It continues to be a busy time for a relatively new Bellingham retail center.
Bakerview Square, which is near Bellis Fair, recently had several new businesses open and several more planning to open soon. Those that recently opened include a clothing store called K&M Fashions, Clearview Eyecare, a tattoo shop called Tat'd Up and a Native American gift store called Coast Salish Creations. Businesses scheduled to open soon at Bakerview Square include Damsel Clothing (possibly in February), West Coast Women's Fitness (grand opening scheduled for Monday, Jan. 7) and a deli sandwich shop called Krumbz (possibly in February).
With those signings and a deal in the works for some unoccupied space in the east side of the center near Charter College, Bakerview Square could be close to 100 percent occupancy by this spring, said Randy Sears, property manager.
"Confidence (among those looking for space to open a business) is much higher than last year at this time," Sears said, noting that he's also observed an uptick in general inquiries about available space for the six-year-old center.
More tenant interest is coming from local residents who want to start or expand a business, he said.
One of those local businesses just getting going is K&M Fashions. Maggie Kirk and Ken Smith opened the clothing store in November, when Kirk wanted to do something different after working nine years in security.
The store is sharing space with Urban Sol, a tanning, facial and hair services business in the northwest portion of the retail center. Kirk said the goal is to offer trendy women's clothes and accessories (as well as men's clothing soon) at low prices. She wanted to share the space with Urban Sol so it can be more of a one-stop area for men and women.
By being tucked away in the far corner, she said it's been a challenge getting the store seen by customers. However, she's optimistic because of the traffic in the center.
"There a huge, diverse group of people that visit this center every day," Kirk said.
More details about K&M can be found on Facebook or by calling 360-296-4204.
Coast Salish Creations is owned by Lummi artist Silowleetsa, also known as Doralee Sanchez. The artwork, which includes bead work, cedar hats and clothing, is done by Silowleetsa as well as several other local artists.
Danielle Starr, owner of 4 Starrs Boutique, is planning to open Damsel Clothing as a store that offers special occasion dresses and accessories.
BUSINESS CLOSURES ON PACE WITH 2010
I counted 61 storefronts that have either closed in 2012 or announced they were closing. That total is lower than last year but about the same as 2010.
In 2011 I counted 67 closures, while 2010 had 57 storefront closures. The peak in recent years was 89 in 2009; the lowest total in the past six years was in 2007, which had 35 closures.
These totals are not official by any means. I track the closures as they happen through news releases and regularly checking local shopping districts.
Last year was a busy one for business storefront openings. I counted 131 such openings in 2012; that's up compared to 2011 (114 openings) and 2010 (55 openings).
The owners of cheese meat(s) beer, a café at Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher building at 250 Flora St., announced that it is closing at the end of January. For the remainder of the month they'll be doing a series of reservation-only dinners, according to the news release.
The final day of business for Sears at Bellis Fair is Sunday, Jan. 27. The store is in the middle of a liquidation clearance sale.
The Reserve restaurant at Lynden's Homestead Golf & Country Club has closed, with its liquor license being discontinued on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Bill Robins, who purchased the Homestead facility in May 2010, said a lease has already been signed, and the new tenant plans on redesigning the space and turning it into a steakhouse. He said the new restaurant could be open by this spring.