It continues to be an interesting year for business openings and closings in Whatcom County.
Since the beginning of the year through last week, I've counted 112 Whatcom County storefront businesses that have either opened or plan on being open soon. That's well ahead of the number for all of 2010 and is quickly closing in on last year's total of 114 openings.
While it's been a strong year for business start-ups, Whatcom County continues to struggle with business closures. To date I've counted 43 storefront closures, which puts it on pace similar to the previous years three years following the 2008 national financial meltdown.
Having a high number of start-ups and closures seems representative of a local economy that continues to move forward in fits and starts.
The openings are a good sign that entrepreneurs are feeling confident enough to take the risk of opening a business. New companies also tend to be the ones doing the hiring.
Closures are a bad sign for the economy: Not only does it hurt the employees who lost jobs, but it's a blow to consumer confidence when empty spaces start popping up, particularly when it's longtime businesses that are being shuttered.
The final quarter of the year is typically a slower time for business openings and closures. Most retailers that wanted to open in 2012 have already done so, in order to take advantage of the busiest time of the year (except for the seasonal holiday businesses, which will start arriving soon). Closures tend to slow down during the final quarter because that's a time to clear out inventory before calling it quits.
From talking to local business people, I get the sense that the trend of openings and closures will continue into 2013. Some companies continue to grow and expand, but there's also many still struggling to hang on.
A building permit application was filed to remodel of a space at 410 W. Bakerview Road (Bakerview Square) for an eye clinic.
An application was also submitted to build a three-story medical office building with underground parking at 2500 Squalicum Parkway (near Cornwall Park). Name of the proposed project is the Squalicum Creek Medical Centre.
A tenant improvement permit was submitted for a space at 2401 Meridian St. (in Fountain District) for a business called the Wild Hare Drum School.
Boom! Elite Martial Arts will have a grand opening at 1321 King St., Suite 4, (near the Lakeway Fred Meyer) starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. According to a news release, this is the second location for Boom!, which has been holding classes in Sudden Valley for nearly two years. During the grand opening, owner Greg Moench will host free seminars. For details, see boomelitemartialarts.com.
The Bellingham Baby Company is now in its new space on Newmarket Street in the Barkley District. It's in the former Apple Yarns space (Apple Yarns recently moved to Iowa Street).
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.