Mayberry Sporting Goods & Fountain
Owners: Joe Lallas and Emily Mallahan
Start date: Feb. 23
Address: 1825 Cornwall Ave.
Square feet: 11,000
Phone: (360) 778-1588
On Feb. 23, Joe Lallas and Emily Mallahan started their quest to bring back the small-town feel of Bellingham’s past — that’s when they held a soft opening for Mayberry Sporting Goods & Fountain at 1825 Cornwall Ave., kitty-corner to Bellingham High School.
Photos from different periods in the community surround the fishing poles, Carhartt workwear and toys on Mayberry’s 11,000-square-foot retail floor. A black and white photo shows Holly Street when it was two lanes and another is of Mallahan’s great aunts’ clothing store in the Mount Baker Theatre building. Antiques, local sports clothes from decades past and old military uniforms, including Lallas’s fathers, also line the walls.
Both Lallas and Mallahan have lived in Bellingham all their lives and have watched it change and grow. Lallas remembers getting out of a double feature film at 10 p.m. when he was 10 years old. He walked alone in the dark to a nearby restaurant and there was no fear that anything bad would happen to him. Those times are gone, he said.
“The city of Bellingham was different,” Lallas said. “You knew everybody.”
Lallas hopes Mayberry can help restore that sense of safety by bringing people in the community together.
“It’s our goal to get that back in here,” Lallas said. “It’s our goal to be a positive energy to the community here at the store.”
The store isn’t just a sporting goods store, although they sell a variety of hunting and fishing gear, crab pots, hunting and fishing licenses and ammunition. It’s pretty much a tiny town under one relatively small roof.
An old-fashioned barbershop adjoins the store’s open retail floor, and the store will soon feature an old-fashioned fountain with hard ice cream milkshakes, banana splits, hot fudge sundaes, floats and one modern amenity: an espresso machine. Deli sandwiches and wraps will also be available. Lallas said he hopes to keep all prices under a few bucks.
Lallas had hoped fountain sales would help carry the business until sales of sporting goods picked up ― the sporting goods store opened during the offseason. There aren’t any open hunting or fishing seasons right now.
“It’s like having a Halloween costume store and it’s not Halloween,” Lallas said.
But the fountain’s opening didn’t exactly follow Lallas’s plan. There were some issues with the plumbing and now they are waiting for the final approval from the Whatcom County Health Department and a final city inspection, which Lallas said could happen any day now.
To Lallas’s surprise, though, retail sales are 10 times better than he expected. Toys are a big part of that success. In fact, one of the top sellers is a wind-up mouse, Lallas said.
Mayberry carries a variety of toys, including magic tricks and science and robot kits. The store also has some simpler toys, such as boomerangs and yo-yos.
“We tried to incorporate a bit of our era, too,” Lallas said. “We want to be a good toy store plus a fountain.”
They also want customers to stick around for a while, which explains the large bar at the fountain and the tables and chairs in the front of the store.
Lallas and Mallahan will hold a grand opening celebration, April 15 to April 17 during Maybery’s regular hours: Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, visit www.mayberrysportinggoods.com. The website wasn’t up and running at press time, but is expected to be by the end of the day on April 14.