The Market opens on Lakeway

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.

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One thought on “The Market opens on Lakeway

  1. In defense of butter…
    I had high hopes for the new Market.  I had a great conversation on opening day with the head chef about his lovely looking bakery case. I expressed my dislike of faux baked goods made with hydrogenated oils rather than butter – this is not a health issue for me, it’s a matter of principal and of quality as nobody worth their salt goes to culinary school just so they can turn out “fake-me” baked goods. The head chef agreed wholeheartedly and assured me he’d come on board to change all that.
    Cut to two weeks later: He is no longer with the company-“it didn’t work out”. I took a closer look at their baked goods (entirely based on the use of butter) such as scones and croissants and they contain oils instead. Really?
    I feel they have underestimated Bellingham. There are plenty of us who are willing to pay for the real deal. Give us a chance to shell out. We WANT to give you are money, please let us.
    I was excited to spot the charming looking Caesar salad cones at their pizza station.. until I had one and it contained a sweetened, bottled, inauthentic Caesar dressing – and was sans Parmigiano Reggiano.
    In all fairness, their pizza is fantastic! I highly recommend roasted tomato + fresh mozzarella + bacon. Also, they have house-made compound butter at their seafood counter and packaged smoked trout which  (to the best of my knowledge) is not available anywhere else in Bellingham. Extra touches like a help-yourself water bar offering 3 choices in fruited waters so you can hydrate deliciously while shopping – I appreciate that!
    Just to be clear, this is not a matter of working out the bugs. It is only fair to be patient with new employees and they figure things out. This is a matter of  food philosophy and standards as the head baker told me the use of hydrogenated oils in their baked goods is based entirely on profitability.
    I am tired of making the trek down to Whole Foods. And I want to keep my dollar in Bellingham to support our local economy. Please folks, if you are like-minded, be vocal with them. Having amazing food available to us, is important to our quality of life up here in the ‘Ham.

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