Owners: Jesse Kinsman and Marisa Papetti
Address: 1000 Harris Ave., #16 Phone: 676-7174
Startup date: Jan. 8
Square footage: 360
Initial investment: $5,000
After their initial shock, Jesse Kinsman and Marisa Papetti, former employees of The Bellingham Weekly, quickly put the bitter memories of the alternative newspaper’s rocky December closure behind them.
Within a month of the paper’s shutting down due to financial problems and infighting between its owners, Kinsman, the Weekly’s former art director, and Papetti, its sales director, decided to combine their skills and start their own multimedia marketing firm, Kinsman Creative.
“Even when we were working at the Weekly, we talked about how there’s a need in Bellingham for small- and medium-sized businesses to get exposure,” said Kinsman.
With the pair’s past experience in marketing, and numerous contacts they gained while at the Weekly, Papetti said it was only natural for her and Kinsman to merge their skills.
While Kinsman, 28, and Papetti, 30, are young entrepreneurs, both have extensive experience working with the media, technology and business owners.
Prior to joining the Weekly, Papetti, a Bellingham native, worked at the Mt. Baker Foothills Chamber of Commerce, Mount Baker Experience, True/False West Film Festival and Ski to Sea Festival; Kinsman, a 1999 Western Washington University graduate, returned to Bellingham after serving as marketing manager at the King County Journal.
While Kinsman Creative can aid businesses with most aspects of marketing — including designing company Web sites, logos, publications and business cards, planning events, and producing TV and radio advertisements, among other things — the company’s main initiative, Kinsman said, is to help customers identify their current marketing problems, and then address them.
“We want to be able to go to businesses, find out what their problems are and tell them how we can solve them,” Kinsman said.
Though there are numerous marketing firms in the area, Kinsman said his company, which has already done work for Alcoa Intalco, Factoria Mall and Alternative Energy, will cater to smaller businesses.
Unlike many marketing firms that charge customers hourly rates, Kinsman Creative, he said, helps companies assess what marketing tools they need and then offers different packages with varying prices. And if there’s a service or special function that the firm doesn’t provide, it can contract work out to its stable of more than 200 other professionals it works with to contract work out to.
“We’re here to help people get more business and be successful,” Kinsman said.
— J.J. Jensen
Owners: Bruce and Lisa Tipton
Address: 1750 Moore St.
Startup date: Feb. 17
Square footage: 14,500
Initial investment: $400,000
Growing up in sunny southern California, Bruce Tipton always had the chance to play baseball year-round.
When he moved to Bellingham in 1990 with his wife, Lisa, one of the first things he noticed, however, was that there wasn’t a facility for local baseball players to hone their skills during the region’s dark, rainy off-season.
This winter, he decided to do something about it.
Tipton, 40, a sales rep at Allsop who played baseball in high school, has coached local youth teams, formed an adult league, and still takes his hacks in an adult softball league, opened an Extra Innings franchise in Haskell Business Park, featuring an array of baseball-training equipment and services.
“If kids had an opportunity to play year-round, they would,” he said.
While Bellingham has had other batting cages in the past, Tipton said his facility, believed to be the largest north of Snohomish County, is more comprehensive.
Among other things, the Bellingham Extra Innings location features:
• Four coin-operated baseball/softball pitching machines, with speeds from 40 mph to 85 mph.
• Five multi-purpose training tunnels, with hand-fed pitching machines, for individual or team use.
• A private training room for members.
• A pro shop, with a wide range of baseball and softball equipment.
• An arcade room for birthday parties and team events.
While many players will likely utilize the facility to take cuts in the batting cages, Tipton said he wants the business to be known for other things, too.
“We’re trying to be the community’s baseball hub,” he said. “There are baseball leagues all over Whatcom and Skagit counties, but there isn’t a central location to go for information.”
At the location, an information board helps players learn about leagues, sign up for clinics and even offer their playing services to recreational teams in need of some help.
Extra Innings also employs the services of nearly a dozen of the community’s most notable baseball figures, including Sehome High coach Gary Hatch and former Bellingham Bells managers Brandon Newell and Sean Linville, who serve as advisory staff members and also lead clinics.
While the facility may ultimately lead to more baseball prospects coming out of the area because they’ll have a place to train year-round, Tipton, whose two sons Carter, 12, and Cameron, 8, are active in sports, is most pleased with being able to provide another positive place for kids to go.
“The best part is watching the excitement on kids’ faces when they do something right, and being able to give them a good, safe environment,” he said.
— J.J. Jensen
Owner: Chuck Marston
Address: 1200 10th St., Suite 103
Startup date: March 17
Square footage: 900
Initial investment: $20,000
For the latest information on many current events and trends, Chuck Marston is a guy to go to.
After all, as owner of Southside News, he has daily access to nearly 1,500 magazines and newspapers.
“I feel pretty up to date, and I’m pretty good at answering trivia questions, because I’m always reading a little bit of everything,” he said.
While Marston, 31, is expanding his knowledge at his new store, he also wants to provide information to the masses.
First, he’ll start with the people of Fairhaven and the Southside.
After working downtown at The Newsstand for the last five years, Marston said he wanted to try peddling periodicals on his own.
He selected Fairhaven, he said, in part because it didn’t have any businesses similar to his.
“I’m just trying to bring a good, broad selection of magazines to cater to nearly every niche, and cover a wide range of topics, including sports, politics, music, home and garden, travel and fashion."
Currently, said Marston, two periodicals he’s been enjoying are Wax Poetics, a bi-monthly journal focused on all aspects of hip-hop production, record collecting and musical history, and FOUND magazine, which contains copies of things people have found on the street, such as love letters, to-do lists, random messages and pictures.
Marston, who’s lived in Bellingham since 1999, and whose wife, Emily, owns Film is Truth 24 Times A Second, said he sought a Fairhaven location because it’s the part of town he’s most comfortable in.
Marston said Fairhaven’s brick, Victorian-era buildings, camaraderie among business owners and hint of a “hippy vibe” remind him of his hometown of Port Townsend.
“Fairhaven has a strong sense of community,” he said.
In addition to selling periodicals, Marston said, he also wanted to carry some other items that would set him apart from other stores. Also available at Southside News are about 15 lines of exotic chocolates, like Cacao, Green & Black’s and Bonnat; high-end writing instruments such as Cross, Waterman and Parker pens; and hand-bound books and papers from his sister’s Watermark Bindery in Port Townsend.
While fine chocolates may seem to be an odd item to find at a newsstand, Marston said deciding to include them at the store was not a whimsical decision.
“Newsstands in the past have been known to sell tobacco products,” he said. “I wanted to provide something that was equally addictive.”
— J.J. Jensen