Public Market expands with new vendors, detailed food labeling system

The Bellingham Public Market’s expansion project should be finished in November. The expansion makes the market 25,000 square feet, about three times its former size.

The market, at 1530 Cornwall Ave., took out a wall and began expanding into the space next to it, formerly Tube Time, earlier this year. The Public Market is home to Terra Organic and Natural Foods, which Trinkhaus owns, as well as Mt. Baker Book Co., Cafe Trapeze, and Living Earth Herbs.

Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine opened in the Public Market on Nov. 8,  and Electric Beet Juice Co. should move into the market sometime in November, Trinkhaus said.

Along with the remodel, Terra Organic and Natural Foods launched a food labeling system developed by Trinkhaus and a crew of researchers.

Labels on the shelf identify how foods fit into the following 12 categories: GMO, no added sugar, independent business, local, vegetarian or vegan, labor practices, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, organic and carrageenan-free.

“I think this is really what sets us apart from every other store,” Trinkhaus said. “This is my 17 years of running the store distilled.”

Trinkhaus said everyone looks at the labels for something different. Some customers only look for GMO-free and gluten-free foods, while others care most about labor practices used to produce the food. The color-coded labeling system is a way to include all that information in a small space.

Terra Organic and Natural Foods became the first store in the country to label foods containing GMOs (genetically modified organisms) when it started in March 2013, Trinkhaus said.

Trinkhaus expanded the market in response to customers were asking for more one-stop shopping and better prices, he said.

Every department in the expanded store grew, including the supplements, video rentals, and toiletries sections. Another coffee display featuring a bicycle-powered coffee grinder is also on the way.

The store currently has frozen meats, but Trinkhaus said the expansion will include a full meat department. Eventually, he would like to add a butcher shop. The building was once a Safeway, so it has all the infrastructure needed for the expansion.

Safeway coming soon, Co-op remodel continues

Safeway plans to open its new store in Bellingham’s Sunset Square shopping center at the end of January 2015, a Safeway spokesperson said.

The company originally hoped to open the store in October, they announced earlier this year.

Renovations to the former Cost Cutter store at 1275 E. Sunset Drive began earlier this summer. The future 67,000-square-foot Safeway store will include a deli, flower stand, bakery, wine department, and an organic and natural foods section. It will also have an in-store Starbucks kiosk, free wi-fi, and a fueling station.

Safeway has been operating a pharmacy next door to the future Safeway since October 2013.

The downtown Community Food Co-op received a building permit on Oct. 3 and began renovating the building across the street from its current location. The building at 405 E. Holly St., former home to Better Than New clothing, will house offices, a cafe, a bakery, and a community room.

Co-op outreach manager Adrienne Renz said the co-op is also planning the remodel of their original downtown building at 1220 N. Forest St.

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