The Buzz


Bellingham Bells under new ownership

Spokane-based Brett Sports and Entertainment, led by Bobby Brett and his brother, Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett, recently acquired the Bellingham Bells baseball team from local owner Tony Larson for an undisclosed amount.

The Brett family has a long history of running baseball clubs and currently operates four sports franchises, including the Spokane Indians Baseball Club and the Tri-City Dust Devils Baseball Club.

“We are excited to become part of the Bellingham community,” said Bobby Brett in a press release. “Joe Martin Stadium, with its recent renovations, is a very nice ballpark and we look forward to providing the people of Bellingham affordable family entertainment in that ballpark.”

Though the new owners have yet to finalize a lease with the city for the stadium, they have indicated in a revised facility use agreement that they will invest a minimum of $50,000 on stadium improvements within the next two years.

“We always heard about what a nice little ballpark Joe Martin Field is,” Brett said during a press conference Jan. 28. “I said to myself, ‘that can be a great little ballpark.’ We’re looking forward to what Joe Martin Stadium can be down the road.”

Larson, who has owned the team since 2001, said he will continue to support the team as a season ticket holder. Opening day is scheduled for June 6.

For more information, call 746-0406.


Allegiant Air makes Whatcom County a home base

Officials from Allegiant Air, LLC announced that beginning March 1, the low-cost carrier will make Whatcom County an official “home,” basing two 150-seat MD-80 series jet aircraft at the airport and employing more than 80 team members to handle the operation.

Until now, Allegiant had not based any of its planes in Bellingham. The airline has only five other bases in the United States and flies to more than 50 cities. Bellingham will be the airline’s first small city base, said Allegiant spokesperson Tyri Squyres.

Since beginning service at Bellingham International Airport in 2004, Las Vegas-based Allegiant has grown the number of weekly departures from four to 14 and the number of destinations from one to four.

In August 2004, Allegiant began four-day-a-week nonstop service to Las Vegas, from Bellingham. Since then, Allegiant has expanded its flights from Bellingham to Las Vegas to 14 per week and has added nonstop service to Palm Springs, Calif., Reno, Nev., and Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.

Allegiant is seeking customer service agents, ground operation agents and aircraft maintenance personnel to assist in the Bellingham operations. Airframe and powerplant mechanic positions are also available. For more information, visit


Wells Fargo is set to expand in Fairhaven

Wells Fargo will open a new wealth management center and expand its business banking office in Fairhaven.

Wells Fargo plans to double its office size by adding 1,800 square feet to its Business Banking offices at 1310 10th St. in Harris Square, giving the office a total of 3,300 square feet of space.

Bellingham business banking manager Todd Sewell and wealth management group regional manager Peggy Zoro will lead teams of wealth management specialists and business bankers there, along with a private banker, a private mortgage banker, four business banking relationship managers and two business associates.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by early April. For more information, call 650-5394.


Our House Deli closes its doors

Our House Deli and Catering closed recently.

A letter on the front door of the restaurant, located at 2301 James St., reads as follows:

“To our valued customers, thank you for your business over the last 13 years. We wish we could remain open and support our community. Sorry for the lack of notice.”

The owners could not be reached for comment. Our House Deli was just awarded in this issue of the BBJ as the “best for a business lunch.”

The letter on the door also says that the space is for sale or lease. For more information, call 303-9388.


Collective Intelligence Solutions focuses on collaboration

Former Valhalla Marine owner Hamilton Hayes has started a new consulting business, Collective Intelligence Solutions, with partner Robert Bystrom.

The primary focus of the company’s consulting and training is to teach “question-driven thinking,” an approach to collaborative group interaction that Hayes said improves productivity.

“In most meetings, there are lots of declarative remarks,” he said. “Question-driven thinking results in more listening and understanding and fundamentally changes the group dynamic.”

Hayes semi-retired from the high-tech field in 2005 and started a charter service, Valhalla Marine, in April 2006, but recently decided to go back to consulting work.

Bystrom has worked as a business consultant for several years. For more information, call 319-1936 or visit


Interstyle Ceramic & Glass expands into United States

A Canadian tile manufacturing company is opening a new facility in Blaine.

Interstyle Ceramic & Glass, which has been manufacturing custom tiles in Canada for 30 years, began moving the ceramic making portion of its company from its headquarters in Burnaby, B.C. to a 44,000-square-foot facility on Odell Street in Blaine in January. The facility was formerly a cold storage warehouse.

Due to the recent rise in demand for glass tiles, the company decided to split the glass and ceramic sides of the company and rebrand each, said co-owner Kim Hauner. The glass tile manufacturing will remain in Canada under the name Intersyle Glass and the new ceramic manufacturing facility in Blaine will be called Interstyle Clay Company.

Hauner said relocating the ceramic facility to the United States may help boost sales here, where the company already does most of its business.

“Interestingly, we don’t sell much of our product here in Canada,” Hauner said.

Interstyle Ceramic & Glass currently employs 200 people and would potentially employ up to 50 people at the Blaine facility. For more information, call the Burnaby facility at 604-421-7229 or the Blaine facility at 360-332-1800.


A+ Mortgage moves to new office

A+ Mortgage has moved from its old location at 1616 Cornwall St. to a new office at 2500 Elm St. Suite 14.

Chuck Christensen, one of three loan officers in the office, said the new office, though it’s smaller, suits the staff better than the old one.

“This office has a lot better parking and it’s a better location,” Christensen said. “Plus we have street frontage.”

A+ Mortgage is headquartered in Tukwila, Wash., and has more than 50 offices around the Northwest. For more information, call 671-1063.


Tourism, ETC host Olympics workshops

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and Evergreen Team Concepts ( are proud to present the BWCT 2010 Service Initiative in advance of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and Evergreen Team Concepts are collaborating to present the BWCT 2010 Service Initiative that asks “Is your business ready for the 2010 Olympics?” Beginning with the Kickoff event on Thursday, Fe. 21, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Evergreen Team Concepts will be hosting the Bellingham/Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce’s Business after Business. The Service Initiative strives to make all businesses ready for the Vancouver/Whistler Winter Olympics. All those interested are welcome to attend this event which includes live jazz, hors d’oeuvres, hourly presentations, networking and thousands of dollars in door prizes.

In two short years, the world is coming to the Pacific Northwest to attend the Winter Olympics. Businesses in the area stand to reap a windfall. The best prepared companies stand to gain the most. The BWCT 2010 Service Initiative is vital to that preparation.

Participants commit to four training workshops each year. In addition, the Service Initiative benefits include the following 2008 events.

In March, Henry Beeland will map out “Developing a Plan for Success.” In June, Frank Keck leads a workshop in “Building Successful Customer Relationships” and on June 4, the networking luncheon, the “HAMFLAP” event, occurs.

In the fall, Evan Glassett presents a workshop in September on “Image Management” and in November, Henrik Rosvall will conclude 2008 with a workshop on “Cultural Diversity and Practices.” Gold, Silver and Bronze BWCT 2010 Service Initiative sponsorships are available for businesses and organizations to receive premiums such as logo recognition at BWCT 2010 Service Initiative events, additional press coverage, and multiple admissions to training events. Call Evergreen Team Concepts for more information on sponsorships.

Contact Dave Hiller, Evergreen Team Concepts, at 647-6922, or e-mail him at


Mount Bakery under new ownership

The Mount Bakery has a new owner.

Vincent Lalonde purchased the 8-year-old business from Olivier Vrambout in December after working as the full-time manager of the bakery and café for a year and a half. Lalonde has worked there on and off for seven years. When Vrambout decided to move to Minnesota last year, Lalonde offered to take over, he said.

The eatery’s staff and menu will stay mostly the same, with a few small changes and refinements, Lalonde said.

“All the things people love about the Mount Bakery will stay exactly the same,” he said.

Lalonde hopes to begin accepting credit cards soon and is improving pricing consistency. He has also created kitchen, baking and wait- staff management positions and said employees now have clearer expectations and customers will have more predictability coming into the bakery.

The bakery also will expand its hours later into the evening starting this spring or summer, he said. For more information about the bakery at 309 W. Champion St., visit


Northwest Computer featured in Microsoft video

Microsoft Corporation is featuring Bellingham’s Northwest Computer in a new promotional video for Windows Vista, the Redmond-based PC Software manufacturer’s recently released operating system. Part of Microsoft’s “Buy Local” program which features successful independent computer manufacturers around the United States, the video was shot in September in both the company’s retail store and corporate headquarters.

The video features Northwest Computer’s retail manager Chris Johnson and VP for business development Ethan D’Onofrio and is focused on the company’s Blue Mountain brand laptop computers.

Northwest Computer has manufactured computers under the Blue Mountain brand name since 2001 and sales of the PCs have exceeded 10,000 units.

In other news, Northwest Computer was selected by Apple Computer to be an authorized reseller and service center for Apple computers, iPods and accessories. The company will also offer complete diagnostic and repair services for Mac desktops and laptops.


Unemployment rises slightly in December

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.8 percent in December from November’s 4.7 percent rate, according to the state Employment Security Department.

At the same time, Washington’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 7,100.

For all of 2007, the unemployment rate averaged 4.7 percent, putting 2007 in the history books as the lowest annual jobless rate for the state since these data began being compiled in 1976.

“Washington’s record year of low unemployment, even when a lot of the nation is seeing set-backs, shows that we’re making good decisions and doing right by businesses in this state,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire.  “It is heartening to go into a new year with such a strong economy.”

Professional and business services surged in December, posting a 3,100 job gain, the largest monthly increase since December 2000.  Other industries with the largest job growth in December were leisure and hospitality, with 1,600 new jobs, transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 1,300, and manufacturing, with 1,000 new jobs.

The weakest major industry sectors were retail trade, down 1,700, and financial activities, down 600.

“It’s amazing that we saw such strong job growth in December, even though hundreds of people were put out of work by the storm disaster early in the month,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. “Anyone who needs help finding a new job should contact their local WorkSource office and let us help.”

Since December 2006, 77,200 net new jobs have been created in Washington.  Overall, non-agricultural job growth increased by 2.7 percent, compared to a national rate increase of 1 percent.

An estimated 165,700 people (not seasonally adjusted) currently are unemployed and seeking work in Washington.  Job seekers are encouraged to get assistance online at and at local WorkSource offices.

Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC) announced today that its market access project, a regional network of agricultural growers and producers, retailers and food service, along with key infrastructure components for processing, storage, and transportation has received federal funding.

The $400,000 funding, approved as part of the 2007 U.S. Department of Commerce appropriation, will provide initial capital to hire the program manager, build an Internet-based network to house the communications system, and promote the program to those involved in Puget Sound area agriculture whether consumers or growers or those businesses in between such as processors, distributors, restaurants, food service operators or food product manufacturers.

Initially organizers will place special emphasis on recruiting growers in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties, NABC’s service area.

“We are grateful to Washington’s elected officials, especially Sen.Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen, for securing this funding for the program.  The market access project will serve a vital purpose helping rebuild Puget Sound’s fractured food system.

“With increasing demand for local food at all levels from individual consumers to corporate cafeterias, information about who is growing what, when, in what quantity can only increase in importance,” said Keith Stocker, NABC’s board president.

David Bauermeister, NABC’s Executive Director explained, “Our first step is to get a first rate project manager on board. To this end we’ve just released the position description and hope to have hiring complete and the new staff person on board by March 1.

The project manager’s first task is to secure partnerships with our collaborators in public and private organizations and businesses, then we’ll be ready to launch the project and enlist broad participation in a series of community meetings.”

Those interesting in participating in the program should e-mail NABC at or call 336-3727.

For a copy of the project manager job description visit


IndyMac to move to Iowa Street

The IndyMac office in Barkley Village will soon relocate to Iowa Street.

Six IndyMac employees will move into the office at 1756 Iowa St., said branch manager Glenn Wielick. The Iowa Street office was home to Bellingham’s other IndyMac branches before the two branch’s consolidated employees.

Both offices used to be American Home Mortgage branches before that company closed in August and IndyMac Bancorp Inc. offered employment to both branches. Since then, several employees have left.

“There were some people that left, but the core group is still together,” Wieleck said.

Wielick said the employees decided to move because the Barkley branch’s lease had expired and the Iowa Street space was available. For more information, call 671-0848.


Larsen to speak at border conference

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2) is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the 2008 General Assembly meeting of the International Mobility and Trade Corridor Project.

The group will converge Feb. 21 at the Best Western Lakeway Inn. Topics of discussion will focus on cross-border travel and trade. Representatives from federal, provincial and state agencies will be available for questions during the conference.


Drake Building to get another tenant

Scansource Inc., a distributor of barcode products and retail point-of-sale terminals, is planning to make a minor move within the Barkley District.

The company is already located in the Barkley District at 2211 Rimland Drive Suite 201, but will move to 3111 Newmarket St. Suite 108 in the new Drake Building as soon as March. The new space is 700 square feet, 200 square feet smaller than the company’s current space. The new space is also located on prime streetfront property and is closer to neighboring amenities than the current second-floor suite.

“Now I’ll be closer to Starbucks,” said Pete Pleas, business development manager for Scansource.

Scansource is an international company headquartered in South Carolina. The company’s Bellingham office has three employees. For more information, call 800-944-2439 x2651.


K Nails to open this month

Dam Pham and his wife, Ngan Nguyen are putting the finishing touches on their new nail salon, K Nails & Spa, and hope to open soon.

The 1,000-square-foot salon is located at 105 E. Stuart Road, in the shopping center in front of Wal-Mart along Meridian Street. Services will include nail treatments, spa pedicures, waxing and facials. Nguyen worked at Personal Touch Salon for four years before deciding to open her own shop.

Dam also works as an independent Vietnamese language translator for the Whatcom County Courthouse. For more information, call 961-4967.


All American Marine launches NOAA vessel

All American Marine launched its first vessel of the new year January 15 from its Fairhaven waterfront location at 200 Harris Ave.

The vessel, which will be christened the R/V Manta, is the fifth research vessel the company has built for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“It’s also the largest research vessel that we’ve built,” said AAM spokesman Joe Hudspeth.

The 82-foot-long R/V Manta will be based in Galveston, Texas and serve the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary located 100 miles offshore.

During the next few weeks, the boat will undergo sea trials by the company, NOAA and Teknicraft Designs, a boat design company in New Zealand that is working with AAM to design ultra-low wake wash catamarans.

The vessel should be ready for delivery by mid-February, Hudspeth said.

In the meantime, the company will continue working on two NOAA survey launch boats, which are slated for delivery in March. For more information, call 647-7602, ext. 3003.


Franklin Corp. moving to Ferndale

Franklin Corp., currently located in offices in Sunnyland Square on James Street, is readying to move to Ferndale in March.

The company, which specializes in commercial construction and tenant improvements, will move to 6459 Portal Way after extensively remodeling its new building, said president Myles Donnelly.

The company has experienced significant growth in the last three years, having worked on such projects as Sunnyland Square and Trader Joe’s, Birch Bay Square and Gaston Bay, he said.

Donnelly said they chose to relocate to Ferndale because of the city’s more affordable real estate prices.

Franklin Corp. started 18 years ago and now has 36 employees. For more information, call 733-7200.


Bellingham Marine enters into strategic partnership

Bellingham-based Bellingham Marine Industries and Singapore-based Keppel Land International have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to enter into a strategic partnership where Bellingham Marine will design and construct premier marinas within Keppel Land’s waterfront properties in Singapore.

Under the agreement, Bellingham Marine will provide Keppel Land with design, project management and construction expertise for marinas, the first being Marina at Keppel Bay, located within the Keppel Bay precinct, Singapore.

Bellingham Marine has installed more than 16.5 million square feet of docks throughout the world. For more information, call 676-2800.


Studio 225 moving upstairs

Studio 225, a hair salon located at 1240 E. Maple St. Suite 104, will be moving upstairs to Suite 201.

Though the new suite is a tad smaller than the current 900-square-foot space, owner Yong Choi said the floor plan will allow her to personalize the space more than the current location.

Choi said she is waiting for a final permit from the city before moving. She said she expects the process to take a few more weeks.

The whole process has been fairly easy, Choi said, mostly because she owns the building.

She is currently looking to rent out Suite 104, where Studio 225 first opened for business three years ago.

For more information, call 756-8225


Bellingham Marine enters into strategic partnership

Bellingham-based Bellingham Marine Industries and Singapore-based Keppel Land International have signed a memorandum of understanding to enter into a strategic partnership where Bellingham Marine will design and construct premier marinas within Keppel Land’s waterfront properties in Singapore.

Under the agreement, Bellingham Marine will provide Keppel Land with design, project management and construction expertise for marinas, the first being Marina at Keppel Bay, located within the Keppel Bay precinct, Singapore.

Bellingham Marine has installed more than 16.5 million square feet of docks throughout the world. For more information, call 676-2800.


Moving & Storage Solutions will head to Ferndale

Moving & Storage Solutions, Inc., an agent for Rhode Island-based Arpin Van Lines, has moved to a temporary Bellingham location while they build a new warehouse in Ferndale.

The company moved from a 6,000-square-foot warehouse at 4600 Guide Meridian, where it had been located for 10 years, to a 20,000-square-foot warehouse at 468 W. Horton Road, near Madrona Medical Group, in order to meet the growing need of their customers.

The full-service moving and storage company will stay there for the next six to seven months while Faber Brothers Construction builds them a new 20,000-square-foot warehouse in Stonegate Park, just off I-5, north of Slater Road in Ferndale.

Owners Kim and David Powell started the company in 1995. For more information, call 676-5267 or visit


Edgewater Condos get the go-ahead

The Edgewater condos located at 472 S. State St. received their go-ahead permit on Dec. 21 after months of waiting.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Lynda Hinton, one of the listing agents for the project.

The 16-unit building will sit on the last remaining undeveloped lot on the bluff above Boulevard Park. Foundation work is currently underway and the project should be completed this year, Hinton said. She expects to start taking reservations for the two-bedroom, 2,400-square-foot units in February. Asking price is more than $1 million, Hinton said.

For more information, call 303-1023.


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