Local fishing, hunting store H&H Anglers closes

   H & H Anglers & Outfitters, located at 814 Dupont St., closed June 1.
   Owner Brady Martin, who has owned the fishing and hunting-supply store since 2001, said the business wasn’t making any money, although he did not wish to elaborate on reasons why.
   “There’s a lot of factors,” he said.
   H & H Anglers had been around since the 1940s, and sold specialty flyfishing and guns. The store’s fishing department offered salt and fresh-water gear, as well as classes in fly fishing, fly casting, jig tying, jig fishing and fly tying. Its gun department was the only new and used dealer in Bellingham for pistols, rifles and shotguns, according to the website. For more information, call 733-2050.

Tivoli to open in July
   A local family is planning to open Tivoli, a casual French bistro, at 1317 Commercial Ave. in July.
   Owners Nate and Kelly Becklund, along with Nate’s mother, Susanne Ferari, are in the process of remodeling the space, located next to Uisce. The menu will also feature Scandinavian and Italian influences, Nate said.
   Both Nate and Kelly are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and have worked for the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas and for Kelly’s parents’ Italian restaurant in upstate New York.

Bakerview Square adds tenants
   Morgan Bartlett’s Bakerview Square shopping center, located on the corner of Eliza Avenue and West Bakerview Road, has signed on several new tenants, including a children’s furniture store, a women’s fitness center and a national stock brokerage.
   Along Comes A Baby, an infant and toddler furnishings and accessories store, will open in a 6,000-square-foot space in the shopping center in late July, according to Bakerview Square’s Marketing Director, Keith Turley. The store’s owner, Laura Lee Bosman, also owns That Little Red Wagon in Lynden, Turley said.
   Butterfly Life, a women’s fitness center owned by Judy Baughman, will open in a 2,100-square-foot space in late July, Turley said.
   Scottrade, a national stock brokerage firm, is also opening a 1,500-square-foot-space in the shopping center in August, Turley said.
   So far, other stores that have opened in Bakerview Square’s phase one building include Labels, Chicago Title, Jade Hair Studio, Cordata Post & Parcel, M & T Nails, Neighborhood Mortgage and The Woods Coffee. IHOP, Oishii Teriyaki and the Sun & Surf Café will open this summer, Turley said.
   There are nine spaces still available for rent in the first phase of the shopping center, which represents only about 40 percent of the total project. The foundation work for phase two is currently under construction, and no spaces have been leased yet, Turley said. For more information, call leasing agent Joshua Parriera at 303-6637.

Fairhaven height limits off docket for now
   Efforts by a Fairhaven neighborhood group to establish height limits in Fairhaven’s commercial core have been removed from the annual docket of comprehensive plan changes by the city’s planning director, Tim Stewart. Stewart said the proposal amounts to a code change rather than a neighborhood plan change, according to a press release.
   Instead, Stewart invited neighbors, merchants and property owners to work collaboratively to initiate an amendment to the development code to update design standards and address building height.
   Stewart issued a letter in May addressed jointly to the president of Fairhaven Neighborhoods and the chair of the Fairhaven Merchant Association, stating that a code change could be proposed, initiated and processed at any time during the year. The annual review of changes to the comprehensive plan and neighborhood plans can only be conducted once a year.
   His letter came on the heels of increased tension between the groups.
   “I believe both groups recognize that if we are to protect and enhance Fairhaven, we will need to find common ground and a way to work together in the future,” Stewart said in his letter. To that end, Stewart offered to host a joint meeting to explore ways to work together on Fairhaven design guidelines and related code. The Fairhaven Merchants also expressed a willingness to fund a professional to assist in the update of Fairhaven’s design standards.
   The letter is posted on the city’s website at www.cob.org/pcd/planning/FairhavenNbrhd.htm. For more information, contact Nicole Oliver at 676-6982, or e-mail her at noliver@cob.org.

National clothing chain opens on State Street
   Buffalo Exchange, a national clothing-store chain, opened in downtown Bellingham this month. The buy-sell-trade clothing store is located in a 2,000-square-foot space, formerly occupied by io Creative, at 1209 N. State St.
   The store’s clothing and accessories are bought, sold and traded directly with customers, according to a press release. The inventory changes frequently and includes designer wear, basics, vintage clothing, jeans and leather.
   Originally started in Tucson in 1974, the chain has 30 stores and three franchises in 12 states, with nearly $43.9 million a year in sales. For more info, visit www.buffaloexchange.com.

Wild Buffalo for sale
   John Goodman, president of the Wild Buffalo House of Music, has publicly announced the bar is for sale.
   In a June 3 letter to customers, friends and associates, Goodman said the business and its building have been “discreetly” listed for sale for some time. After eight years of running the business, Goodman said he is ready for a life change and is ready to sell.
   “It is time to pursue other creative and business opportunities in my life. As I am very hands on and have designed Wild Buffalo with my specific vision of being the premier live music venue in Bellingham, it has been difficult to find an appropriate successor to carry on this vision for the community,” he said in the letter. “There has been a lot of interest from various candidates over the last year — several offers on the table — and yet nothing has come to fruition.”
   Goodman said he is ideally looking for a buyer to “carry on the torch.”
   “Someone who has the skill sets, resources, energy and fresh enthusiasm to continue Wild Buffalo. This is a well-maintained, fully stocked and equipped ‘turn-key’ operation,” he said in the letter. “There is plenty of room for expanding the building and the business operations. The building has a full sprinkler system and meets the latest building codes.”
   Goodman said the bar will remain open until a successor is found. For more information, call Goodman’s business broker, Michael Roupp at (206), or e-mail him at michael@rouppacquisitions.com.

Import 12 closes its doors
   Shelly Mears will celebrate the closing of Import 12 and her new assignment in Africa with a celebration in June. Mears is going to Ngomano, Kenya to conduct an anthropological study of the Kamba culture in partnership with Project Education Inc. (PEI).
   Import 12, which opened in December 2005, is a fair-trade home-décor import store and art gallery at 2711 Meridian St. Mears will continue to find fair-trade home-décor items for her customers and work out of her home when she returns to Bellingham in October 2007.
   With PEI, Mears will help the Ngomano villagers develop products to sell internationally, such as basket bags and banana-leaf artwork, in order to build schools and become economically self-supporting. Customers will be able to contact Mears by e-mail, at import12stores@yahoo.com.
   “We don’t want to disappoint our customers who have shown us such wonderful support. This arrangement will let me take care of my customers and give me time to spend with my daughter,” Mears said.
   Import 12 is inviting the community to a Hakuna Matata sale during June to celebrate the upcoming changes. Roughly translated, the Swahili word means “no worries.” Members of the marimba band Mhurie will provide African marimba music on June 9, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
   The final art show will feature Fredrick Sears’ photography and Cathy Taggett’s watercolors. The reception for their work will be June 9 at 6 p.m. The store’s last day open will be June 23. For more information call 752-3233.

Wild Blueberries expands downtown
   Wild Blueberries, a children’s clothing and toy store in Fairhaven, is opening a new location downtown in the Bellingham Public Market. It will be located in the recently-closed {Collections} space.
   Owner Sharon Hymer had been selling Wild Blueberries’ merchandise on consignment through {Collections}, a small gift shop in the market, located at 1530 Cornwall Ave. When {Collections} closed, Hymer decided to take over the space while still running Wild Blueberries in Fairhaven, located at 1106 Harris Ave., Suite 1.
   When Wild Blueberries opens at the Public Market, it will sell some children’s clothes and toys, but will also offer seasonal merchandise, such as kites and hats in the summer, as well as Northwest-inspired gifts and cards. Hymer hopes to be fully moved into the space sometime in June.
   Wild Blueberries opened in Fairhaven in 2002. Hymer and her daughter, Shelly McCarty, bought it in 2004. For more information, call 756-5100.

T.D. Curran on the move
   T.D. Curran is moving from its current location in Blossom Commons up the street to 4370 Meridian St., next to Arby’s.
   Owner Troy Curran purchased the new building and is in the process of moving the Apple computer retail and service center from its old location at 115 W. Kellog Road.
   Curran said his lease was up at the Blossom Commons space and he wanted to own his own building.
   “It’s always better to own than rent,” he said.
   The new location will have much more parking than the old space, he said.
   Curran started the business in 1991 as a mail-order service selling computer parts to schools across the nation. Then he purchased Alpha Tech in 2002 and became an Apple computer retail and service provider. For more information, call 1-800-645-2533.

New baby sling store open on Cornwall Avenue
   Laurie Grey Shultis has been running her home-based business, Portable Kid, for the past three years, but recently decided she needed a storefront.
   Her new location, at 1201 Cornwall Ave., Suite 103, on the corner of Cornwall Avenue and Chestnut Street, opened in May, just in time for Mother’s Day. The business sells natural baby carriers and slings, as well as car seats, nursing pads, cloth diapers, toys and baby traveling gear. Shultis’ slogan is “Keeping families together naturally.”
   Shultis got into the baby carrier business after having her fifth child, she said. She said she realized she had become an expert in natural baby carrying methods and wanted to share her expertise with other mothers.
   “I realized I have all this knowledge, and I go through and review which carriers people like the most, and those are what I stock,” she said.
   Shultis said she wants the 373-square-foot space to be a parenting-resource center, with information and a calendar on baby and child events and play groups.
   Shultis said she will host a grand opening celebration in June. For more information, call 671-0298.

WestCom moving to Barkley
   WestCom Properties, Inc., which is currently located at 4202 Guide Meridian, will move to a new building at 3130 Howe St. WestCom owner Brian Finnegan said they are in the process of acquiring building permits and then will begin construction.
   Finnegan said his goal is to have the building completed and the company moved by the end of the year. He and five other employees will expand from the current space of 800 square feet to 1,440 square feet in the new building.
   The new two-story building will have a total of 3,600 square feet. Finnegan said the excess space will be leased out, and while they have had a few people interested, nothing has been signed.
   Finnegan said he is excited to move to the Barkley area because it is a great business district that projects the kind of image he wants for his company. WestCom has been in Whatcom County for 12 years. For more information, call 647-2856 or visit www.westcomproperties.com.

KulshanCLT gets its own new home
   KulshanCLT, which partners with homebuyers to create permanently affordable homes in Whatcom County, is getting its own new home.
   The community land trust is moving from its current location at 215 W. Holly St. to the former Griggs Office Supplies space at 115 Unity St.
   Executive Director Paul Schissler said the new space is 1,000 square feet larger than the Holly Street office, and will allow the land trust to add more pre- and post-purchase homeowners’ workshops, in addition to continuing its first-time homebuyer classes. The land trust started on Holly Street in 2001 and now has 57 homes in the trust and has partnered with 61 homebuyers.
   The Unity Street space is currently being renovated and Schissler said he expects to move in by September 1.
   For more information, call 671-5600.

IMCO awarded major contract
   Bellingham-based IMCO General Construction has been selected as the general contractor by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to widen SR 539 (Guide Meridian) in Whatcom County to five lanes, from Horton Road to Ten Mile Road. The contract is valued at more than $31 million.
   IMCO’s work on the SR 539 project will increase the capacity from two lanes of traffic to four, with a two-way turning lane in the middle.
   Once completed, the five-mile stretch of road will include a turn lane, new lighting and three new traffic signals at the Smith, Axton and Laurel Road intersections, according to a press release. A total of 11 water quality detention ponds will be built to lessen the environmental impact of storm-water runoff, and the current Deer Creek culvert will be replaced, thereby improving stream flow and habitats for fish. In addition, new, safer bridges will be built in place of the current Four Mile Creek and Ten Mile Creek bridges, according to the press release.
   “With more than 23,000 drivers using the Guide Meridian on a daily basis, this roadway has become known for its congestion. Many choose to avoid the area during times of particularly high traffic, but this route is unavoidable for some,” said Frank Imhof, president of IMCO General Construction. “As members of this community, we’re excited to be involved in expanding the roadways through this area, which will provide a safer and much less frustrating commute for our residents and visitors alike.”
   In conjunction with IMCO, several other companies will work as subcontractors on different phases of the project. Wilder Construction, headquartered in Everett, will subcontract with IMCO for the asphalt paving portions of this project. Bellingham-based Sail Electric will serve as the project’s electrical subcontractor, and will be responsible for street illumination and traffic signals. Matia Contractors will subcontract the landscaping portion of the project from IMCO. In addition, several other local firms will work with IMCO as subcontractors on various phases of the project.
   The project is set to begin June 4, and is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2008. More information about IMCO and its projects can be found at www.imco-inc.com.

Outlook for housing market mixed
   Is it true that what goes up, must come down?
   Julie Hansen, a Western Washington University economics professor, attempted to answer this question in regard to the Whatcom County housing boom of 2001 to 2006 at last month’s WWU-sponsored conference, Calibrating the Washington Economy.
   Hansen said the outlook for Whatcom County’s housing market in 2007 includes the likelihood of year-over-year sales declines; a slower rate of median price appreciation; and a price decline in the condo market, which currently has a 10-month supply of units.
   Hansen began her talk by giving an overview of the 2001 to 2006 housing boom, during which she said Bellingham had the fourth-most rapidly appreciating housing prices in the Pacific Northwest, mainly due to low mortgage rates, a relaxation of credit standards, job and population growth, and high demand coupled with a construction lag from previous years.
   However, the Whatcom County housing market is beginning to see falling sales, rising inventories and slowing price appreciation, as well as affordability problems, she said. In April 2007, the county’s year-over-year pending home sales held steady while home listings were up, she said.
   Traditionally, post-housing boom markets see a drop in demand leading to higher inventories, and possible price declines, Hansen said. In Whatcom County, the period after the 1988-to-1993 housing boom, in which median home prices doubled, was followed by eight years of slow price increases.
   Hansen said she would predict the same to happen now, but her outlook depends on the following factors:
   • The impact that increased foreclosures could have on the market, although she added that Washington state ranks 21st in the nation for foreclosures, and is well below the national average.
   • The impact of tightening lending standards brought on by the increase in sub-prime loan defaults, which will affect buyers with poor credit scores and not enough cash for down payments.
   • Rising mortgage interest rates. Hansen mentioned the National Association of Realtors predicted the rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, with 20 percent down, will increase to 6.5 percent in the next year.
   • Job growth may act as a countermeasure to these factors.
   Demographic factors, such as the increase in baby boomers buying second homes or their children entering the market, could have a long-term positive affect on the housing market. And on another note, Hansen said the area’s location-specific advantages, such as water and mountain views, the waterfront redevelopment, recreational amenities, and its role as a lower-cost alternative to Vancouver and Seattle, might also have a positive effect on the market.

Farmers Market, Depot Square win awards from tourism bureau
   Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism recognized and presented several awards to local businesses, officials and individuals within the tourism industry during its awards luncheon May 23 at Hotel Bellwether.
   Awards presented included the 2007 Tourism Business of the Year Award, Priscilla Sabin Award, Tourism Bureau Volunteer of the Year Award and other recognitions.
   The Bellingham Farmers Market and Depot Market Square each received the 2007 Tourism Business of the Year Award for serving as continuous ambassadors for Bellingham and Whatcom County. Each was recognized for their dedication in bringing locals and visitors a community gathering place and an opportunity to get fresh, local products.
   Carole MacDonald, owner of The Inn at Mt. Baker and president of the Mt. Baker Foothills Chamber, received the 2007 Priscilla Sabin Award. This accolade honors past CVB Director Priscilla Sabin and recognizes outstanding efforts made by a front-line individual in the tourism industry. MacDonald was recognized for her efforts in increasing the economic vitality of the Mt. Baker Highway corridor. Volunteer of the Year went to Bette Alexander for her many years of dedicated service.
   As part of the program, special recognition was made to Rep. Kelli Linville and Gov. Christine Gregoire for their support of tourism initiatives in state tourism. Victoria/San Juan Cruises’ Drew Schmidt and Bellingham/Whatcom County Chamber’s Ken Oplinger were awarded for their national leadership in cross-border travel, and Port of Bellingham’s Carolyn Casey was recognized for her three years of dedication to the tourism industry as the chair of the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Board of Directors.

Forensic accountants open firm
   Acuity Group LLP, a new firm specializing in forensic accounting and financial litigation support services, has opened a satellite office in Bellingham. The primary office is located in Vancouver, Wash.
   The firm was co-founded by partners Tiffany Couch and Laura Preston. Couch is a certified public accountant and a certified fraud examiner. Preston is a project manager, analyst, and technical writer with years of experience working with forensic accountants to tell the “story behind the numbers.”
   Serving the entire Pacific Northwest, Acuity Group’s consulting services are meant to benefit certified public accounting firms whose clients may need independent financial investigation services, and legal firms whose clients assert or deny claims involving economic loss.
   As a forensic accounting firm, Acuity Group helps its clients to assess the financial impact of a specific event. The company’s forensic accounting practice focuses on providing financial investigations, such as tracing assets and investigating fraud, and also provides financial statement reconstruction and litigation support services.
   Acuity Group also conducts comprehensive investigations of alleged fraud. The firm quantifies the loss and prepares reports that may be used by the victim entity to file a formal claim with its insurer or to prosecute the perpetrator. If requested, in conjunction with investigating allegations of fraud, the firm will also document a business’s internal controls and will recommend improvements based on accounting best practices.
   For more information, visit www.acuitygroupllp.com, or call Preston at 733-6850.

Sound Recycling changes name
   As of June 1, Sound Recycling Services has updated its name, website, and mobile shredding equipment to accurately reflect the nature of its business.
   The updated name, Sound Shredding and Recycling, better fits the services offered by the company.
   “The name now accurately reflects the company’s business,” said founder John von Krusenstiern. “We’re an information destruction company – that’s what we do. While we still recycle every scrap of paper that comes through our warehouse, shredding is our primary business.” For more information, call 733-7982.

Southside to Host Candidate Forum
   The Coalition Of Southside Neighborhoods will hold a candidate forum on July 19 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
   The Coalition consists of five neighborhoods: South, Edgemoor, Fairhaven, Happy Valley and South Hill. They have worked together formally since the end of 2004 to address issues of common concern. It is overseen by a steering committee made up of the five neighborhood presidents and a couple of neighborhood board members who assist them in their work. The Edgemoor Neighborhood Association President, Brad Rose, will preside at our forum.
   As this forum is aimed specifically at the citizens within the coalition, the speakers will be the mayoral candidates, the 5th ward candidates, and the at-large candidates who will appear on their primary ballots.
   The forum will take place at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center at 1314 Harris Ave. For more information, e-mail Pam Went at PamsMac@comcast.net.

SSC Going Green
   Sanitary Service Company (SSC) is now “greening” 100 percent of its electricity usage through Puget Sound Energy’s green power program.  SSC’s switch earlier this month makes them the largest private businesses in Whatcom County to use 100 percent green power, according to a press release.
    “We were at 46 percent green power when we originally signed up, but made the decision to go 100 percent green power because we wanted to do more to contribute to supporting renewable energy options for our region and help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” said SSC President Paul Razore.  “We hope our move will encourage other large Whatcom County businesses to join us as a Green Power Program Business Partner.”
    PSE’s Green Power Program, ranked as one of the top 10 green power programs in the United States, provides SSC with just over 200,000 kilowatt hours annually of domestically-produced, alternative energy.  The city of Bellingham was also recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as the first green power community in Washington — one of only seven in the nation.  Green power is electricity generated from renewable, non-polluting resources such as wind, solar or methane power.  For questions or more information, call 734-3490 or visit www.ssc-inc.com.

Learn to change
   A June luncheon called Managing the Change Process; HR’s Greatest Opportunity in the 21st Century will focus on change in the workplace.
   The luncheon’s speaker, Jack Smalley, will talk about how to deal with employees who resist change.
   Participants will learn how to classify all employees as “change friendly,” “fence sitters” or “resisters,” as well as proven strategies to improve employee retention. Participants will also learn how to attract members of each of the four generations in today’s workforce, and how to successfully bring each generation together to meet these critical goals.
   Smalley has held upper-level management positions in industries such as oil, chemical, and packaging with an emphasis in manufacturing, engineering, sales and logistics. He currently serves as a senior human resources consultant for Express Personnel Services.
   The luncheon will be held at 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on June 13. For registration information, go to www.mtbakershrm.com.

Impact of unregistered businesses equals $375 million in lost taxes
   The State of Washington loses up to $375 million annually — equal to about 5 percent of tax collections — to as many as 164,000 unregistered businesses operating in Washington, according to a new study issued by the Washington State Department of Revenue.
   This is the first time the department has estimated the level of unregistered business activity in Washington, using data mining and statistical techniques to cross match newly available IRS data with state records.
   The department recovers about $25 million annually from unregistered businesses through its tax discovery efforts, but the findings will help it bring more businesses into compliance through a combination of education and enforcement, Director Cindi Holmstrom said.
   “These efforts will help ensure that registered businesses aren’t undercut by those who fail to register and pay their fair share,” Holmstrom said. “Legitimate businesses have told us time and again that nobody should enjoy a competitive advantage simply by evading taxes.”
   The analysis found that an estimated 99,000 businesses conducting business in Washington were registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) but not with the state, costing the state an estimated $225 million in annual tax revenue, equal to 3 percent of taxes collected from registered businesses.
   An additional $150 million may be lost to another 65,000 businesses that are not registered with either the IRS or the state. This figure is stated separately due to less certainty about its accuracy, but taken together, the losses total $375 million annually from an estimated 164,000 businesses, equal to 5 percent of collections. By comparison, the state has 760,000 registered businesses, though only about 460,000 of those have to file and pay taxes after small business credits are considered.
   The study confirms what the Department had long suspected, that out-of-state businesses operating in Washington comprise the bulk of the tax losses, an estimated $155 million of the $225 million in unpaid tax. These businesses comprise about 25,000 of the 99,000 businesses registered with the IRS but not with the state. Many may not realize that their activity requires them to register to do business in Washington. Most of the Department’s current tax discovery efforts are targeted at identifying these businesses and getting them registered and paying taxes.
   Washington-based sole proprietors comprise the largest number of unregistered businesses, at 45,000 of the 99,000, and account for $36 million in lost tax, while 19,000 Washington-based contractors who received 1099 forms from the IRS were responsible for $18 million. The smallest group was 10,000 Washington corporations, partnerships and trusts that failed to pay $16 million.
   Unregistered activity by the construction industry appears to be relatively low, accounting for less than $1 million of $52 million in unpaid taxes by Washington-based businesses that could be identified by industry. This finding was unexpected because other studies have shown relatively high noncompliance by registered construction firms, and it was assumed that unregistered activity would also be high.
   Washington-based professional and management services constituted the largest dollar loss at $19.6 million of the $52 million in unpaid taxes. This affirms current Department education efforts. Many of these unregistered businesses appear to be those whose customers are households and who have little contact with other businesses. Examples include home cleaning, lawn care, and personal accounting services.
   The full report is at dor.wa.gov/docs/reports/Unregistered_Business_Study_finalfinal.doc.

Angel investors meeting
   A June 15 meeting will focus on the efforts of local angel investors in helping to fund seed money to entrepreneurs.
   Early-stage and startup companies often meet a financial hurdle as they grow, and after family and friends support has been exhausted and neither banks nor venture capitalists are interested, they can turn to angel investors.
   Bruce MacCormack, chair of the Bellingham Angel Group, provides both background on the angel investing process and also many useful ideas on how best to make your presentation for funding a successful one. The meeting is from noon to 1:15 p.m. on June 15 at the DIS building, located at 1315 Cornwall Ave.
   For more information, visit www.tagnw.org/go/survey/482/551.com



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