Erin Baker moved her business as part of an expansion, but just as important to her is it's now in a place where she can form deeper ties with the community.
Baker's company, Erin Baker's Wholesome Baked Goods, recently moved to 427 Ohio St., near Cash & Carry and Bellingham High School. The 30,000-square-foot facility is twice as big as its former spot off Meridian Street, while its retail store has increased to 800 square feet.
The retail store, she hopes, will become a place where customers regularly stop by. Along with the products, such as the oatmeal and the Baker's Breakfast Cookies, Baker is selling the raw ingredients that are used in her products, including unusual items such as chia seeds and puffed quinoa.
"I'm selling raw ingredients to educate, inspire and engage people into using whole food ingredients," said Baker, who has spent time on Twitter posting every meal she's eaten for the past four years. "I've learned to use these ingredients to bake and cook across my meal spectrum, and I want to show that to people."
Baker views the new location as a place to meet more people in the community, something that was a challenge at the Meridian facility.
"This is a huge change for us," Baker said. "(On Meridian) we were hiding in an alley."
Showing people that eating healthy doesn't have to be complicated has been Baker's goal since starting her company in 1994. The breakfast cookies, which she describes as a "portable bowl of oatmeal," are distributed in about 35 states in thousands of stores. The company now makes about 70,000 breakfast cookies and 30,000 bags of granola a week.
"I wanted to help make the connection that what you put in your mouth really affects your health," Baker said. "We're not a huge food company machine; this is a labor of love for me, and always will be."
One of her causes is making sure children in particular get something healthy to eat. The company donates 3,000 cookies a month to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County. That total increases to 5,000 a month during the summer as children spend more time at the facility. With her Healthy Start Foundation, Baker plans to continue expanding the program by branching out to the state.
"As a board member, I'm extremely grateful to Baker's Cookies. They make a point of providing that nutritious snack to children who need it the most," said Terri Salstrom, president-elect of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County corporate board.
The bigger facility is also giving the company a chance to introduce new flavors. That's starting now and will continue into the beginning of 2013.
"There are big things to come," Baker said.
The retail store is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A grand opening celebration is in the planning stages. Further details about the company can be found at bbcookies.com.
NEW CUPCAKE PLACE OPENING THIS WEEK
A new store in north Bellingham is nearly ready to treat customers to custom cupcakes.
Cupcakes Like It Sweet is expected to open this week at 103 E. Stuart Road, in the retail center next to the Walmart parking lot. Along with a variety of cupcakes made fresh each morning, owner Heather Hellyer plans to offer cookies, chocolate tort cake and Everson's Orca Bay Coffee. She also plans to have her own brand of hot chocolate.
Hellyer said she got hooked on baking cupcakes and has spent time perfecting her recipes, trying to find ways to keep cupcakes moist throughout the day. She also tries to add in unique ingredients - she'll use Valrhono French chocolate, as well as make her own sprinkles and marshmallows.
She plans on selling her desserts for events such as weddings and bridal showers but also expects plenty of drive-by traffic by being in a busy part of town. As she's putting the finishing touches on the store, she's already getting people stopping by and looking in.
"I'm seeing a lot of smiles, so that's a good sign," Hellyer said.
Once open, store hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For details, visit cupcakeslikeitsweet.com or call 360-306-8333.
Dashi Noodle Bar has closed its Unity Street location in preparation for the move into its new spot at the Dahlquist Building on North State Street (near D'Anna's Cafe Italiano). According to a post on its website, the restaurant plans on being in its new space in September. Starting next week, Dashi will continue to be at the Fairhaven and Bellingham farmer's markets (Wednesdays and Saturdays) as well as various summer events.
Avenue Bread announced that it is going to be open for dinner at its James Street eatery starting in August.
Heroes Resource, a comics, games and toy store, recently opened in Lynden at 103 3rd St. Details about the company can be found on its Facebook page.
A Bellingham building permit application was filed to convert office space into a pizza restaurant at 215 W. Holly St.
At 1306 Lakeway Drive, an application was submitted to reconfigure the Subway restaurant.
At 3120 Howe Place (in the Barkley District) an application was filed to build a two-story, 5,796-square-foot dental office.
A permit was issued for tenant improvement work at 405 32nd St., Suite 201, to put in a financial services company called Fairhaven Financial.
A permit was issued for 4285 Meridian St., Suite 103, to do $100,000 of interior remodel work for the existing Starbucks.
Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at email@example.com or call 715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.