The Lummi Nation's newest retail center is creating an interesting blend of business and education.
Last week the Lummi Gateway Center had an official opening for its retail building on Rural Avenue near Interstate 5 and the Slater Road exit. The center, which had a soft opening earlier this year, is home to the Schelangen Seafood Market, Lummi Gateway Café, Lummi Gateway Arts and Crafts and Tribal Images.
The Lummi Nation acquired the property in 2004, and the center came about through a variety of partners, including the Lummi Ventures Partnership and the Northwest Area Foundation. The center is being operated as a nonprofit by the Lummi Nation Service Organization.
The Lummi Gateway Center shares the property with the Lummi Commercial Company, which has a separate building for 260 Tobacco and Fine Spirits.
Along with being a retail center, providing some unique products to consumers, it also has a business incubator component. Tribal members are being trained at the current businesses, while the center has seven spaces available for potential business startups. Those involved in the incubator program will receive support services from an expert as well as some equipment to help get started.
To be eligible for the incubator program, the entrepreneur needs to either be a tribal member or employ some tribal members, said Melanie Solomon, the communications and outreach coordinator at the center.
The goal with the incubator businesses is to grow them into being successful at the center, and eventually growing into independent businesses with separate storefronts, said Solomon. Tribal Images, which sells art, is an example of an incubator business that recently opened.
Along with being a training incubator for businesses and workers, the center's goal is to be an authentic cultural experience for visitors, Solomon said. The arts and crafts store, for example, has 57 tribal artists selling artwork on consignment, while the fish market includes seafood caught by Lummi tribal members.
Here are some details on each of the businesses:
The Schelangen Seafood Market (Schelangen means the Lummi Way of Life) sells a variety of fresh seafood caught by Lummi members as well as other Northwest tribes. Product selection will vary during the year, but includes sockeye salmon, king salmon, crab, oysters, clams and prawns.
Sales at the market have steadily grown, with it being particularly busy around summer holidays, said Tami Eastwood, finance manager for the Lummi Nation Service Organization, who was working at the market during the grand opening last week.
The market is open noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The café is currently open for lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday), but the plan is to add a breakfast menu later this year, Solomon said. Lunch items include shrimp, halibut and salmon offerings as well as soups made from scratch. The café has become a convenient stopping spot for workers at the nearby Stonegate Business Park.
The arts and crafts store includes carvings, photos, paintings, dream catchers, greeting cards, hand-woven hats and baskets.
The LEED certified building has an area where tribal members can work on carving projects, including canoes. The facility also has a meeting area that will hold a variety of events and classes. For details and updates, visit lummigatewaycenter.com or its Facebook page.
Tiffany Hudson of Cassoulet Café at 6912 Hannegan Road has applied for a state restaurant/catering liquor license.
Goat Mountain Pizza, a restaurant going into 215 W. Holly St. in downtown Bellingham, was approved for a liquor license to sell beer and wine.
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Here's an example of neighborhood business cooperation: Starting this week at Kulshan Brewery on James Street, beer patrons can order a sandwich or other items from the James Street Avenue Bread and have it delivered to Kulshan for free. Kulshan Brewery doesn't currently have a food menu but regularly has a food truck like StrEAT Food nearby.
Congratulations to Maricel Halmo of Lynden, who was recently honored by Valpak for ranking first in North America in a sales contest among 650 marketing consultants. Halmo serves clients in Whatcom County through the Bellingham-based franchise, which is owned by Jeff and Kim Goodman. Valpak mails coupons to 180,000 addresses monthly from Marysville to Lynden.
In a sign that fall is around the corner, the Halloween stores are returning. Spirit Halloween plans to have a temporary store opening soon on East Bellis Fair Parkway, according to its website.
Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.