Johnson’s Flower Shop has new owners

Katie (K.C.) and Ken Ofshe are the new owners of Johnson’s Flower Shop at 121 W. Magnolia, in downtown Bellingham.
   K.C. has 50 years’ experience in the floral industry, beginning at the age of 4 helping her mother count roses. Her credits include contract design, weddings, special events, interior landscape design, and Christmas décor.
   Using this experience, she is expanding the shop’s corporate and wedding designs to include natural, contemporary and Zen. Also, the shop now offers Fiesta® Dinnerware, tropical flowers and plants, interior landscaping and special event and Christmas décor.
   The Ofshes also own a Dallas, Texas-based business, Bread ‘n’ Butter, an event décor company supplying plants and natural products ( now being managed by their son, Benjamin.
   Johnson’s Flower Shop hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Local construction company to move to Ferndale
   Emerald Builders is moving to Ferndale’s Pacific Industrial Park from its Ohio Street location, co-owner Bill Miers said.
   The company has been located in the Ohio Work Studios at 112 Ohio St. for nine years, and hopes to be fully moved into the new space, at 1355 Industrial Place, by May 2007.
   “We need more space and we looked around at various areas and thought the Pacific Industrial Park suited our needs best,” Miers said.
   Miers said he and co-owner Stan Starr like being located in Bellingham, but wanted to build their own space and could not find land prices appropriate for them to do so in Bellingham, he said.
   The owners formed another company last year, called Pacific Park Properties, which broke ground on the new building Aug. 31, Miers said. The building will feature 16 office warehouses for sale or lease. Each space will be 2,500 square feet. For more information call 671-2641.

County to welcome new Indian restaurant in mid-September
   Ferndale will welcome a new Indian restaurant to the scene when Curry House, at 2034 Main St., opens.
   The restaurant, which will serve a variety of Indian specialties — including curry and tandoori dishes as well as Indian desserts — should be open by mid-September, said co-owner Pam Kang.
   “We’re going to have everything,” said Kang, 40, who recently sold her Indian restaurant in the Bay Area in California after 12 years. “We’ve had a really good response from the people in the community.”
   Kang said she thinks the area is a good market for Indian restaurants, especially in northern Whatcom County.
   “We heard there are very few Indian restaurants,” she said. Kang said she is opening the business with her husband, Saab, 42. The two also hope to capture some of the customers who head to Canada for Indian cuisine, she said.

Mayor announces his resignation
   Bellingham Mayor Mark Asmundson announced his resignation Aug. 29, effective Nov. 1, 2006, according to a press release.
   In a letter to city employees, Asmundson said he would be starting his new position as manager of the Northwest Clean Air Agency, a regional organization that includes Whatcom, Island and Skagit counties.
   “While a career in public service has been of great satisfaction and joy, it had never been my intention to spend my entire adulthood in elective office,” he said in the letter. “I am pleased that I will continue in service to the citizens of our community, just in a different capacity.”
   Asmundson was first elected mayor in 1995 and is currently serving his third term.
   The vacancy created by Asmundson’s departure will be filled by a majority vote of the City Council. The council can fill the vacancy from among council members or any Bellingham citizen that meets the eligibility requirements of the city charter. Voters will then select a new mayor in the November 2007 general election.

Downtown jewelry center changes hands
   Pouncing Rain Jewelry and Metal Working Center is under new ownership.
   Kathleen Yorston, the new owner of the center — at 314 E. Holly St. in the Fine Arts Building — is a former student of the center. The center’s previous owner and founder, Judith Gauthier, will continue to teach and manage the school’s curriculum, according to a press release.
   Pouncing Rain has been operating since 2003 and offers classes in beginning and intermediate jewelry making and metalworking, as well as offering open studio memberships for local artists.
   With the change in ownership, the school will continue to offer the same classes and studio memberships, and will also begin offering more advanced metalworking classes, as well as workshops such as wire working, enameling and etching.
   The center will also begin selling retail jewelry-making tools, equipment and supplies. For more information visit

Building permit approved for issuance for Bay View Tower
   The City of Bellingham recently approved for issuance the building permit for Bay View Tower. Bay View Tower is a 23-story mixed residential and commercial condominium tower to be located at 1217 N. State St. in downtown Bellingham. Construction is anticipated to start this fall. According to the tower’s developer, when complete, Bay View Tower will be the tallest building between Seattle and the Canadian border.
   “Although this is Bellingham’s first high-rise in many years, we’ve been consistently impressed with the city’s professionalism during the permitting process,” said William Honea, a representative of Bay View Tower LLC, the tower’s developer. “With a permit in place, we’re excited about building this historic project and contributing to a vibrant and sustainable downtown,” Honea said.
   Market demand for residential units has been extremely strong, with most of the units already reserved, Honea said, with the majority of buyers coming from Whatcom County and Bellingham.
   “At the end of the day, this project is about people choosing a better and more sustainable quality of life, within very easy walking distance to the Food Co-op, Depot Market Square, restaurants, shops, and the waterfront,” said Honea. Bay View Tower will include such features as a green rooftop, and communally-shared Flex/Car vehicles available to all building residents.
   “Creating opportunities that allow more people to live downtown is critical to the continued revitalization of our city center and is a very important element in meeting our growth targets,” said Tim Stewart, planning and community development director. “At more than 300 dwelling units to the acre, this building is consistent with the infill strategy included in our new Comprehensive Plan. It will help reduce sprawl by bringing more housing to the downtown core, a great place for people to live, work and play. It will facilitate a lifestyle less dependent on automobiles. But, while very high density in our city center has many advantages, we must continue to be very sensitive to the issues of height, views and community character,” he added.
   More information can be found at the Bay View Tower Web site, For more information, contact City Planning Director Tim Stewart at 676-6982, or Bay View Tower LLC Manager William Honea at (206) 799-4955.

Doctor opens new Squalicum practice
   Dr. Roy Taylor has opened Bayside Vein & Laser Center, at 3104 Squalicum Pkwy., Ste. 103.
   The center specializes in state-of-the-art treatment of spider veins and varicose veins, including new options that make hospitalization unnecessary, according to a press release.
   “We offer a variety of treatment options that allow us to treat nearly all affected patients with minimal invasion, lower risk, and a high expectation of success,” Taylor said.
   After 24 years in a busy vascular surgery practice in Bellingham, Taylor now focuses just on spider and varicose veins treatment.
   For more information call 676-1225.

Soap store moves from Railroad to Bay Street Village
   Anne-Marie Faiola, owner of Bramble Berry Soap Making Supplies and Otion — the retail store at 1427 Railroad Ave. that sells the supplies — is in the process of moving Otion to Bay Street Village, at 301 W. Holly St.
   According to Faiola, the new location should be open by the third week of September.
   “We are excited about our new location, which will feature free parking for our customers as well as our usual features and products,” said Faiola. “We’re excited to be moving to a corner location with great lighting.”
   In a sense, the move is a homecoming: Bramble Berry Soap Making Supplies first opened a warehouse at the Bay Street Village in November 1998, Faiola said, while Otion started in July 2003.
   “It does feel like we’re going home,” Faiola said. “It’s a great opportunity to move into the heart of the arts district.”
   For more information, call 676-1030.

Samuel’s Furniture offers free space for meetings
   Samuel’s Furniture, at 1904 Main St. in Ferndale, recently finished a remodel of its office area, which includes the addition of a meeting room available for use by clubs and nonprofit groups at no charge.
   “With this remodel, we now have a room available with meeting facilities for nonprofit organizations, clubs, etc.,” said Boyd Rutherford, the store’s general manager.
   The 450-square-foot room has seating for 28 people, and can be reserved seven days a week during Samuel’s business hours. To reserve the space, contact Rutherford at

Bay Street Coffee House closes
   Bay Street Coffee House, at 1302 Bay St. in Bellingham, closed up shop Aug. 22.
   The business closed due to a combination of a lack of customers and high rent, said manager Mallory Thorpe.
   “It was a lack of business,” said Thorpe. “It was really slow.”
   James Embery opened Bay Street Coffee House last year when Stuart’s Coffee House closed in February 2005 after approximately 10 years as property tenants. Embery sold the business earlier this summer to a Seattle-area couple, said Thorpe.
   Since closing the Bay Street location, Stuart’s owners Maria Koplowitz-Fleming and Gary Fleming opened a new Stuart’s Coffee House at the Public Market on Cornwall Avenue earlier this year.
   Thorpe said she doesn’t know what is next for the Bay Street building.
   “I have no idea,” she said. “I assume it will be empty.” She said the business was forced to lay off its employees, which she said numbered around 10.

Local woodworker expands into new retail space
   Greg Aanes Furniture is expanding into a new shop on Queen Street while keeping its current location at 319 E. Champion St. for an expanded show room.
   The new workshop will not be open to the public, owner Greg Aanes said.
   He bought two buildings — at 2109 and 2115 Queen St. — because his current “table operation is totally squashed with chairs,” he said. He will turn one of the new buildings into shop space that he will share with another woodworker, Hub McCauley, who owns Red Dog Construction. Aanes said he will lease the other building.
   Aanes started the woodworking business, which mostly sells tables and chairs, in 1980 as a one-man operation. He now has five full-time employees.
   “This signals a growth spurt that has been happening for a while,” he said. For more information call 733-9101.

Stationery store moves to Champion Street site
   Griggs Office Supply, at 115 Unity St., will have a new home as of Sept. 18. The store, which sells office supplies, will be moving a couple of buildings away to 102 W. Champion St., the old location of Textype.
   “We just wanted to tighten up and consolidate things,” said Donel Griggs, who co-owns the store with her son Steven Griggs. The Griggs family has operated the business in Bellingham at various sites since starting in 1906.
   The new store will be much smaller than the current location, which the business has called home since 1996. The Unity building is 2,700 square feet, while the Champion Street facility is 1,375 square feet. However, the new property has better visibility and more parking, Donel Griggs said. For more information, call 676-1232.

Northern Economics moves to Fairhaven
   Northern Economics has moved from its former location at 1801 Roeder Ave., Ste. 124, to an office at 1108 11th St., above Fairhaven Bike and Mountain Sport.
   Northern Economics is an applied economics consulting firm that conducts a variety of studies for public and private clients, economist Kelly Baxter said. The firm specializes in resource, environmental and community economics, and is one of the only private firms in Bellingham that specifically offers economic studies, she said.
   After hiring two new staff members, the firm needed a larger space, Baxter said. The firm was formed in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1982 and opened a Bellingham office in 2001 that employs four economists. For more information call 715-1808 or visit

Local coffee shop hopping into new Barkley location
   Toad Mountain Coffee Co. is hopping into a new location in the Barkley Medical Center, at 2075 Barkley Blvd., Ste. 105.
   The 1,000-square-foot space is located inside North Sound Family Medicine’s office and represents a joint venture between Toad Mountain owner Rob Camandona and owners of the medical office, Camandona said. The space will seat more than 20 customers and will also offer free wireless Internet.
   “It takes the idea of waiting to see a doctor and makes it so much more appealing,” Camandona said.
   This will be Toad Mountain’s third location, in addition to its coffee shops on Dupont Street and inside the Whatcom County Courthouse, he said. Camandona purchased the business from its former owners in 2005 after working for them for two years.
   “There’s a lot of building going on over there and we anticipate a strong volume eventually,” he said of the new location.
   North Sound Family Medicine is providing the $63,000 in tenant improvements for the space and Camandona hopes to be open by November. For more information call 734-4400.

Trader Joe’s confirms Bellingham store
   Trader Joe’s announced that the company has officially signed a lease to occupy the former Bellingham Red Apple space, located at 2410 James St., in an Aug. 18 press release.
   The store will open in 2007, hopefully within the first six months of the year, said the company’s director of national publicity, Alison Mochizuki.
   Rumors have abounded that the company would open a location in Bellingham for years. In July, The Bellingham Business Journal reported that owners of the building on James Street — the Clark family — had signed a letter of intent with a grocery store chain, but would not reveal which one.
   Mochizuki said the company is excited about opening a location in Bellingham.

Wineshop to open on Holly Street
   Michael Petersen and Becki Lawson, co-owners of The Vines and Du Jour Bistro at 1319 Cornwall Ave., hope to open a new wineshop at 202 E. Holly St., Ste. 111, within the next month.
   The 800-square-foot shop, called Gateway Wines, will be next to the new Bob’s Burger & Brew at the corner of Holly Street and Railroad Avenue in the new Gateway Building. It will feature a wide variety of wines from wine-producing regions around the world, said Petersen.
   “We want it to be a fairly simple but well-stocked wineshop,” said Petersen, a 20-plus-year veteran of the food services industry who started up The Vines in 2001 and Du Jour Bistro in 2002 with his wife, Lawson. “It’s a great location.”
   In addition to a large selection of Northwest wines, Petersen said the shop would feature a lot of direct-import wines and “good values.” He said he hopes to have three to four wines available for tasting on a daily basis. The current setup at The Vines and Du Jour Bistro will not change, he said.
   Currently, the project is in the midst of permitting and licensing, but Petersen said he hopes to open the shop’s doors by Oct. 1. For more information, call 739-9253.

Dentist plans to develop Orleans commercial building
   Dr. Eric McRory, owner of Northside Dental Care at 3400 Squalicum Pkwy., Ste. 106, said he plans to build and move to a new facility by 2007.
   Plans for the new building, built on two lots at 3017 Orleans St., are currently being drawn up by Zervas Group Architects, McRory said. The new building will be between 10,000 and 11,000 square feet, and most of its space will be leased out. He said he is making the move for a number of reasons, including better visibility for his business.
   “I’ve been in this (Squalicum) location for about 12 years,” said McRory. “The No. 1 thing about the move is that I’ll have the kind of office I’ve always wanted to design.”
   The new design will include more room. Currently, Northside Dental Care uses 1,400 square feet of space, he said. The new office will be approximately 2,900 square feet, and the remainder of the two-story property will be leased out, he said.
   He said he hopes to attract “professional” tenants to the building, including those in the financial, dental and medical sectors. For more information, call (360) 303-7410.

Downtown jewelry store moves
   Sofie’s Goldmine, a jewelry retail and repair shop, recently moved from its 1140 N. State St. location to 930 N. State St.
   Owner Dixon Hynes said he and his wife, Sofie, liked the new, 800-square foot-space’s ample off-street parking as well as the building’s more affordable rent. The former 1,300-square foot-location is currently vacant.
   Sofie’s Goldmine has been in business selling and repairing jewelry for five years, Hynes said. The business uses a high-tech laser for repairs and custom jewelry design, as well as for eyeglass repairs, he said. For more information call 647-5013.

Pawnshop decides to pack it up
   Jack Parberry and Jerry Nash, co-owners of Jack’s Pawnshop at 705 W. Holly St., recently decided to close up shop.
   The business, which has been around since the early 1990s, sells a variety of previously owned merchandise ranging from musical instruments to electronic equipment to furniture, Nash said.
   He said the store is in the middle of a liquidation sale, and the official closing would happen after store goods have been moved.
   “It’s been fabulous working in Bellingham,” Nash said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
   For more information, call 647-9422.

Ferndale store moves from Main Street to Portal Way
   Little Pioneers Children’s Consignment is moving and expanding. The business, which has been a Ferndale fixture downtown the past several years, is leaving its location at 2036 Main St. and moving to a bigger facility at 6105 Portal Way, said owner Heather Gist. The new location opened last month.
   The new property will feature 3,200 square feet of retail space and a parking lot. In addition to children’s clothing, toys, and baby equipment, the shop specializes in women’s clothing/accessories, home decor and furniture. For more information, call 383-0919.

This Bellingham pizza tradition is on its way back home
   Cicchitti’s Pizza is moving back to Bellingham.
   Niki Custer, daughter of the original Cichitti’s owners, Tom and Debbie Cichitti, recently bought the business from Tyler and Hannah Custer (no relation to Niki) and is relocating it from Ferndale to 130 E. Champion St. in Bellingham, the former site of Mannino’s Italian Restaurant.
   Cicchitti’s closed in Ferndale on June 30, Niki Custer said.
   Cicchitti’s first location was on State Street and stayed there for 15 years until the family moved it to Holly Street and briefly operated another one on Cornwall Avenue, Niki Custer said. She began working there at age 12. After Tyler and Hannah Custer purchased the restaurant they moved it to Ferndale, she said.
   Niki Custer has applied to the city to do $40,000 in tenant improvements to the 1,800-square foot-space and said she hopes to open in October.

Home-automation business hooks up to Pacific Street
   A new home-automation business had its grand opening on Pacific Street Sept. 1.
   Innovative Audio Video owners Jason Swanson and Daryl Lazarescu install home-automation systems that allow homeowners to operate lights, thermostats, hot tub settings and home theater operations at the push of one button instead of using multiple systems, Swanson said.
   Prices for installation range from $1 to $3 per square foot.
   Swanson and Lazarescu have been installing sound systems throughout the West Coast for the past 20 years. Swanson moved to Bellingham to help manage the opening of Home Depot, he said.
   Their office will be at 2106 Pacific St., Ste. 104.
   For more information visit or call 715-1485.

Data management business opens on Broadway
   A new database consulting firm, SQLROI, Inc., recently started leasing space at 1609 Broadway, Ste. E. The company, which shares space with DeWaard & Jones Company, consults with both local and national businesses to create proactive data management practices that result in increased revenues and/or decreased expenses.
   Nick Duckstein, a local consultant and principal of SQLROI, Inc., said he believes data management is a valuable tool for businesses with many challenges.
   “There are many aspects to the people, tools, and processes necessary to manage data assets effectively,” said Duckstein. “We are there to help organizations successfully deliver projects, on time, within budget, and with the desired functionalities.”
   SQLROI expects half of their clients to be based in Whatcom County, Duckstein said. For more information about SQLROI, visit

European auto shop to open on Queen St.
   A new European automobile-repair shop will open at 2101 Queen St. on Sept. 18.
   Northwest European Autoworks will be run by owner Ron Ager and Bryan Pedersen, and will serve the needs of BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen automobile owners’ in the Pacific Northwest as well as certain British car types.
   Ager has more than 30 years experience in repairing, rebuilding, racing, and restoring European cars. He has participated in autocross and club track events and has built BMW 2002 and three series race cars to compete in both venues. Pedersen received his associates degree in automotive technology with Ford Accelerated Credential Training, a program reserved only for top automotive technology students.
   The business will operate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call for appointments at (360) 715-EURO (3876) and visit the Web site,

City partners with local business for disaster preparedness
   The City of Bellingham recently launched a new crisis communications Web site to keep citizens and employees informed during city emergency incidents. City officials invite service providers to register to provide emergency contractor services during a disaster.
   The Public Information Emergency Response (PIER) system is an Internet-based service provided by AudienceCentral, a Bellingham information technology and communications company. PIER software is hosted on secure computer servers located in hardened and protected facilities, making the system disaster-resistant and reliable in the event of a local emergency.
   “It is essential that we inform our citizens quickly and accurately in the event of an emergency,” Mayor Mark Asmundson said. “We have seen time and time again, around the world and in responding to the pipeline explosion in 1999, that effective communication is vital to public health and safety, and key to speedy disaster recovery.”
   Bellingham public safety officials have been using the PIER system to distribute emergency and routine information to the media and citizens after purchasing it late in 2005. Other agencies currently using PIER include the State Emergency Management Division, the U.S. Coast Guard and Bellingham Public Schools.



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