Western Air leaves Bellingham airport

Western Airlines Inc. is saying goodbye to Bellingham International Airport less than three months after it began flight service. The company agreed to move out of the airport by April 6, and will no longer be a Port of Bellingham tenant, Port communications manager Carolyn Casey said.
   Western began flight service from the airport on Jan. 18 but ran into financial problems and suspended all flights on Feb. 7.
   According to Port documents, on March 19 the Port terminated a portion of Western’s lease for its ticketing and baggage area because the company ceased flight operations. On March 29, the company agreed to vacate its office space on Port-owned property after it fell behind in rent payments.
   Dawnell Fish, director of marketing and public relations for Western, said the company had been intending on moving out of Port property, anyway.
   “It’s hard for us to restructure, besides a number of things that go into play, when we’re paying for the most expensive real estate office space, so it’s been in the works for us to move anyway,” she said.
   Fish said Western is moving to a temporary new location, but could not say where until the space’s current occupants know they must leave.
   Fish said the company still intends to be operational again in the future.
   “We are continuing to clean house and put the company back together. The company will fly again,” she said. For more information, call Fish at 441-7975.

Fitness store to relocate, expand
   Fitness Gear Inc., a retail company for residential and corporate fitness equipment, is moving from its current location on 1311 Cornwall Ave. to 1432 Railroad Ave.
   Manager Zac Palmer said Fitness Gear will be expanding to include an individual private training studio in the new location. Palmer said the studio will allow for more personal one-on-one training than regular gyms.
   Palmer said the upgrade from a 2,500 square foot building to a 5,500-square-foot building will allow Fitness Gear and the staff of three to expand the retail aspect that caters to residential and commercial fitness equipment.
   Fitness Gear, which started in 1989, serves both Whatcom and Skagit Counties and is owned by Pat and Bob Palmer. For more information, call 360-671-5059 or visit www.fitnessgearinc.com.

Downtown frame shop pictures a new location
   Bellingham Frameworks, a custom picture framing business and gallery at 1426 Cornwall Ave., will soon move across the street to 1421 Cornwall Ave., where Georgie Girls is currently located.
   Owner Paul Hemminger said the new space, which is about half the size of his current one, will not include a gallery. He said that while business has been good, the gallery component was no longer viable.
   “It didn’t pay the bills,” he said. “The gallery didn’t work out and the (current) space isn’t the right size.”
   Hemminger, who has been in the framing business for 13 years and opened the store in October 2005, said the move will occur at the beginning of May. He said the space’s current tenant, Georgie Girls — a women’s clothing store — will relocate. The owner of Georgie Girls could not be reached for comment.
   “We’re playing musical businesses here,” Hemminger said. For more information, call 650-1001.

Bellingham Paper Zone to stay open
   Bellingham’s Paper Zone store will remain open after its Seattle-based parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this month. The company is $5.46 million in debt.
   Vice President Jim Nystrom said Paper Zone will continue operating all 10 of its Washington and Oregon stores, including the Bellingham location at 915 Iowa St.
   Nystrom said the company has is gradually returning to more of a paper scrap booking supplies focus.
   Bellingham’s store has seven employees, store manager Curtis Lawrence said. He added that sales are good and have been consistent since he began working there six months ago.

Neurosurgical Firm Finds a New Corner
   Fourth Corner Neurosurgical Associates, currently located at 2940 Squalicum Parkway has outgrown its current building and will be moving to a larger building at 710 Birchwood Avenue.
   Marilyn Masters, office manager at Fourth Corner, said the new building will be approximately 2,400 square feet, which will allow for the expansion of the practice to include neurosurgury, neurology, MRIs and the St. Joseph hospital’s Cascade Brain and Spine Center for physical therapy.
   Drs. David Baker, David Goldman, Michael Lawrence, and Barry Landau are all associates of the practice, and work with 12 other employees in the current 1,200-square-foot building. Masters said they will add more employees when they find out what they need in the new building.
   Forth Corner was established in 1987 and is the only neurosurgical center between the Canadian border and Everett.
   The new building will be open for business on April 23 and has plenty of parking, Masters said. For more information, call 676-0922.

New café to replace Wild Garlic
   The owner of a new neighborhood café located in the former Wild Garlic space hopes to have his restaurant open by May.
   Spencer Santenello bought the Wild Garlic from Greg Rapanos in March, and the restaurant, located at 114 Prospect St., is now closed. In the next few months he will remodel the space into the Prospect Street Café, which Santenello said will be a neighborhood restaurant to take a date to or go out to with friends after work.
   Santenello moved to Bellingham from Hawaii, where he spent 15 years as a chef. He plans to be the head chef, cook and owner of his new endeavor. Italian, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine will inspire the menu.
   “I want it to be a neighborhood restaurant you can come to anytime, and I want to serve great, well-crafted food featuring local ingredients at a good price point,” he said, adding that the restaurant will offer a range of prices.
   During the next few months, Santenello will reupholster, paint and clean the space. “We’re giving it a nice clean start and look,” he said.
   For more information, e-mail Santenello at ssantenello@mac.com.

Need help?
   SOS Office Solutions, LLC, has moved to a new location in the Dupont Professional Building, at 1200 Dupont St. Suite 2H.
   SOS began as a home-based business in 2004 after its founder, Lorena McLauchlin, noticed a gap in the local business services market, according to a press release.
   While attending a seminar at Whatcom Community College, McLauchlin learned that Bellingham has a high concentration of small businesses with fewer than five employees. McLauchlin, whose background includes 17 years in executive administration and bookkeeping for corporations like HP, Conair, Medical Resorts International and IKON, as well as two years as a full-time event planner, realized she’d found her next business.
   SOS services include business event planning, desktop publishing, resume preparation, writing business plans, implementing mailing campaigns, consulting, a notary service, and many of the other functions performed in large businesses by on-staff executive and administrative assistants.
   According to the press release, McLauchlin’s service is geared toward small business owners who need less than full-time administrative help, those who don’t want to bring an extra person onto the payroll, or home-based businesses who may not be set up to use a temporary worker from an agency.
   Along with the services SOS has been providing, the move into new quarters enables McLauchlin’s business the ability to offer clients access to office space, complete with computer, supplies, and full wireless capability.
   The company will mark the grand opening of its new office on Friday, April 20, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with a Bellingham Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.
   For more information, call 752-1562, or e-mail at Lorena@sos-officesolutions.com, or visit www.sos-officesolutions.com.

New quilt store opens on Cornwall Avenue
   Two Thimbles Quilt Shop will open downtown at 1805 Cornwall Ave., next door to Mobile Music, at the end of April.
   Owner Lee Glendening said it has always been her dream to open a shop devoted to quilting, and after 20 years in the banking industry, she decided it was time.
   The 2,000-square-foot shop will sell quilting fabric, sewing gear, patterns and books. It will also have a classroom where Glendening will offer quilting and sewing classes in the fall, she said. The store will also offer a Gammill quilting machine — a giant sewing machine for quilts — that customers will be able to rent.
   Glendening has lived in Bellingham for 10 years and worked as a compliance consultant for the banking industry, but has always had a quilting hobby. She minored in clothing textiles at Oregon State University.
   For more information, call 715-1629 or e-mail Glendening at leeg@twothimbles.com.

McKenzie Square gets first major tenant
   The owner of Fairhaven’s McKenzie Square has signed the development’s first commercial lease with the Department of Ecology’s Bellingham office.
   Employees at the downtown department, located at 1204 Railroad Ave., were outgrowing the space, said Washington state property and acquisitions specialist Andrew Jenkins. The 12,360-square-foot space on the main floor of McKenzie Square, located at 1440 10th St., will more than double the department’s space, he said.
   The department will completely move out of its downtown office into the Fairhaven location by July 1, Jenkins said.
   McKenzie Square owner Troy Muljat said two spaces remain available in the building. One is 2,000 square feet, the other is 2,600 square feet.
   For more information, call Muljat at 820-2000.

Fairhaven rocks out
   Coda Musical Instruments recently opened in Ste. 104 at Fairhaven’s Sycamore Square. The business — owned by Jeremy Larsen and his wife, Laurel — opened in early March. The store buys and sells a variety of musical instruments, including guitars, hand drums, horns, violins and violas.
   “I’ll accept pretty much anything, so long as I can resell it for more than I bought it for,” Jeremy said. The 30-year-old is a volunteer firefighter and a 2004 graduate of Western Washington University who has played both guitar and bass since he was 10-years-old.
   While he said he holds nothing but respect for the philosophy department at Western, his degree in the subject left him with few career options.
   “What else are you going to do with a degree in philosophy?” he asked. “I was weighing my career options, and this sounded like the most fun.”
   Jeremy added that he has appreciated the support he has received from local businesses during the opening process — especially his neighbors in Sycamore Square. For more information, call Coda at 714-8303, or e-mail codainstruments@gmail.com.

Local photographer to open downtown darkroom
   A local photographer is opening a gallery and darkroom at 310 W. Champion St.
   Chris Fuller, whose photographs have appeared in What’s Up! Magazine and Cascadia Weekly hopes The Darkroom will be open by the middle of April.
   Fuller said he has wanted to see a combined gallery and darkroom space in the downtown for several years. Customers will be able to rent space to develop and print both color and black-and-white photography in the 1,000-square-foot space.
   For more information call 961-3860.

Online tutoring company opens its electronic doors
   Partners Eric Kean and Owen Emlen recently opened the electronic doors of an online business designed to help elite students get to the next level. The locally based company, My Elite Tutor (www.myelitetutor.com), was an idea the two men developed over the past year, Kean said.
   The business employs the efforts of approximately 10 tutors — including several instructors based locally with ties to Western Washington University (WWU) and Whatcom Community College, Kean said. Other tutors hail from around the United States, including as far away as New York and Boston.
   Kean, a math instructor at WWU, said the company is in the process of spreading the word.
   “We’re trying to target students who want to get into top-tier schools,” he said. This includes helping students with Advanced Placement and SAT exams. “Our little marketing spiel is that all of our tutors are either Ivy League-caliber graduates, or they are Ph.D.s, or they teach at universities.”
   The company utilizes one-on-one communication software designed so students and tutors interact in real-time. The system includes an application-sharing program that allows students and teachers to work on the same project simultaneously.
   Each tutoring session lasts one hour and the cost per session varies according to a tutor’s qualifications and experience. For a tutor who is at the bachelor’s level from an Ivy League level school, the cost is $39.95 per session. For a tutor at the master’s level from an Ivy League-level school, the cost is $64.95 per session. For a tutor at the Ph.D. level or with a law degree, or for a tutor who holds a position at a U.S. university or college, the cost is $89.95 per session. For more information, visit www.myelitetutor.com.

Blaine fish processing plant gets new owners
   Smoki Foods’ Cypress Island Seafood’s fish processing plant has a new home in the K-C Fish Company location in Blaine, according to a press release.
   The Port of Bellingham’s Board of Commissioners approved the transfer of the K-C Fish Company lease to Cypress Island Seafood, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle Washington-based Smoki Foods, this month. Operations are scheduled to begin in early April.
     Cypress Island Seafood purchased the K-C Fish Company, which had been a port tenant in Blaine Harbor since 1962.
     As part of the transaction, Cypress Island Seafood agreed to pay K-C Fish for its business and improvements. The current port lease will allow Cypress Island Seafood to be in the facility until at least 2022 with options to extend.
     The new company, Cypress Island Seafood, plans to employ 35 people at start up and projects to be employing as many as 75 by its third year of operation.
     Cypress Island Seafood is a limited liability company owned by Rodger May, who also is a co-owner with his wife Lisa in Seattle-based Smoki Foods Incorporated.
   At startup, Cypress Island Seafood plans to process crab, salmon, halibut, and bottom fish. Mike Ordal, who has had over 30 years experience with the previous owners, will be the plant manager.
   Realty office opens downtown
   BuyerTours Realty LLC recently opened for business at 1313 E. Maple St., Ste. 234. The Bellingham-based firm, which is owned by Glenn Sanford, includes 12 employees.
   The new realty company’s founding members all came from Keller Williams Realty last year, Sanford said. According to Sanford, those members sold approximately $55 million in real estate in 2006 with Keller Williams, including $30,000,000 in direct sales of properties in Whatcom County.
   “This is a completely new company,” Sanford said. “We’ve all stepped out of Keller Williams.”
   He said the new business primarily deals with single-family residential sales, followed by multi-family and commercial listings. Sanford said Bellingham is just the first step: BuyerTours plans to open a second office in Seattle in April, followed by another one in Phoenix. In fact, Sanford said the business already has a presence — primarily in the form of Web sites and real estate teams — in Seattle, Portland, Ore., Phoenix, Nashville, Tenn., and Las Vegas.
   “I built the Web sites in those cities,” he said. “We have the top-ranked real estate Web sites in Whatcom County on Google and Yahoo. We work primarily with people (using the Internet) to relocate here — people moving here that have been researching Bellingham and Whatcom County via the Internet.”
   For more information on BuyerTours Realty LLC visit www.buyertoursrealty.com or call Sanford at (360) 220-1470.

Let the healing begin
   Dr. Summer Beattie, a naturopathic physician, recently opened One Healing Integrated Medical Center at 3410 Woburn St., Ste. 202. Beattie — a family medicine doctor — said the clinic specializes in naturopathic medicine and women’s health issues.
   “My philosophy of healing precludes that I look more at cause versus just treating symptoms,” she said. “So I’m looking at diet and lifestyle modifications and any type of other environmental or community stresses that might be contributing to the adverse health conditions.”
   Beattie, a graduate of naturopathic medical school Bastyr University in Seattle, also holds degrees in exercise science and psychology. She has practiced massage therapy since 1996, and she said she is an experienced educator in the areas of massage and exercise. She grew up in rural southeast Alaska, and moved to Bellingham with her husband in August 2005.
   For more information, visit www.onehealingimc.com, or call 483-3737.

New bookstore fills a void
   When Pioneer Books recently closed in Ferndale, the window of opportunity opened for the city’s newest bookstore, Inspirations Books and Gifts. The business, at 1730 LaBounty Drive, Ste 7 (near Cost Cutter), recently started operations under the ownership of Annette Chapin.
   The business primarily offers patrons coffee products and used books, as well as assorted gifts and wares from local artists. The site also includes a reading area where customers can relax and read.
   “It’s very exciting,” said Chapin. “It’s nice to have something like this so people don’t have to drive all the way to Bellingham.”
   For more information, call 312-8038.

Local home center to expand
   Buyer’s Market is expanding by adding an adjacent warehouse to the store on the corner of Iowa and Woburn streets.
   Owner Andy Brauner said construction would begin immediately on the 6,000-square-foot warehouse. His store, located at 2111 Iowa St., sells a variety of home products, such as flooring, doors, hardware, plumbing, kitchen and bath materials, as well as discounted product lines.
   Brauner opened the 12,000-square-foot store in 2002. He said the new warehouse is needed for merchandise that no longer fits in the current building. He expects to complete the warehouse in three months.
   With the expansion, Brauner said he will be able to import more merchandise and will likely begin selling bulk items to contractors.
   For more information, call 752-2897.

Insurance company opens in Ferndale
   Allstate Insurance Company recently opened a new agency in Ferndale. Owned and operated by agent Annette Booth, the agency offers a varied line of products and services, including auto, property, commercial and life insurance. 
   Booth comes to Allstate with a background in fundraising and public service, having worked for the Washington State Congressional delegation for more than 10 years. A Washington native, Booth is a volunteer and board member for the Northwest Therapeutic Riding Center in Bellingham and is a member of the Whatcom County Backcountry Horseman, The Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, and Conservation Northwest.
   The Booth Insurance Agency, Inc., is located at 1794 La Bounty Drive. The agency can be reached at 312-1235 or by e-mail at AnnetteBooth@allstate.com.

Tony’s perks up in Irongate
   Tony’s Coffee & Teas, Inc., keeps on growing, and now the business needs more room.
   The wholesale coffee roasting company — which is not affiliated with Tony’s Coffee House or Tony’s Coffee Drive Thru in Bellingham — supplies espresso bars, coffeehouses, cafes, restaurants, grocery stores (both bulk and valve bag programs), food service distributors and office-coffee accounts primarily throughout the Northwest. It currently has a roasting facility at 2033 Division St. in Bellingham, as well as distribution and training centers in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.
   To accommodate the company’s growth, Tony’s will take over the 9,800-square-foot warehouse and office building it currently shares with Borders & Son Quality Roofing, said Rusty Laird, project manager with Com-Steel. Com-Steel is working on a new 6,000-square-foot building that the roofing business will occupy. The new building — estimated to cost approximately $219,000 —should be completed by mid-summer, Laird said.

Meridian home store expanding
   My Northwest Home is adding another 1,000 square feet to its Kellogg Road home store.
   Owner Jeff Chance and his business partner Bob Putich opened the store at 155 and 157 W. Kellogg Road in the Blossom Commons shopping center in July and are expanding the 2,000-square-foot store into suite 159. The store specializes in lighting, home theater systems, home office and barstool products.
   Chance said the remodel of the new space will take several months, but that it is open for business during the process.
   For more information, call 647-1227 or e-mail Chance at mynorthwesthome@gmail.com.

Meridian financial services firm doubles its size
   Waddell & Reed will increase its Meridian Street office space by 50 percent after expanding into its former neighbor’s space.
   Located at 4164 Meridian St., Suite 104, the company will expand into Neighborhood Mortgage’s former office space, in Suite 100, at the front of the building and will relocate its main entrance to that area. Neighborhood Mortgage recently moved to Bakerview Square.
   Managing principal and senior financial advisor Tim Goering said the financial services business has steadily grown in the last 10 years, and will add four or five new financial advisors in the near future, as well as a few more administrative personnel.
   The company is remodeling both spaces in phases so the business can stay open during the process, which Goering said he hopes will be completed by the end of June.
   Waddell & Reed is a national, 70-year-old company based in Shawnee Mission, Kan. For more information, call 734-4728.

Gather around
   Gathering Glass Designs recently opened for business at 929 State St.
   The store sells glass sculpture, including wine glasses and smoke-related accoutrements, jewelry, clothing, paintings, and art, all made by local artists, co-owner Matt Vergien said.
   The three owners, Vergien, Jake Colito and Aaron Witzel, all blow glass in a separate studio and make 90 percent of their store’s merchandise.
   Originally from Hawaii, Vergien moved to Bellingham eight years ago to attend Western Washington University and liked the area so much he decided to stay.
   For more information, call 739-1155.

Luck be a lady tonight at new tattoo destination
   A new tattoo shop recently opened above the Nightlight Lounge.
   Lucky Lady Too, located at 1201 N. State St., Suite B, is the second tattoo shop owned by Jeff Randell and tattoo artist Chucho Garcia. The two opened The Lucky Lady Tattoo on 3rd Aveenue in Ferndale in 2005 and were the original owners of Old School Tattoo on West Holly Street, which they sold in 2001.
   Randell said the 1,400-square-foot space is in an ideal location — at the hub of various downtown bars and nightclubs, with which Randell said he’d like to do some cross promotions.
   “That’s where the crowd is that’s out during the evening, we thought it would be a good place to set up shop,” he said.
   Garcia has 20 years experience in the old-school style of tattoo artistry, and the shop employs three other tattoo artists with their own style niches, as well as two peircers.
   For more information, call 676-1656.

Time for a new clockmaking business
   Nelu Gheorghita, a clockmaker with more than 25 years of experience, recently opened Time Concepts in Bellingham.
   The business creates custom grandfather, mantel and in-the-wall (built-in) clocks.
   “Clocks have become an integral part of interior design,” Gheorghita said. “They can be a focal point of a room or reflect the interests of the residents.”
   Time Concepts also repairs clocks and watches and restores antique timepieces. It is the only authorized service center in Whatcom County for Howard Miller clocks. Gheorghita works on grandfather clocks at the sites of customers so they’re not damaged by attempts to move them. He operates the business out of his home.
   Gheorghita moved to Bellingham from Loma Linda, Calif., where he owned and operated Nell’s Time Shop for 16 years.
   For more information, call Time Concepts at 734-6900.



Related Stories