The Buzz


Photo by Isaac Bonnell

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi chats with Whatcom County farmers, including Henry Bierlink (gesturing), at Dick Bedlington’s potato farm in Lynden on Sept. 8. Rossi talked about lowering taxes, environmental concerns and incentives for small businesses.

“My goal is to turn this into an entrepreneurial state,” Rossi said.


Walkers Carpet One buys Elements building

Local real estate developer and owner of Elements Design Center Fred Bovenkamp sold his 25,000-square-foot Elements Design Center building located at 2425 E. Bakerview Road to Walkers Carpet One for $2.85 million in September.

The deal includes the land, building and certain fixed assets such as machinery and office equipment. Scott Walker, owner of Walkers Carpet One, said the building is twice the size of his current location at 2007 N. State St. and will allow the business to streamline its operation.

“We have a large amount of offsite warehousing which is inconvenient and inefficient,” Walker said. “This is going to allow us to consolidate our operations.”

Walker said he plans to do minor renovations to the space before moving completely to the new space by February 2009. In the meantime, the company will operate both locations and has hired seven new employees in the expansion.

For Bovenkamp, the home interior business was very demanding and he said it kept him from focusing on other projects. Bovenkamp owns land in Old Town, Cordata, Semiahmoo and along Bakerview.

“Personally I am looking to relieve myself of some of my business interests so I can focus on my real estate developments,” Bovenkamp said. “Running the retail business is very demanding and it required more time and energy than I really had for it with other projects going.”

For more information, call 733-6390.


City, WCC, Clearwire team up to boost wireless coverage

Clearwire’s wireless coverage could be getting much better in the coming months.

Clearwire, a high-speed Internet and phone service provider, is planning to install three antennas, two microwave dishes, and six base-transceiver-station (BTS) radios equipped to send and receive radio signals, on the roof of Whatcom Community College’s Kulshan Hall at 237 Kellogg St. on the north side of the WCC campus.

Michael Mischel, an independent contractor for Pacific Telecom Services, which worked with Bellingham, Clearwire and Whatcom Community College to find a suitable location for Clearwire’s facility, said the new installation will be used to enhance Clearwire’s network coverage area in Bellingham.

“It should improve coverage pretty dramatically for the general area,” Mischel said.

Mischel said the project’s stakeholders have also been working hard to make sure the new installation will blend in with its surroundings and the city permit application said the facility will be disguised as a vent stack.

Jackie Lynch, a Bellingham city planner, said Bellingham has some pretty strict rules when it comes to disguising cellular and Internet towers.

“This is just a great example of one of the different disguises we have,” Lynch said. “We also have some fake trees around town.”

Mischel said he hopes to begin construction on the facility in the next three months.

For more information, call Clearwire at 788-2560 or Jackie Lynch at 778-8350.


Landmark expands by 20 new employees

After purchasing Property Management Professionals and its maintenance company, Mountain Bay Cleaning & Maintenance, in early September, Landmark Real Estate Management, located at 3800 Byron Ave. Suite 112, has leased the neighboring 2,100-square-foot space to make a 5,000-square-foot office space for itself.

Gosha Bikker, Landmark’s general manager, said the space is currently being remodeled to house Property Management Professional’s 11 office employees and Mountain Bay’s nine maintenance employees.

“We are so excited they are coming because we only used to manage rentals and commercial space but now we are also doing condominiums,” Bikker said.

Bikker said Landmark is hoping to have its new employees moved in by mid-October.

For more information, call 738-1022.


Wise Buys opens new downtown store

Wise Buys Shop, one of Bellingham’s longest-running thrift stores, reopened Monday, Sept. 15, at a larger location downtown in the Hotel Laube building at 1224 N. State St.

Wise Buys is operated by volunteers from Lydia Place, a local nonprofit organization that assists homeless women and their children. The 2,800-square-foot space, located between Holly and Chestnut streets, is much larger than the previous Wise Buys location in Bellingham’s Old Town district.

“We’re now able to offer a wider selection of lightly used clothes, household items and more,” said Teresa Josephson, executive director of Lydia Place. “We’re also centrally located now with easy access for downtown residents and Western Washington University students.”

Wise Buys is completely run by volunteers and all of its proceeds go to Lydia Place.

“Wise Buys has provided a steady stream of income for us for many years,” Josephson said. “The commitment of the volunteers and the generosity of the shop’s donors have been consistently amazing.”

For more information, call 671-7663 or visit


Beach ‘n Brew Bistro to open in October

Morgan and Laurie Bartlett, the couple behind Madrona Bay Development and Real Property Management, are working to open Beach ‘n Brew Bistro, a tanning salon and restaurant lounge which will be located at 436 W. Bakerview Road Suite 107 inside Bakerview Square.

The Bartletts took over the 1,600-square-foot space that used to house the second location for the Ferndale-based Sun & Surf Café because former tenants Thomas and Lori Ann Lewis wanted to focus on their primary location.

“It just kind of landed in our laps,” said Laurie Bartlett.

Laurie said the she and her husband are new to the restaurant-tanning game but they doing a cosmetic remodel and some menu changes before hopefully opening in the first part of October.

Laurie said they plan to do some advertising to capture the attention of the college crowd since Whatcom Community College is so close.

“We want to focus on more events like Monday Night Football to try and get some guys in there because tanning isn’t just for girls,” Laurie said.


New office for Sterling Life Insurance Co.

Sterling Life Insurance Company, located in the Barkley District, is planning to open a new office at 192 E. Bakerview Rd. Suite 202 by Nov. 1.

The 2,000-square-foot office will house the sales staff — about 15 people — who are currently located in the Dorothy Haggen Building, said Mike Gale, senior vice president of business development.

“The organization is continuing to grow,” Gale said, adding that the company will keep the Barkley office.

For more information, call (360) 647-9080 or visit


CB Wholesale consolidating space

CB Wholesale, located at 1991 Division St. in Irongate, is planning to consolidate its operations under one roof.

The roofing and drywall wholesaler had been running the drywall division out of a 15,000-square-foot space just down the road at 3850 Mustang Way. The company had also used that space to store masonry stone, which it stopped carrying last year.

“We will be vacating that space and moving everything under one roof,” said manager Mike Madan. “We hope to have everything done by the end of November.”

To better accommodate the drywall division, the company will be renovating its 2,000-square-foot offices and reconfiguring its 20,000-square-foot warehouse, Madan said.

CB Wholesale has been in Bellingham since 1991. For more information, call 738-8404.


Mental health clubhouse to get new space on Holly

Harmony House, a mental health clubhouse program run by Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic, will soon be getting its own space at 209 W. Holly St., across from The Wild Buffalo.

The clubhouse is currently in the Rainbow Center, a drop-in mental health center located at 213 East Champion St., but could have its own 2,700-square-foot space by the end of October, said executive director Andy Byrne.

The clubhouse offers members a place to come and get involved in the community, Byrne said.

“A clubhouse is a structured program. It’s meant to have a combination of peer support and working in the operation of the clubhouse,” Byrne said. “When people come to the clubhouse, they get involved in the actual operation of the clubhouse and some people choose to get involved in our transitional employment program.”


For more information, call 752-4544.

Morgan Stanley to add more space, employees

Morgan Stanley, a full-service brokerage firm located in the Dorothy Haggen Building at 2211 Rimland Drive Suite 116 in Barkley Village, is expanding into approximately 700 square feet previously used as storage space by Haggen Inc.

According to building permit data, Morgan Stanley will spend $88,000 to build out the new space to add three more offices for three new finance professionals.

Michael Bartlett, vice president and branch manager for the Barkley Morgan Stanley, said the expansion will bring their offices to around 3,500 square feet.

“Right now, when a lot of firms are shrinking Morgan is expanding,” Bartlett said.

For more information, call 734-0724.


VSH opens new office in Surrey

Varner Sytsma Herndon (VSH), a Bellingham-based accounting firm specializing in U.S.-Canadian cross-border taxation and consulting services, has opened a new office in Surrey, British Columbia.

The firm opened the office on Sept. 1 in the Ocean Pointe Business Centre at 1688-152nd St. Suite 102, where it will offer U.S. tax, consulting and planning services to Canadian businesses and individuals.

“After 20 years of specializing in cross-border consulting, many of our clients have offices on both sides of the border and will find it convenient to avoid border lineups,” said Kathy Varner, a VSH partner. “The South Surrey office will give Canadian cross-border businesses the ability to receive U.S. tax expertise from a firm specializing in cross-border transactions without the time and hassle of crossing the border.”

VSH is headquartered in the Barkley District at 2200 Rimland Drive Suite 205. For appointments at the South Surrey office, call (604) 531-6638. For more information, call (360) 734-8715 or visit


Dollar Wise Animal Clinic opening in Oct.

Dollar Wise Animal Clinic, located at 414 W. Bakerview Road Suite 101, is planning to open by mid-October.

This will be the fifth time Dr. Roger Williams has opened a clinic in his 38 years as a veterinarian, but it is the first one in his home state.

“Since I moved back up here [from Las Vegas] I was going to retire but I heard that veterinarians were in high demand, so I started filling in at several local clinics,” Williams said.

His new clinic will be more than 2,500 square feet and he plans to offer outpatient veterinarian services, from spay and neutering to vaccinations.

For more information, call 922-0262.


Desert Sun opening second salon

Though summer has ended, the sun is shining brighter for Tatyana Tchaikovskaya, the local franchisee of the tanning salon Desert Sun.

Tchaikovskaya is busy planning the opening of her second store, located at 1062 Lakeway Dr. next to Crazy Mike’s Video, at the same time she is celebrating the one-year celebration of her first salon at 1317 W. Bakerview Road, Suite 103.

The new 2,000-square-foot salon will have 15 tanning rooms — three more than the first salon — and is closer to downtown, which Tchaikovskaya said she hopes will attract more college students.

Tchaikovskaya said she is tentatively planning for a mid-November opening and is currently looking for more employees to staff the new salon.

Desert Sun Tanning Salons has more than 60 locations in Washington, Oregon and California. For more information about the local salon, call 734-8267.


Van Beek Drywall moving to Irongate

Van Beek Drywall, located at 2121 King St., is planning to move to 4110 Strider Loop Suite 109 by November.

Owner Doug Van Beek said the business has been looking to move for the past three years. The original plan was to find a one-acre lot and build a new building, but finding an affordable lot proved difficult, Van Beek said, and the company has now settled on two commercial condos along East Bakerview Road.

“Buying commerical condos seems to be the only affordable option for us,” he said, adding that impact fees and building costs continue to increase. “There are a lot of construction-oriented businesses like ours that are in the same boat.”

The company will be doubling both its office space and storage space at the new location, with about 1,400 square feet for offices and 2,500 square feet for storage.

Van Beek Drywall had been located on King Street for the last 12 years and that space is now for sale. The company has been in business since 1981and employs about 70 people.

For more information, call 647-8070.


Eye clinic to move to Cordata in Nov.

Bellingham Eye Physicians, currently located at 2979 Squalicum Parkway Suite 202, is planning to move to a new space at 4540 Cordata Parkway Suite 102 that would double its current size.

According to building permit data, the eye clinic was issued a tenant improvement permit for $398,000 to improve the new office.

Terri H., office manager for Bellingham Eye Physicians, said more space and more parking are the factors motivating the move. The new office will have more exam rooms, larger offices and an expanded reception area. The office will also include an optical shop that would fill and dispense eyeglass prescriptions, Terri H. said.

“We’re hoping to open sometime in the month of November,” Terri H. said. “Things are going well now but anything could happen between now and then.”

Bellingham Eye Physicians has four ophthalmologists and one optometrist on staff who dispense prescriptions and perform eye exams and surgeries. For more information, call 676-8663.


Gymnastics academy gets new owners

North Coast Gymnastics Academy, located at 1710 Express Drive, recently got a facelift and some new owners.

In May, Teresa Storrer and Jamie Sutterfield purchased the academy after years of watching their daughters compete inside the 12,000 square foot facility.

“We walked alongside the previous owners for years,” Storrer said. “We’ve worked in the office and cooked food at the meets.”

Storrer said after buying the business, friends and family pitched in to do cosmetic improvements to the building’s bathrooms, staff rooms, offices and floors. Storrer said they also added a pro shop.

“We called it Extreme Makeover: Gym Edition,” Storrer said. “We kept waiting for Ty Pennington to show up but he never did.”

The academy officially reopened June 7 and currently offers recreational and competitive gymnastics for ages 2 to 23, cheer tumbling classes and a rock-climbing wall. Storrer said they are in the process of developing an adult conditioning class, parent-taught classes and some classes just for boys.

For more information, call 733-6969 or visit


Left Right Left moves to Holly Street

Left Right Left, a men’s and women’s shoe retailer, has moved from the Gateway Building down the street to 113 W. Holly St., which was formerly The Grotto Hair Salon.

The store had been in the Gateway Building, which also houses Bob’s Burgers & Brew, since it opened in December 2005.

“It was a great spot for us to plant our roots and grow,” said owner Gretchen Bjork in a press release. “The decision to move was due to a variety of factors, mainly that the growing business is hungry for more space and street exposure.”

Bjork also owns the furniture store Digs. For more information, call 734-0660 or visit


Car Audio Plus now open on Sunset

Car Audio Plus, located at 1204 E. Sunset Drive in the same building as the Sunset Car Wash, is now open for business.

Owner Paul Luzius opened the custom car audio shop earlier this summer after scouring the market for a suitable location. The 3,000-square-foot space includes a retail area and a large bay that can fit up to six cars for installations.

Luzius moved the business here from Bend, Ore. He also offers window tinting, security systems and custom screening.

For more information, call 734-2910 or visit


New building under way in Barkley

The Barkley District will soon have a new office building, located at 1835 Barkley Blvd.

The 23,600-square-foot, two-story building was issued the go-ahead permit on Sept. 11. The estimated cost is $493,650.

So far, the only tenant lined up is the Dept. of Homeland Security, said John Arrigoni of the Barkley Company.

For more information, call 671-6450 or visit


TD Curran expands to open Everett location

TD Curran, a local Apple retailer and service specialist located at 4370 Meridian St., has expanded to open a new location inside the Everett Mall at 1402 S.E. Everett Mall Way.

TD Curran sells and services most Apple products from computers and storage devices to iPods. In addition, the business also hosts classes to help customers use certain Apple products such as iWork and Garage Band.

The new store is scheduled to open Oct. 1. For more information, call 594-3999.


DingBusters opens in Iowa Street location

A Bellingham man specializing in paintless dent repairs for the last 12 years has added a retail aspect to his business with the launch of DingBusters.

Bruce Halverson opened DingBusters on Aug. 4 at 2001 Iowa St. Suite E, across the street from Northwest Honda. The business will continue serving auto dealerships and auto body repair shops, but now is available to the general public.

Halverson said paintless dent repair is the art of repairing damaged car panels by manipulating the area of the panel to a factory-like condition without the use of paint or auto body fillers while retaining the integrity of the original paint finish.

“Paintless dent repair is only for minor dents, creases, door dings and hail damage,” Halverson said. “When appropriate, an experienced technician can use it for repairs that are completed within several hours rather than several days and at much less cost for car owners than at auto body repair shops.”

For more information, call 676-7654.


Evolutionary Enterprises opens in Gateway Centre

The Gateway Centre Executive Suites, located at 1313 E. Maple St., has a new arrival.

On Aug. 1, Evolutionary Enterprises, a subcontractor for Comcast, moved into Suite 236.

Peter Gibson, field director for Evolutionary Enterprises, said the company solicits Comcast services, such as digital cable, high-speed Internet, and digital phone service, to potential customers in the Bellingham area through phone calls and door-to-door sales.

“We’re just getting started but we are trying to get as many customers as we can,” Gibson said.

For more information, call 685-0172.


New family magazine launches in county

Whatcom County has a new free, family-oriented publication. Last month, Hoo Knows Family & Kids launched its first issue.

Marla and Steve Johanesen, owners and editors of the publication, said starting the magazine was really a leap of faith.

“We know that businesses need a reliable, high quality product to showcase their businesses to maximize their marketing dollars,” Marla said. “Thinking outside the box, we launched our first publication.”

The couple said their family was originally from the Bellingham area but moved to Louisiana recently just in time to weather Hurricane Katrina.

“We found out the things that were irreplaceable were our physical family, our children’s photographs and special letters from family,” Marla said. “Everything else was replaceable, even our computers.”

Soon after, the couple and their two young children returned to Bellingham with a new sense of purpose.

“We had grown and learned that we have so much more to do and offer the community,” Marla said.

Hoo Knows Family & Kids is a monthly publication that distributes 12,000 issues all over Whatcom County. The publication’s Web site has kids games, local events, parenting links and a list of advertisers and distributors.

The publication is part of a nationwide family of community-focused, digest-sized Hoo Knows magazines, which cover topics such as business, home and gardening, pets and food.

For more information, call 393-5234 or visit

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