The Market at Lakeway opened at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 6, the product of a six-month remodel of the old Cost Cutter store it replaces.
Although fanfare was minimal — a small banner on the building and coupons available online were the only indication of the store’s opening — the excitement inside was palpable as employees bustled by, men in suits shook hands and customers gazed in wonder at the store’s transformation.
The remodel and name change is the fourth in a series of stores owned by The Markets LLC, which owns six Food Pavilions in Washington along with five local Cost Cutters. Kevin Weatherill, CEO, said the company’s plan is to continually convert existing stores into “Markets.”
Weatherill said the new store represents the company’s vision to offer fresh, locally grown and crafted food and healthy, easy-to-find dining choices.
The emphasis on local products is integral to the new store, so much so that Weatherill felt the need to refine the meaning of the word. He said in an industry that continues to stretch the geographical scope of “local,” the Lakeway store sells products from approximately 48 “really local” companies and food producers — all of which are less than 35 miles away from the store.
“Really local” products are prominently marked, and flat-screen TVs across the store show video interviews with the farmers and artisans who provide the goods.
“It’s kind of like bringing the farmer to the market,” Weatherill said.
For health-conscious shoppers and those with special dietary needs, the store features a dedicated organic produce department, vegan section, numerous gluten-free products and a seafood department specializing in sustainably harvested products.
Along with a deli and bakery, the store offers dine-in and take-out cuisine from what amounts to three, order-at-the-counter restaurants inside the store: Flaming Pie, a wood-fired pizza place, Wok-On!, a Mongolian grill, and Pastoodle, which serves Italian pasta and Asian-style noodles. Barbecue, grilled near the store’s entrance, will be sold inside at the MarketQ.
For those looking for variety, the store boasts Bellingham’s largest beer selection, featuring more than 700 craft, domestic and imported beers housed inside a refrigerated room called “Beer City.” Spices also come in abundance with approximately 260 varieties, all ground in-house, available in bulk.
Although Weatherill declined to comment on how much the remodel cost, he said recycling some materials from the Cost Cutter and keeping decor “industrial” saved the company a substantial amount.