite, by far, is model rocketry.”
   In addition to model rockets, HobbyTown will also carry other models, remote-control cars, boats and planes, model trains, science kits and educational toys, among other things.

Plans for a massive day spa likely off
   Plans for a large day spa in the north end are apparently off.
   Colleen R. Mitchell and David Tuttle last month sold their recently completed, two-story, 13,100-square-foot building at 4540 Cordata Parkway to Michael and Signa McCormack, of Santa Barbara, Calif.
   Last year, Mitchell told The Bellingham Business Journal she envisioned the building’s housing a wide range of spa services, including a women’s exercise area, and massage, facial and pedicure rooms.
   Coldwell Banker Miller-Arnason’s Dan Sygitowicz, the leasing agent for the building, said the new owners, who paid $2.4 million for the structure and its 2.17 acres, will likely be seeking tenants in the medical and professional fields. The number of tenants the building can accommodate will depend on the tenants’ functions and needs, Sygitowicz said.

Publication to keep tabs on east county
   Local journalists Rebecca Schwarz and Brent Cole last month launched the Foothills Gazette, a biweekly community newspaper serving eastern Whatcom County and northeastern Skagit County.
   In addition to the Foothills Gazette, Schwarz and Cole, who have more than 15 years of combined publishing experience, are also working on publishing several mountain-culture and history books for the North Cascades and Western Washington region.
   Schwarz most recently served as news director for the the Bellingham Weekly and as an editor for the Whatcom Independent and The Northern Light. Cole, a freelance writer and editor, also serves as owner and editor of What’s Up!, a monthly magazine tracking the local music scene.

Graphics business expands into Web work
Chad Andrews Graphics, a Bellingham-based graphic-design business, has launched a Web site at
   The site marks the expansion of the company’s local design service, and includes a comprehensive portfolio of their work. The design business has been operating out of Bellingham since 2000, when its owner, Chad Andrews, graduated from Western Washington University.
   Andrews has continued his education since that time, attending the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, and specializes in creating corporate identities, a variety of complementary logos used for different purposes.

New Irongate storage units set for sale
   Units large enough to contain boats, cars and motorhomes are nearly ready for occupancy at Extreme Storage in Bellingham’s Irongate area.
   The 28 units in the first two buildings will be completed by the end of this year, according to owner Rick McCauley of McCauley Properties, Inc. Construction of a third building with 14 more units will start in 2006, he said.
   The units, located at 1906 Midway Lane, are being sold rather than rented and start at $95,000. Twenty had been reserved through September.
   “Like a condominium, owners can rent their units for a market rate above what their loan payments would be,” McCauley said.
   The insulated storage units, all 20 feet wide, come in lengths of 50, 54 and 60 feet. Extreme Storage also offers an RV dump station and a wash bay, enabling owners to clean their recreational vehicles before storing them. Other features include a utility sink with running water in each unit, security gates, video surveillance and high-speed Internet access. Unit owners have the option of installing a bathroom and hooking up to hot water.
   Bellingham is the first site for Extreme Storage, which will start building facilities in Anacortes and Chelan in 2006.

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