An electrical fire is bad news for any business, but Bellingham's AB Crepes appears to have bounced back.
The Railroad Avenue restaurant had to shut down for about a month when an electrical box in a back storage area exploded in the early morning hours of Dec. 6. After some repair work, the restaurant was able to reopen Jan. 5.
The explosion happened around 3:30 a.m., which was a strange time, said Bayly Peterson, who owns the restaurant with Adalberto Avelar. Peterson said the restaurant was closed at the time and not using much electricity; he would have expected this to happen during business hours, when more electricity is being used.
Now that they've been open a few weeks, Peterson said business is returning, particularly with Western Washington University back in session. College students represent a big part of the customer base.
Peterson and Avelar also attend Western full time. While it was a challenge balancing school and running a business when they first opened the restaurant back in April, Peterson said it's becoming more manageable as the owners and employees become more familiar with how AB Crepes best operates.
One aspect that's caught the attention of many customers is the Alphabet Challenge: Two people must eat 26 crepes (one for each letter of the alphabet) within an hour. As of last week 43 teams had accepted the challenge; all of them failed. Several have come close to winning the challenge - one team finished 24.5 crepes - so Peterson believes it's just a matter of time before a team polishes off the 26 by the deadline. Winners get the meal for free, a T-shirt and a photo on the wall of fame. The first team to accomplish the challenge gets their picture on the T-shirt and 50 percent off crepes for life.
Peterson offers this bit of advice for those who try the challenge: The crepes are hot, so spreading them around on the plate to cool them off helps.
"At around 20 minutes (into the challenge) people hit a wall," Peterson said. "It's a matter of being able to turn off your brain and just eating."
With AB Crepes back up and running, Peterson said they can now focus on ways to continue improving the restaurant experience. Currently the restaurant does its best business during the late-night hours and is slower during the day.
"We are growing (with customers outside of the student population) as we get more established," said Peterson.
The restaurant is open every day except Monday. For details, visit its Facebook page.
Dashi Noodle Bar opened last week at 1311 N. State St.
The Love Zone at 4227 Meridian St. closed earlier this month. The company has stores in Seattle, Everett and Marysville.
Gown & Glove Bridal Consignment at 1211 Cornwall Ave. is having a moving sale. Owner Stephanie Murillo said she's finalizing a lease for a new space but isn't quite ready to announce a new location. Customers can get updates on the store's Facebook page.
Dolan Dynamic Landscape Maintenance recently opened for business. Devin and Rachel Dolan operate the company and both received the Horticulture and Lawn Care Technician national designation by the Professional Landcare Network. The company serves all of Whatcom County, offering a variety of landscape services. For details, visit dolandynamic.com.
Lisa Press, owner of Wanna Get Fit, recently opened a new studio at 1201 Cornwall St., Suite 107, located near the intersection of Cornwall Avenue and East Chestnut Street. The studio, a space for only women, is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with personalized classes throughout the week. An open house is planned for noon to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8. Classes are capped at six people, so everyone receives individualized attention, according to a company news release. For details, visit wannagetfit.net or call 360-920-2048.
Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.