Deb James believes Whatcom County has quite a few talented artists who don't have their work shown more than a few times a year. She thought that was a shame and decided to do something about it by starting her own store.
Last week James opened DragonFrog Gallery & Gifts at 4131 Hannegan Road, across the street from Bank of the Pacific and near the East Bakerview Road intersection.
The store has a variety of consigned artwork, including cards, wall art, soaps and lotions. About 90 percent comes from Whatcom County artists and the rest from Skagit. James plans to regularly have local artists in the store, working on projects so customers can see how it's done.
The gift store is also sharing some of the space with Our Kitchen is Your Kitchen, a bakery that is in the middle of remodeling and is expected to be ready in the coming weeks.
James said the idea came about after talking with friends about the challenges of finding local artwork year-round in Bellingham. She has a background in accounting and has owned a couple of other businesses, including a medical billing service.
"My background is more about operating a business, but the artists have made my job running DragonFrog easy," she said. "I hear their stories and pass them along to customers."
The business name comes from a combination of two of James' favorite wildlife - dragonflies and frogs.
"We had a lot of fun coming up with the logo for that," she said with a laugh, noting that it's a frog with wings.
The gift store is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. A grand opening celebration will be scheduled for sometime after the bakery opens. For details about the gift store, visit Dragonfroggifts.com.
A tenant improvement permit was filed to put in a Guitar Center store at 3960 Meridian St., in the Meridian Village shopping center near DeWaard & Bode. Guitar Center has stores in 44 states, selling a variety of musical instruments.
A liquor license application was filed for a craft distillery called Shiner Distillery. The address for the proposed distillery is 2200 Queen St.
Last week Zio's Pasta & Pizza in Sumas closed. The co-owner, Thomas Leyerly, said he is taking a position at Steakhouse 9, a new restaurant at the Homestead Golf & Country Club that's scheduled to open next month. Leyerly and his wife, Jennifer, operated the pizza place for 18 months at 120 Front St. He said the closing was a little bittersweet, and they appreciated all the customers who stopped by during the final few days of operation.
Katie's Cupcakes is celebrating its fourth anniversary in business in an unusual way. The Fairhaven bakery, which was a season 7 winner on the television show "Cupcake Wars," will give away its recipes of the cupcakes made on the show. Between March 23 and 30, anyone who purchases one of its children's books or character T-shirts will receive their choice of recipes used on the show. "We want parents and children to enjoy reading together and then have the joy of baking our cupcakes when they're finished with the story," said owner Katie Swanson. On Saturday, March 30, Katie's Cupcakes also will host the authors and illustrators of the book series during a signing from 1 to 3 p.m. The first book, "Katie's Cupcakes," was released in January, while the second book, "Papa Loses His Magic," is scheduled to be released Saturday, March 23.
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