Mail facility to move operations

   The Mail Room is getting a new address.
   Farook Mohammed, who owns the business, said his company plans to relocate from its current address at 177 Telegraph Road to a new property at 702 Kentucky St. by mid-February.
   “It’s a bigger space, and the rent (at the Telegraph location) had gone through the roof,” said Mohammed. “We couldn’t afford to keep this space.”
   The new space — across from Hardware Sales —will have about 2,000-square feet, compared to approximately 1,200 square feet at the old location. The business, which has operated for more than two decades in Bellingham, specializes in shipping mail to local customers who are out of the area in remote locations, Mohammed said.
   For more information, call 647-2370.

New preschool opens on State Street
   A new preschool has moved into the former Spinnaker Photo space on State Street. Bellingham Preschool of the Arts, an arts-infused early education program for 3-and 4-year-olds, is currently enrolling students for its opening date of Jan. 15, according to a press release.
   Led by teacher/administrator Nancy Smith, who has 25 years of experience in early childhood education, and owner and arts coordinator, David Post, who has 20 years of experience in children’s arts programs, the school will offer morning and afternoon sessions five days a week at 1059 N. State St., next to Pepper Sisters.
   In addition to their classroom teacher, two different arts specialists will lead the children daily in their fields of expertise, which include visual art, dance, music and storytelling/drama. Students will also learn basic skills in preparation for kindergarten, including how to relate to each other positively.

Casa Nueva to open this spring
   A former Casa Que Pasa employee and three partners signed a lease for the restaurant’s former space located at 1415 Railroad Ave. this week, and will open Casa Nueva there this spring.
   Elizabeth Moss had worked as a server and bartender at the well-known restaurant and bar for five years when the Washington state Department of Revenue shut it down for unpaid taxes in July. She and her husband, Nick Moss, along with two other investors — Spencer Wilhoft, a bartender at the Nightlight Lounge, and Hans Sendelbach, a bookkeeper — decided to open a new restaurant there that would continue the Casa Que Pasa tradition.
   “Casa closed and everybody was devastated. It left a hole,” Moss said. “We kept hearing how much people missed it.”
   Moss said Casa Nueva is not at all associated with the former business, but will offer a similar menu, including the famous potato burrito, and will employ many of the same workers. The new restaurant will offer a $2 children’s menu as well as a few new menu options, such as nachos and enchiladas.
   The interior will stay mostly the same, with cafeteria-style dining in front and a bar in the back, although Moss said they would “clean it up big time,” as well as paint the walls. Moss said they will retain the bar’s mural.
   Moss said she hopes to open sometime in March, and will host a grand opening at that time.
   For more information, call 733-3572.

City ready to issue Cordata
building permits

   City of Bellingham officials lifted a building permit moratorium within the Cordata Planned Unit Development (PUD) area Jan. 16 and prepared to issue 66 permits after receiving payment from Trillium Corp. for its share of road construction, according to a city press release.
   Last fall, city officials imposed the moratorium after confirming that 3.25 million square feet of construction had occurred in the Cordata PUD, which prompted a condition in the zoning requiring a moratorium on building permits until an agreement was reached on further road construction. The agreement with Trillium outlines the construction and financing for four roads (Eliza, Stuart, June and Thomas/Horton).
   The Cordata zoning condition required that the city and Trillium determine their proportionate share of the costs of these roads, which was accomplished using traffic study data. The dollar amounts in the agreement reflect the proportionate shares of the cost estimates for each road.
   The city received a check in the amount of $961,975, allowing Tim Stewart, the city’s planning and community development director, to lift the building permit moratorium and direct staff to start issuing completed permits.
   D.R. Horton, a major property owner and developer in Cordata, will pick up 36 permits for single, duplex and triplex residential projects this week, and another 30 permits are ready for issuance. The permits for the new Community Food Co-op are still under review.
   “By allowing property owners to file for their building permits and conduct our staff review during the moratorium, we now have 66 permits ready to issue,” said Stewart. “We are pleased that the agreement was reached in a timely manner allowing construction to commence and homebuyers to get back on track.”

Port continues funding for rural business services
   Operators of small businesses in rural Whatcom County will continue to have free business counseling in their communities thanks in part to funding approved by the Port of Bellingham’s board of Commissioners.
   At the commission’s first meeting of 2007, they approved spending $80,000 on a contract with Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for its Rural Business Outreach Program. The port has provided funding for this program since 2002 as a way to assist with countywide economic development. Other funding for this program comes from Western Washington University and the federal Small Business Administration.
   “Thanks to the port’s continued contribution, Lynden business owners have access to crucial assistance on their path to success,” said Gary Vis, executive director of Lynden Chamber of Commerce.
   Half of the $80,000 will be paid through the port’s General Economic Development budget, which is funded by countywide property tax revenue. The other half of the contract will be paid through the port’s Industrial Development Corporation, which is funded through the port’s issuance of industrial revenue bonds.
   The SBDC rural outreach is an especially valuable program because business operators can meet within their own communities, reducing the time spent away from their businesses. Satellite offices for this program are in Ferndale, Lynden, Sumas, Blaine, Birch Bay, Everson/Nooksack, Point Roberts and the Mount Baker Foothills.
   “Without the port’s investment, we could not support the level of assistance the SBDC provides to the business community,” said Ferndale Mayor Jerry Landcastle.

Cap Hansen’s owners reapply for
a liquor license

   John and Elizabeth von Krusenstiern have reapplied for a liquor license at 113 E. Magnolia, the current location of Chiribin’s.
   The von Krusenstierns, who own Cap Hansen’s Tavern on East Chestnut Street, are in the process of purchasing the restaurant and bar, which they would rename Platz Bar & Grill.
   The new restaurant would retain many of Chiribin’s menu items, but will also offer some German specialties, said John, who has German ancestry. The new restaurant would also retain all of Chiribin’s staff members, he said.
   The couple applied for a liquor license for the restaurant in early November but withdrew their application a month later in order to meet with city officials who had concerns about the von Krusenstierns’ plans there. They met with city officials last week, John said.
   “The city has a vision for that neighborhood to be a bit more upscale,” he said. “They seemed happy with our plans.”
   John said he hopes to have a liquor license in about a month, and will then close on the deal to purchase Chiribin’s.
   Platz Bar & Grill will continue to host live music events after 10 p.m. for small audiences, John said.
   “They’ve got a good thing going. It’s one of the only places that has live music right now,” he said. “We’ll continue with the jazz, rock and folk music shows. I think it’s a winning combo.”
   For more information, call 733-0878.

Baron & Company launches new
Web site for Garys’

   Baron & Company recently announced the launch of a new Web site for Garys’, a Bellingham-based clothing store. The new site showcases Garys’ offerings to local and national consumers, and provides customers with useful contact information.
   “With the growth in online technology, many consumers are now researching their shopping options online,” said Gabe Rodriguez, account manager for Baron & Company. “Their newly-developed Web site gives Garys’ the Web presence they desired, in order to showcase their modern, contemporary style to all interested customers, as well as attract new clothing vendors.”
   Garys’ newly-developed Web site currently lists the labels customers can find for both men and women, and displays their downtown Bellingham location.
   “Our desire was to capture the essence of Garys’ with our new Web site,” said Gary Lupo. “Baron & Company has done a great job of working with us to accomplish our goal; our new site is simple, elegant and represents our attention to detail when it comes to our product offering and serving our clients.”

SBDC seeking pair of staffers
   The SBDC is seeking a pair of new staff members:
   Certified business advisor: Primary function is to serve as a certified business advisor (CBA) and provide one-on-one counseling to business owner on financial analysis, financing, business plans, marketing, personnel issues, management and other business issues. Assess client needs and facilitate best options or resources to help client achieve solutions.
   This position requires someone with experience in business or working with businesses, and someone that has a clear understanding of common needs and issues of business owners. Other skills or attributes necessary include exceptional verbal and written communication skills, self-motivation and discipline, enthusiasm and aptitude for problem solving, capable at teaching, managing and working with others, strong attention to detail and deadlines, and a passion for professionalism.
   Special Projects manager: Assist SBDC clients in starting, stabilizing or growing their businesses by ensuring the research team of three research analysts provides accurate and professional market and industry research, and financial analysis, as requested by the SBDC director and certified business advisors.
   Train and manage research analysts and regularly assign, instruct and review their work. Manage special consulting projects including: surveys, business plan development, operational plan development, and custom research requests from stakeholders.
   Must be self-motivated and disciplined, enthusiastic about problem-solving and learning, and capable of managing and working with others in a fluid environment, attentive to detail and deadlines and practice efficient time-management skills.
   The person must also have exceptional communication skills and be able to guide the research analysts in effectively interpreting and summarizing research and applying it to a multitude of real-world, business situations. Research and consulting experience required. Project and team management experience required.
   Interested applicants should contact Marilyn Grady at the Small Business Development Center, Western Washington University, ste. 195, 119 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 98225. Phone: 733-4014 or e-mail:

Downtown coffee gurus
expand operations

   The owners of The Black Drop Coffeehouse will begin roasting their own coffee beans at a new location downtown.
   Owners Teri Bryant and Alexarc Mastema hope the roastery in the space formerly occupied by Kissaten, at 205 Grand Ave., will be up and running in a few months.
   Mastema began his career in the coffee industry by roasting beans, and the partners have wanted to expand their operations since The Black Drop Coffeehouse opened on West Champion Street four years ago, but did not want to open another coffeehouse, Bryant said.
   “So opening the roastery was a way to build on what we’re doing without expanding a bunch of new coffee shops,” she said.
   Eventually, the owners will replace the beans they use now in their coffeehouse with the beans from their roastery.
   Bryant described the 900-square foot space as “very funky and industrial, with doors that go nowhere.” The roastery, which is yet to be named, will offer retail coffee beans and coffee accessories and will also have a coffee-tasting bar so customers can sample the beans before they make a purchase.
   For more information, call 738-3767.

Massage-therapy office opens
in Fairhaven

   Teresa Dalton and Jennifer Irwin, licensed massage practitioners in Bellingham, recently announced the opening of their new south side massage therapy office, Fairhaven Body Works. The new business is at 907 Harris Ave., Ste. 203.
   In addition to offering standard client-based services, such as relaxation, hot stone, deep tissue, Reiki and chair massage, the business will also provide other therapists with an opportunity to rent fully equipped therapy rooms.
   For more details, contact Dalton at 305-9858, or Irwin at 752-0930.

La Tene Tile launches new Web site
   La Tene Tile recently announced the launch of its new Web Site at The site was designed by Matt McDaniel, a designer with the Awaken Creative Group.
   Among other things, the site features pictures of La Tene’s display boards, various PDF forms, as well as care and installation instructions. There are many educational videos planned for the future.
   “The ability to educate and energize the clientele is limited only by the imagination,” said Amanda Timmins, owner/principal artist at La Tene. “And creativity is what we’re all about.”
   La Tene Tile is an artisan tile studio located in Bellingham that produces exquisite bas relief metal tiles using 100 percent recycled copper and nontoxic sculptural materials. La Tene has dealers on the East and West Coasts.

Trucking manifest company opens
on King Street

   ACE/E-Manifest Solutions, a trucking manifest company, hopes that a new federal law means big business.
   The company, at 1321 King St., Ste. 1, began operations about eight months ago, said co-owner and Bellingham resident Ryan Mitchell. Mitchell, 26, started the business with Canadian partner Ron Paul, who owns a trucking company.
   The business produces electronic manifests for truck companies carrying goods into the United States, and submits the documentation to customs.
   Under the new law, carriers who transport goods into the U.S. are required to submit manifests electronically to customs officials. While container vessels, air cargo and railcars have been in compliance with this law for several years, trucking shipments now have to follow the same set of rules under legislation that went into effect Jan. 25.
   “I work with the brokers, and I work with customs — I guess indirectly. I literally talk to the supervisor on the line sometimes when there are problems,” Mitchell said. “We’re just going into the compliance factor of the new national security standard where manifest is the identification portion of who is taking what where.”
   Mitchell said his company was the first in the United States to break into the market as a third-party manifest filer.
   He said he became interested in the issue after he worked for Blaine-based ProPack, where he was involved in freight forwarding and shipments. For more information, call the company at 738-2221.

Environmental consultant expanding, adding staff
   Retec, an environmental consulting firm in Fairhaven, is expanding its offices at 401 Harris Ave., in the train station terminal.
   Office manager Ben Howard said the firm is expanding the space by 950 square feet, which will add three offices. He said the company is hiring a few more employees.
   Retec is a national company based in Concord, Mass., with 20 offices around the United States. Bellingham is home to the company’s coastal engineering department and employs 11 people, Howard said.
   Howard said the firm hopes to complete the expansion by the end of February.
   For more information, call 647-0990.

Downtown clothing shop gets
new owners

   Connections, a clothing consignment store located at 1307 Cornwall Ave. is under new ownership.
   Sisters Nicole and Stephanie Flierl bought the shop and plan to keep the core of the business the same while adding a fresh look and feel to the place.
   Previous owner Stephanie Burke-Edwards began to incorporate fine arts into the store, and the Flierls plan to continue that transformation to include clothing, jewelry and arts.
   Nicole has also added Moonshadow Art Studio in the shop — a beading-supply section featuring her handmade glass beads. She also offers a full line of arts and crafts classes, custom-made jewelry designs and jewelry repairs.
   For more information, call 756-0402.



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