Say cheese, Fairhaven

   A longtime love of artisan cheeses led Rachel Riggs to open her new shop, Quel Fromage in 12th Street Village in Fairhaven. The new business is a departure for Riggs, who trained in hair styling at Sassoon in London, and owned upscale salons in the San Diego area for 21 years. One of her salons happened to be located near a cheese shop, and her passion began. During a vacation with her husband to Bellingham, she fell in love with Fairhaven.
   The store will carry more than 125 varieties of cheese and will offer them for sale to retail customers and in larger quantities to restaurants. In addition, Riggs plans to stock specialty products not available locally, such as exotic chocolates, pate, cheese spreaders, knives and platters, and homemade cheese-stuffed olives and peppers. The shop will feature guest cheesemakers and tastings, wine pairings and more.
   The store plans to open before Christmas, daily 10 to 6, and a grand opening is planned in January. A Web site will be developed at For more information, phone the shop at 671-0203.

Port adopts 2007 strategic budget
   The Port of Bellingham Board of Commissioners adopted the 2007 Strategic Budget on Nov. 21, projecting a 5 percent growth in operating revenues and no increase in the number of port employees.
   The budget anticipates the port total revenue sources to be $36.6 million, including $6.8 million in property taxes. It also anticipates the port will earn $14.1 million from its operations, which include the Bellingham International Airport, marinas in Bellingham and Blaine, the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, the Fairhaven Station, the Bellingham Shipping Terminal and a variety of real estate holdings.
   The commission decided to keep the port’s property tax levy rate at $.3832 per thousand of assessed valuation. For a $275,000 home, the portion of property tax that would be paid to the port will be $105.38, which has remained stable since 2001.
   Capital projects for 2007 are forecasted to total $13.2 million, of which $5.4 million is expected to be reimbursed through capital grants. Among the new projects proposed are the expansion and improvements at Bellingham International Airport’s commercial aviation and general aviation properties, and construction of a new fire/rescue station estimated at a total cost of $7 million. The majority of that will be paid through 95 percent funding from the Federal Aviation Administration. 
   The Bellingham waterfront redevelopment project costs are anticipated to be $6.3 million and of that total, about two-thirds will be reimbursed to the port from grants, the port’s environmental cost cap insurance and other sources. For 2007, the commission decided to create a new section within the port budget for all of the redevelopment costs so that the full costs of this project can be tracked in one place.
   The budget includes key strategic goals, as well as performance measurements. The key strategic goals are:
   • Work with the City of Blaine in developing upland commercial areas, public spaces and facilities on the Blaine Waterfront.
   • Complete the Master Plan and Development Agreements for New Whatcom and initiate early-action projects.
   • In response to commercial airline expansion, initiate strategic development to airfield and passenger terminal capacity projects.
   • In response to increased general and corporate aviation demand, begin development of Washington Air National Guard site.
   • Complete permitting and early design work for the new Downtown Marina.
   • Strengthen the Partnership for a Sustainable Economy.
   • Encourage emerging technology development with Western Washington University.
   The entire Strategic Budget, which includes the budget and the Port’s strategic goals, will be available on the Web at by Dec. 8. A printed summary budget will be available at the same date at Port Administrative Offices, 1801 Roeder Ave.

Allegiant files statement for IPO of common stock
   Allegiant Travel Company announced Nov. 20 that it filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in anticipation of a planned initial public offering of its common stock.
   Las Vegas-based Allegiant is a leisure travel company focused on linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla. and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. Allegiant operates a low-cost passenger airline marketed to leisure travelers in small cities, allowing Allegiant to sell air travel both on a stand-alone basis and bundled with hotel rooms, rental cars and other travel-related services.
   The initial public offering will include 5,000,000 shares of common stock. The offering may increase to approximately 5,750,000 shares of common stock if the underwriters exercise in full their over-allotment option. The company plans to list its shares on the NASDAQ stock market under the ticker symbol “ALGT.”
   Merrill Lynch & Co. will act as sole book-running manager for the offering. Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. and Raymond James will act as co-managers.

Whatcom E-view moving to new space
   Whatcom has a new home. The company — which started earlier this year as a consumer ratings site and local business search engine — recently moved from its Fairhaven site at 909 Harris Ave., Ste. 202C, said co-founder Pete Nelson.
   The business has set up shop on a five-acre property in an office space at 4550 Husky Drive in Bellingham, Nelson said.
   “We’re an Internet-based community. We go out into the community and not that many people come to us, and so it just made sense to move,” Nelson said. For more information, call the company at 733-6900.

New deli destination coming to town
   Heidi Rosebush, a former Trader Joe’s manager, will be opening a sandwich cart in February called Destination Deli.
   The cart will serve traditional and deluxe sandwiches using local ingredients from farms and bakeries, as well as breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches, Rosebush said. She will also serve espresso and freshly baked cookies, muffins and pastries, she said. She is developing a Web site for the business that would allow customers to place and pay for orders online, and is hoping businesses will use this feature for breakfast or lunch meetings.
   Rosebush, who moved to Bellingham in November from the Seattle area, is still looking for a parking lot to station the cart, preferably in either the Cordata or Barkley areas, she said.

New owner takes over Meridian Street buffet
   David Ji, a Bend, Ore.-restaurateur, has purchased the Food Garden on Meridian Street.
   Ji owns two Chinese restaurants in Bend. When a former employee, who now works at the Food Garden, told him the Chinese buffet was for sale, he decided to move to Bellingham and buy it on Dec. 1. He will continue to manage all three restaurants by splitting his time between Bend and Bellingham, he said.
   Ji said he won’t be making any changes to the buffet, located at 4151 Meridian St., Ste. 100, because it is already successful.
   For more information, call 752-2288.

X-ray office closes shop after two years
   Plaza Radiology Inc. is closing its doors as of Dec. 22, according to a press release.
   The company, operating out of the Medical Office Plaza at 3015 Squalicum Parkway in Bellingham, offers X-rays for doctors in the building and the surrounding area.
   “We regret that we must close the business, but increasing costs, lower reimbursements and fewer patients make it necessary to close,” read the statement. The press release added that all X-rays and medical records would be at Mt. Baker Imaging at 2930 Squalicum Pkwy.

Zervas professionals pass LEED exam
   Zervas Group Architects Principals Terry Brown, AIA, Sharon Robinson, AIA, and designer Jesse Lawrence recently passed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) exam. The three join Principal Mike Smith, FAIA and interior designer Rondelle Noble as accredited LEED professionals. Five of the firm’s 11 full-time architectural staff are now accredited LEED professionals.
   “We want clients to understand that we can help them ‘go green’ on every project— and it doesn’t have to cost more,” said Robinson. “In fact, it can end up saving money over the long term.”
   One of Zervas Group’s greenest projects is the Whatcom Educational Credit Union’s new loan center being built on the corner of Holly and High Streets. The project aims to be Whatcom County’s first building to achieve a LEED Gold certification.
   Meanwhile Matthei Place, Zervas Group’s 14-unit affordable housing complex for Kulshan Community Land Trust, is a pilot project in the new LEED for Homes rating system.
   Earlier this year, the firm also joined Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power program, which supplies energy for businesses and homes from renewable, earth-friendly sources.

New study: County tourism taking off
   According to a new study released by the Washington State Office of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED), visitors to Whatcom County spent a record $396.4 million dollars in 2005. The county is ranked fifth of the state’s 39 counties in terms of total visitor spending.
   Visitor spending grew by $34.5 million — a 9.5 percent increase from 2004. In the same time frame, 260 more tourism-related jobs were created, according to the study.
   The Washington State County Travel Impacts study was conducted by Dean Runyan Associates and compared annual tourism statistics from 1991 to 2005 (the most recent year that data was available), including direct travel spending, visitor spending by accommodations type, spending by commodities purchased, industry earnings and employment from travel spending, and tax receipts generated from travel spending.
   “The figures show 2005 was a banner year, and I expect that 2006 will do as well,” said John Cooper, president and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism. “The county outpaced overall state growth rates in both number of jobs created and total traveler spending. Travelers boosted our economy by staying in our hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, visiting attractions, eating in restaurants, and shopping in local stores.”
   A breakdown of visitors’ expenditures in Whatcom County shows that in 2005 tourists spent:
   • $52.3 million on lodging
   • $106.2 million on food and beverage services
   • $25.6 million on food stores
   • $84.4 million on ground transportation and motor fuel
   • $56.4 million on recreation and entertainment
   • $69.1 million on retail sales
   • $2.4 million on other transportation (air, car rentals, etc.).

Electrical-wiring company is moving to Ferndale
   Express Electric will be moving from its current location at 3969 Hammer Drive to a new facility at 1354 Pacific Place in Ferndale at the beginning of 2007. The building is currently under construction.
   Owner Dan Altman said his company, which has wired houses and buildings for electricity for the past 15 years and has 40 employees, needed more space. The new 16,000-square-foot facility will include a sound showroom for the company’s recently added retail sales of home theater systems, he said.
   The location in Ferndale near I-5 will be easier for customers to find, Altman said. He will also be leasing 6,000 square feet of the space, he said.
   For more information, call 671-0113.

Fairhaven women’s clothing store for sale
   Carol Beecher is selling her women’s clothing store, Vie, located in Fairhaven’s 12th Street Village.
   Beecher opened the shop in 2005. She said that changes in her personal life have opened up other opportunities for her and that it was a difficult decision to make.
   “I am confident that whoever buys it will be very successful, especially as new businesses come into the 12th Street Village and as the growth of Fairhaven moves down the block, as we are seeing happen,” she said.
   For more information about Vie, located at 1200 Old Fairhaven Parkway, Ste. 104, call Brian Finnegan at 647–2856.

New sushi restaurant coming to Cornwall
   A new sushi restaurant is moving into the Bellingham Public Market at 1530 Cornwall Ave.
   The new restaurant, Maki Zushi, will be located in the space formally occupied by Café Ohya, which closed in June, said market owner and manager, Gary Holloway. There is still one space for lease in the market that could either be used for a restaurant or a retail shop, he said.
   Maki Zushi will be open in early 2007, Holloway said.

Ferndale pub, brewery both on the market
   The Whatcom Brewing Co., recently named the smallest brewery in America by “The New Brewer” magazine, is for sale, said owner Lloyd Zimmerman.
   The Ferndale resident re-opened the brewery — which was founded in 1897 — in the early ’90s after it sat dormant for most of the past century. The brewery, located at 2234 Main St. in Ferndale, produces about 120 kegs per year, and Zimmerman said it is poised to continue growing.
   He said he also has plans to sell Frank-N-Stein, his pub at 2030 Main St. in Ferndale, which he opened in 2002.
   “I just don’t have time anymore,” he said. “(Frank-N-Stein) could be something that really takes off.” For more information, contact Zimmerman at (360) 384-3132.

Buddhist Center moves to Bay Street Village
   Dharmakirti Buddhist Center recently moved to a space at the Bay Street Village at 301 W. Holly, Ste. D-5. The center offers meditation classes and Buddhist study programs.
   For more information, go to, or call 752-3194. Check the calendar for open hours and scheduled events.

New biscotti company gets cooking
   After years of making biscotti for family and friends and catering weddings, Kyoung Croft recently decided to start her own biscotti business, called Rainy Days Kitchen.
   Her company produces non-traditional biscotti that are chewy and crunchy instead of the traditional hard texture, according to a press release. She uses premium, all-natural ingredients for the biscotti, which are handmade in small batches.
   Kyoung sells the biscotti to local businesses such as the Community Food Co-op, Caffé Adagio, Coffee Junction, and Toad Mountain Coffee, among others. She also sells them at the Bellingham Farmers Market and is taking orders on holiday gift boxes and party trays.

Western Airlines announces inaugural flight schedule
   Western Airlines recently announced it will begin direct-flight service between Bellingham International Airport and four West Coast cities starting Jan. 18.
   “(The airline’s arrival) is going to double the number of destination cities you can fly to out of Bellingham,” said Art Choat, director of aviation for the Port of Bellingham. “I think it’s a real plus for our community, and it gives people options.”
   Western’s inaugural flight, Flight XP 521 — one of two Boeing 737-400s the company is leasing — will depart at 7 a.m. on Jan. 18 for Los Angeles/Ontario, and will arrive in California at 9:45 a.m. The following day, service will commence to Phoenix’s Williams Gateway Airport, followed by flights connecting Bellingham with San Diego and Reno on Jan. 24.
   To celebrate the new service, the business is offering round-trip airfares beginning at $59 each way, valid for purchase Nov. 16 to Dec. 13 and valid for travel Jan. 18 to March 17, 2007. For more information and to make reservations, go to the company Web site at, or call (888)-WAY-2-FLY.

Mortgage company opens office in Ferndale
   Bellingham Mortgage recently divided its operations into two offices — one in Ferndale, and the other down the street from its former location at 1108 11th St., Ste. 301.
   Owner Marshall deLeon, who bought the business in June, said the move to the new spaces made sense for the company.
   “The space that we were in — I just don’t use it all,” he said.
   The former office was 840 square feet. The company started operations out of the Ferndale office in late November in a space at 2003 Main St. The other new branch is at 1410 11th St.
   “Ferndale has a bit of potential out there with the new buildings going up,” he said. “It also looks as though it is progressing as a town. Long term, it has a lot of potential.”
   For more information, call the company at (360) 224-2433, or 410-7917.

A 35-year-old downtown shop is expanding
   The Stamp & Coin Place, located at 1302 Commercial St., is expanding its space into what used to be part of the Downtown Renaissance Network’s space. The Downtown Renaissance Network has moved next door into a smaller space.
   Owner Tim Rathjen said the extra 1,200 square feet of space will make the entire store about 2,900 square feet.
   Rathjen said he needs the space for more storage and office area.
   The Stamp & Coin Place buys and sells stamps and coins, and offers bullion transactions. Rathjen purchased the store three years ago.
   For more information, call 676-8720.

Physical therapist to open clinic in Fairhaven
   A new physical therapy practice in Fairhaven specializing in neck and back pain — as well as sports and orthopedic rehabilitation — opened its doors at the end of November.
   Avilio Halme, a 31-year-old physical therapist, plans to open Cascadia Physical Therapy at 910 Harris Ave., Ste. A101, after working in the industry for the past nine years — five of them in Bellingham.
   “It’s very exciting to open my own practice and be a part of the Fairhaven community,” he said. “Everyone has been very welcoming.”
   He said his practice would focus on one-on-one patient care.
   “A lot of times, it’s hard to get this focused care,” he said. For more information, contact Halme at 319-7735.

Neighborhood Mortgage announces move, expansion
   Neighborhood Mortgage has announced plans to relocate and significantly expand its home office. The new office will be located in Bakerview Square at 432 W. Bakerview Road, Suite 101, according to a press release.
   Construction on the new office space is expected to be completed in spring 2007 and will replace the company’s current space at 4164 Meridian St., Ste. 108.
   The Bakerview office, with more than three times as much square footage, will help accommodate the company’s growth, according to the press release.
   For more information, call 671-8044.

Catering company expands operations
   Ciao Thyme is taking a bite out of downtown by moving into a new facility at 207 Unity St.
   Jessica and Mataio Gillis, owners of the catering company they started six years ago, hope to be moved into the former Ace Carpet building — on the corner of Flora and Unity streets — by March, Jessica said. Currently they lease kitchen space in the Scottish Rite building on State Street.
   The couple will spend the next few months renovating the building and installing a kitchen there.
   In addition to operating the catering company from the new building, they hope to begin offering cooking classes and a small private dining facility, Jessica said. Their long-term goal is to convert the second story of the building into an event space that would seat up to 150 people, she said.
   The Gillises purchased the building on Unity Street in September as LBG Family Properties, she said.

Plumbing business moves to Hannegan
   Professional Plumbing LLC is moving to a 4,000-square-foot facility at 4131 Hannegan Road, No. 106, owner Klinton Moa said. Half of the site will be used for retail space, and half will be used to store inventory and new construction materials, he said.
   “We’re growing out of where we are at,” he said. Currently, his business is located at his residence at 5124 Ranchos Road in Bellingham. Moa, 24, has had the business for the past four years. He’s hoping the move will increase the amount of walk-in traffic to his business.
   “Now, we’re going to be more open to the public,” he said.
   The business specializes in a variety of plumbing fixtures and hardware, including tankless water heaters, fireplaces and plumbing fixtures. Moa said he hopes to open the new store in mid-December. For more information, contact 398-2910.

SBDC adds expanded research center
   Western Washington University’s College of Business and Economics Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has added an expanded Research Center to its services, according to a press release.
   “We are one of the few SBDCs in the country to have a dedicated research center and the only one in the state of Washington,” SBDC director Tom Dorr said. “Based on the increasing demand and client feedback for our research services, we have dedicated greater resources and personnel to bolster our research efforts, and ensure we are able to meet the needs and demands of our clients.”
   Three new business research analysts have been hired at the research center.
   The Research Center works in partnership with SBDC-certified business advisors to provide secondary research to help companies plan for the future, adjust to changes in the marketplace or identify business problem areas. Research services include: local/regional/national demographics, analysis of financial statements and comparisons with industry standards, industry trends and outlooks, industry associations, tradeshows and publications, new market channels, review and feedback on business plans and collateral marketing pieces.
   For more information, call the SBDC at 733-4014.

Bottle Shoppe owner looking to sell
   Dave Morales, owner of The Bottle Shoppe, a specialty beer store featuring about 275 different types of beers, meads, and ciders from around the globe, has decided to sell his store.
   “I’m ready to move on to something different,” Morales said. “It’s time to apply my efforts elsewhere.”
   Morales opened the 600-square-foot space at 207 1/2 E. Holly St., in October 2004.
   “In the right hands, it could really take off,” Morales said. The business has a steady, loyal customer base, he said. However, in his opinion, a new owner must know the industry to make it work.
   “Whoever takes this over needs to know beer,” he said. For more information, see the business Web site at, call Morales at 647-8695, or e-mail him at

Fairhaven business owners open pottery production facility
   The owners of Mud In Your Eye Pottery in Fairhaven recently opened a second pottery business on the Guide Meridian.
   Cascadia Stoneware USA, Inc., is a pottery production and wholesale company that caters to retail customers all over the country, said co-owner Cate Howell. Howell opened the business — which is not a retail, walk-in shop — with her husband Frank and business partner Jeff McDougall.
   “We’ve been asked by many customers if we wholesale our products, because they love them,” she said. The business, at 5373 Guide Meridian, Unit E4, will feature much of the same wares that are available at Mud In Your Eye, she said, such as dinnerware, baking dishes, serving dishes, mugs, steins and sushi trays.
   Howell and her husband have been in Bellingham for more than a decade after running a pottery business in the San Francisco Bay Area for approximately 20 years. She said she has no plans to change operations at Mud In Your Eye — which has been for sale off-and-on over the past several years — for the foreseeable future.
   For more information, call the company at 398-2326.

New scooter sales store is set to open on Iowa Street
   Urbano Moto, a new scooter store, is set to open at the former Northwest Off-Road Specialties Inc. space at 1999 Iowa St.
   Owners Alan and Gretchen Taylor will sell Roketa scooters, which are made in China and cost under $2,000, as well as high-fuel-economy cars, including hybrids and those that run on diesel. The store will also sell scooter gear, and Alan said they hope to sell Vespa scooters in the future.
   The Taylors were inspired to open Urbano Moto after visiting Spain and Paris, where residents mainly drove small cars and scooters, Alan said. The scooters, he said, are easy to park and reduce congestion, in addition to being less expensive and more fuel-efficient than cars.




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