The Buzz

 

Growing Washington moves into K & M’s
Railroad Ave. location

K & M Red River Farm has handed over the lease on its open-air shop at 1314 Railroad Ave. to Growing Washington, a nonprofit that seeks to improve the lives of Washingtonians through sustainable agriculture, health and environmental preservation programs.

K & M is not really leaving the space but simply handing over the lease to an organization that can utilize the space better and make it more of a community farming collective, said K & M’s Mike Neuroth.

“It was hard to keep it running under private ownership and a lack of time,” Neuroth said.

Growing Washington will make the space into a Community Supported Agriculture drop-off point, which will work with up to 24 local farms and allow local farmers to increase their market share by banding together.

Neuroth said this would offer more local food to the community than he could while taking the burden of ownership off him.

“A farmer belongs in the field,” Neuroth said.

For more information, call K & M Red River Farm at 758-2919 or Growing Washington at (206) 719-0056.

 

Architect restarts firm in Fairhaven

Sean Hegstad, who has been a partner and architect at JWR Design & Architecture in Lynden for the past three years, has decided to leave the company and restart his previous business venture, a private firm called Sean Hegstad Architect.

“It was time to move on,” Hegstad said, adding that he left on good terms.

Hegstad opened his new, 600-square-foot office in Fairhaven at 907 Harris St. Suite 301 at the end of February. He said he plans to work on commercial, residential and multifamily projects.

For more information, call 527-2840.

 

Yogini Skin Care public market’s first permanent
table vendor

Yogini Skin Care, a purveyor of homemade skin creams, is the newest tenant and first permanent table vendor at the Bellingham Public Market located at 1530 Cornwall Ave.

Over the years, owner Yvonne Li has collected the tricks of the beauty trade. She learned about the cosmetic properties of egg whites from her mother and the benefits of Aloe Vera while on a mission trip to Taiwan. She also received cosmetic training in England.

With her vast cosmetic knowledge, Li started to make her own face cream about five years ago in Hong Kong but brought her talents to Whatcom County in March 2007.

“I found that most commercial products just didn’t work for older, mature women,” said Li, 46.

At Yogini Skin Care, customers will find products such as Witch-hazel Cleansing Cream, Scrumptious Strawberry Face and Body Cream and Olive Cocoa Lip Balm.

Li said customers probably wouldn’t see products such as these creams from mainstream brands because the cost is too high and the shelf life is too short.

“I test all my products on myself,” she said. “Most people think I am 25.”

Li also teaches yoga at the Bellingham Public Market five days a week.

For more information, call 318-3298 or visit yogini-skincare.com.

 

WSA changes name and YAPTA wins award

The Washington Software Association, the largest statewide association of technology companies, IT departments and individual technology professionals in North America, has changed its name to the Washington Technology Industry Association.

The name change reflects the association’s growing membership base, which began representing a budding software industry but now serves more than 1,000 businesses and 100,000 employees across a broad range of technology businesses.

The new name was unveiled during the association’s 13th annual Industry Achievement Awards in Seattle.

The awards also honored the Bellingham-founded Yapta, Inc. with the Consumer Product of the Year award. Yapta—Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant helps travelers book flights, get low fares and even receive credits from airlines when prices drop after purchase.

Other award categories include: Breakthrough Technology, Business Product, Service Provider, Technology Innovator, Best Use of Technology in Government, Nonprofit or Education Sector and Technology Leader of Tomorrow.

 

New furniture store digs its way into downtown

Digs, a modern home and lifestyle store, signed a lease and will move into Brenthaven’s old space on 200 W. Holly St.

Owners Gretchen Bjork and Ben Knudsen, who also own Left Right Left footwear and accessories, said their furniture and décor store would have high-end furnishings such as pieces from influential mid-century designers like Charles and Ray Eames.

“This is the place for those creating a simpler, more artistic aesthetic,” Bjork said.

Although the furniture will be high-end and high-design, Digs will also carry décor items that everyone can afford, Bjork said.

Bjork and Knudsen plan to have a soft opening in mid-March and a grand opening on Saturday, April 5.

For more information, contact Daylight Properties at 734-6600.

 

Bank of the Pacific moves to new building

After a year of waiting, local Bank of the Pacific offices moved into a new building at the end of February.

The Barkley branch, located at 2200 Rimland Drive, closed Feb. 29 along with the local commercial lending and northern region lending offices and moved into a new 9,500-square-foot building at 4124 Hannegan Rd. The new branch opened March 3.

“About 3,000 square feet of that space is dedicated to commercial and retail banking,” said Susan Radonski-Anglada, vice president and branch manager for the bank. “The remaining 5,500 square feet for the commercial lending division and all of our Whatcom County lenders.”

Bank of the Pacific applied for permits for the $2 million building in January 2007. The bank has been at its current location in the Barkley District for six years. For more information, call 714-8805.

 

Wilder wins $3.2 million I-5 job

The Washington State Department of Transportation has awarded Wilder Construction a $3.2 million contract to upgrade Interstate 5 in Bellingham.

Wilder’s bid was $400,000 less than the state engineer’s estimate.

WSDOT initially advertised the contract last summer. It only received one bid and decided to delay the project for six months.

Beginning this spring, Wilder will repair more than 200 broken concrete panels along I-5 and and pave several on- and off-ramps.

 

Skylark’s closes to remodel kitchen

Skylark’s Cafe and Wine Bar closed February 18 to remodel their kitchen and plans to re-open March 3.

The business has outgrown the current kitchen space, especially after the addition of the wine bar in 2005 and outdoor tables in the summertime, owner Don White said in a press release.

“People had to wait a little longer than I wanted this summer,” White said. “Our food isn’t fast to begin with and a lack of space just slowed us down. I truly underestimated Skylark’s potential as a dinner house when I remodeled last time. I don’t want guests to have to wait for their food just because we have a small kitchen.”

With twice the cooking equipment and all new refrigeration, the main kitchen will be expanding from 225 square feet to about 500 square feet, converting half the lower part of the restaurant to kitchen space by removing 3 small booths.

A grand reopening party is scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, March 18, which is traditionally one of the business’s busiest days of the year. Skylark’s is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cafe is located at 1308 11th St. For more information, call 715-3642.

 

New location for The Muljat Group

The Muljat Group Downtown moved at the end of February.

Currently located at 1015 Railroad Ave. in Morse Square, the business moved down the block to 112 E. Maple St. in the Morse Landing Building, kitty-corner to the Farmers Market.

“The amount of exposure is better there,” said broker Joe Hoppis.

The new office is exactly the same size but has a better layout and higher ceilings, Hoppis said. The Muljat Group Downtown was located in the previous office for a year and a half. For more information, call 527-1777.

 

Instant Replays under new ownership

A local consignment shop now has new owners.

Heather Saulsbury bought Instant Replays of Bellingham, located at 2701 Northwest Ave., in January.

“I thought it would be fun,” she said. “I’ve been a consignment shopper my entire life.”

The consignment shop has been in Bellingham for nine years and has more than 800 regular consigners. The store accepts every type of clothing, from infant to adult sizes. When she’s not running the shop, Saulsbury also runs a Web site, www.gwynnsgifts.com, where she sells handmade earrings and greeting cards. For more information, call 647-8327.

 

Washington businesses to get $40 million break on taxes

Washington employers who applied for the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit in 2007 for hiring certain hard-to-place job seekers will get an estimated $40 million tax break from Uncle Sam.

The tax-credit program provides up to $2,400 in tax savings per worker to businesses that hire veterans, the disabled, ex-inmates, high-risk teens and young adults, food stamp recipients and those who receive Supplemental Security Income. Additionally, businesses who hire long-term welfare recipients can save as much as $9,000 per person over two years.

“Everybody deserves a chance to earn a living,” Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee said in a statement. “The Work Opportunity Tax Credit rewards businesses that give disadvantaged people an opportunity to achieve their dreams.”

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit may be obtained by submitting an application to the Washington State Employment Security Department, which works with other governmental agencies to certify the eligibility of hired workers.

In 2007, the department received more than 30,000 applications for the credit from 3,300 Washington businesses. Some 16,560 workers were certified as eligible for the credit.

Parties interesting in participating in the program for 2008 should visit their local WorkSource office or call 800-669-9271.

 

BWEDC announces new membership rates

In an effort to better represent the demographics of the Bellingham/Whatcom small-business community, the Bellingham Whatcom Economic Development Council has instituted new annual membership rates beginning at $250.

These new categories of membership with rates ranging from $250 to $10,000, represent the BWEDC’s commitment to creating an inclusive, collaborative and effective association of members working for the long-term health and stability of the Greater Whatcom economy.

“It’s critical that we make our membership accessible to everyone,” Executive Director Nancy Jordan said in a statement. “ BWEDC membership is for those who are ready to take ownership of our local economy and be a part of the decisions that will shape this county for years to come.”

The BWEDC is a nonprofit association of private and public entities committed to the creation and retention of sustainable jobs that optimize the assets and potential of entrepreneurs, workforce and community.

For a detailed description of benefits at each level and an application, visit www.bwedc.org or call 360-676-4255.

 

WECU opens new larger Ferndale branch

WECU opened a new, 9,500-square-foot branch in Ferndale in February.

The new building, located at 5695 Barrett Road, has a four lane drive-up, self-access safe deposit boxes, 82 parking spots, and a 1,712 square foot education center.

In addition, WECU is applying for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The site will also be wired as a back-up for the main campus on Holly Street, ensuring that WECU will be able to serve its members in the case of a natural disaster.

WECU has more than 52,000 members 12 branches and 21 ATMs in Whatcom County. WECU is Whatcom County’s largest member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative.

For more information, call 756-7707 or visit www.wecu.com

 

Stanello’s site sells for $2.4 million

The site of Stanello’s Italian Restaurant, located at 1514 12th St., sold recently for $2.4 million to Uy Family Limited Partnership, according to the Whatcom County Treasurer’s office.

The transaction is for the land only and does not include the business, which will continue to operate, said Stanello’s owner Stan Velis. For more information, call 676-1304.

 

Kulshan Chocolates opens for business

A new chocolate company, Kulshan Chocolates, recently began selling truffles and caramels in Bellingham.

The family-run business uses Ciao Thyme catering company’s kitchen at their new In the Kitchen facility on Unity Street, said co-owner Andrea Wean.

Wean’s father, Tim Wean, and sister, Towhee Wean, are partners. The three also own and operate a masonry business, Tim’s Masonry.

Kulshan Chocolates specializes in milk-chocolate, dark-chocolate and liquor-flavored truffles, as well as caramels and fondant candies, Andrea said. For more information, call 220-4898.

 

Blessing’s Salon Spa to move into Triple I Building

After nine years in its current location, Blessing’s Salon Spa will soon move into a new, larger space in Fairhaven’s Triple I building at 1112 11th St., Suite 201.

The new 3,375-square-foot space is five times larger than Blessing’s current location down the street at 1201 11th St., Suite 101, which is across the street from Village Books, said owner Aryon Kwiatkowski.

The new space takes up the entire ground floor of the newly constructed Triple I building. Kwiatkowski said the salon, which is an Aveda salon, will expand its spa services by adding new staff, a retreat area with a fireplace and a wet and dry sauna.

Kwiatkowski said the space is currently being built out and she hopes to open in March. For more information call, 671-9650 or visit www.blessingssalonspa.com.

 

Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress to offer classes in new space

Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress plans to open a 1,500-square-foot space next door to its current location at 1420 N. State St. by April.

The expansion will double the size of the company, which has been in Bellingham for three and half years, and will give them space to offer papermaking and bookbinding classes, said owner Kevin Nelson.

“People have been asking us for years when we would start offering classes,” Nelson said.

The first two-day class will be offered March 8 and 9 and will cost $175 plus a $40 materials fee. Jean Sanders, a professor of art at Pennsylvania State University, is scheduled to teach the class. Participants will have access to the company’s old-fashioned, steel papermaking and bookbinding machines, some of which are up to 130 years old.

For more information, call 734-0481.

 

Improved services for businesses delivered in House bills

Two bills passed by the House in February offer better regulatory assistance, permit streamlining and access to startup services for small businesses.

“Businesses need clarity on regulations and permitting,” said Rep. Kelli Linville (D-Bellingham), a sponsor on the bills, in a press release. “These bills can help businesses succeed through regulatory improvement and support for both virtual and physical small business incubators.”

House Bill 2631 gives the Office of Regulatory Assistance (ORA) more authority to streamline regulations that affect businesses. The ORA, created in 2003 by a Linville bill, helps answer permitting questions and provides access to information about state regulations. In addition, the ORA assists with coordinating between the layers of state, local, and federal permit review.

A small business assistance measure, House Bill 3115, makes sure small business incubators are qualified to help small businesses get started. Another aspect of the bill allows “virtual” incubators, nonprofit organizations that deliver services such as business planning, market research, and financial planning to startup firms.

Both bills now move to the Senate for consideration.

 

Italian-Asian cafe to replace Carol’s Girls

The former Carol’s Girls Catering and Banquet Room on Mount Baker Highway has a new owner and name.

Richard Balogh and his wife, Shu-chun Balogh, will open Il Caffe Rifugio at 5414 NE Mt. Baker Highway in Deming in March. The Baloghs recently purchased the business and the property where the well-known Carol’s Girls and Carol’s Coffee Cup once operated.

The café will have an Italian theme with an Asian influence, Richard said. It will serve paninis, desert paninis, and filled pancakes similar to Dutch Baby pancakes. They will also continue to serve Carol’s Coffee Cup’s cinnamon rolls and cookies, he said.

The Balogh’s are currently working to update the cosmetics of the shop, but won’t do a major remodel, Richard said. For more information, call 392-8145, or e-mail Richard at ilcafferifugio@mac.com

 

Steven Moore Designs opens in Fairhaven

Steven Moore Designs, a full-service wedding and event planner, opened at the end of February in Fairhaven’s 12th Street Village next to Quel Fromage.

Owner Steven Moore is a trained event planner, floral designer, dress- maker, cake artist and musician who has worked in the wedding industry for more than 16 years and started his company in 2005. His work has been featured in Seattle Metropolitan Bride & Groom and Seattle Bride’s Best of 2007 issue.

For more information on the business, located at 1200 Old Fairhaven Parkway, Suite 107, call 739-0117 or visit stevenmooredesigns.com.

 

Event highlights regional vendors

The 2008 Regional Vendor Fair, an event designed to assist companies who want to do business with local agencies and entities, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 28 at the Squalicum Boathouse.

Attendees will be able to learn the process for signing up for small work rosters and bid lists, upcoming contracts and procurement opportunities throughout the region, and make face-to-face contact with agency representatives.

Participating agencies will include: The City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, Bellingham Whatcom Economic Development Council, Skagit County, Washington State Department of Transportation, Western Washington University, The City of Lynden, The Port of Bellingham, Bellingham Technical College, and many more.

This event is free and registration is not required. For more information, call 778-7740.

 

WWU’s Small Business Development Center announces economic impact figures

Western Washington University’s College of Business and Economics’ Small Business Development Center (SBDC) announced its Whatcom County economic impact figures for 2007.

The SBDC assisted local businesses in saving or creating 750 jobs and helped clients in obtaining over $23 million in loans and new investments.

The five certified business advisors counseled 436 clients, including clients seen through its eight satellite offices throughout Whatcom County.

Since 1996, 4,658 clients have been counseled encompassing 36,740 hours of counseling that resulted in 4,111 jobs saved or created and $139,492,657 in new investments.

The SBDC provides free, confidential counseling, technical assistance and secondary research to business owners and managers in an effort to help businesses thrive throughout Whatcom County.

For more information, contact the SBDC at (360) 733-4014 or visit www.cbe.wwu.edu/sbdc.

 

Bayview Property Management to move

Bayview Property Management is planning to move from its current location at 1633 Birchwood Ave. Suite 103 to a new office at 1315 Girard St.

The company bought the property in April 2007 with the intention of moving there, said owner/broker Marge Hultman. The business recently applied to the city for a permit to do $10,000 of renovations to the 1,800-square-foot office.

“The staff can’t wait to move, to have our own place,” Hultman said.

Bayview Property Management, formerly known as Protocol Property Management, manages single-and multi-family residences, condominiums, and commercial properties. For more information, call 734-5420.

 

ReUse Works now Appliance Depot

ReUse Works, a local nonprofit organization that restores and recycles used appliances, has changed the name of its store to Appliance Depot.

“Everybody thought we were the RE Store,” said executive director Duane Jager.

For more information, call 527-2646.

 

Professional Plumbing moves into city limits

Professional Plumbing, a Whatcom County plumbing service provider for the past five years at 5124 Ranchos Road, recently moved into a new 2,500-square-foot showroom.

The new showroom, located at 4131 Hannegan Road, Suite 106, houses a full-service plumbing department with everything for renovations and new construction, including major brand faucets, toilets and hot tubs. For more information, call 398-291.

 

Woods Coffee to open downtown location

The Woods Coffee announced in mid-February that their seventh café will open in May in downtown Bellingham at 1133 Railroad Ave.

The Railroad and Chestnut location is located in a state registered historic building. The space was formerly Bay City Creamery and before that The Malt Shop.

The location will offer a selection of hot and iced specialty coffee beverages, pastries, sandwiches and soups, as well as a full line of Woods Wear, Drink Ware, and Whole Bean Coffee roasted specifically for The Woods Coffee. It will also have free Wi-Fi.

The Woods Coffee was established in 2002 by the Herman family of Lynden. For more information, visit www.thewoodscoffee.com

 

Haggen moves into Redmond, Wash.

Redmond Supermarket, a subsidiary of Haggen Inc., is purchasing the Larry’s Market at Redmond Town Center.

The supermarket will become Haggen’s 33rd store. After the sale closes, Haggen will remodel and study the feasibility of improvements, including a drive-up pharmacy lane.

Haggen is buying the 40,000-square-foot grocery store from Supermarket Management Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated Grocers that has operated it since October 2006. The store, founded in 1999, is the last one operating as a Larry’s Market following the chain’s bankruptcy in 2006.

“We’ve been seeking to enter the Redmond market a long time,” said Dale C. Henley, president and CEO of Haggen in a press release. “This store is a perfect fit for our company since we already have six stores in King County, including Bellevue and Woodinville.”

Haggen plans to operate the Redmond store as a Larry’s Market.

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