Jason Nix has found a way to take several of his interests and combine them into a retail business in downtown Bellingham.
Nix and his wife, Kathy, opened Atlas Computer Works in November at 1305 Cornwall Ave., near the Holly Street intersection. The company focuses on computer repair and sales but also is a café, and has a computer gaming area. Atlas also offers free Wi-Fi and rental computers.
Jason Nix had been pondering the business concept for about a year, but it came together after he was laid off last fall.
The idea is to run a computer repair store, but not have it look like a repair shop, with computer hardware stacked all over the place. The main area has a couch, toys, games and working computers, so customers can sit down and relax. The coffee at the espresso bar is from Bellingham's Maniac Coffee Roasters.
"I like to mess with preconceived notions and have people come in wondering what kind of place this is," Jason Nix said.
The idea behind combing computer repair and a café is to let customers try out new or newly repaired computers in a relaxed environment.
"The main idea that drives us is to establish a connection with the community, to show computer customers that there are repair technicians out there that are straightforward, honest, affordable and most of all, respectful," Jason Nix said.
That's the feeling Patrick Simonds got when visiting Atlas last week for a new computer system.
"He (Jason Nix) talks at your level," Simonds said. "He will geek it up when he has to, but he won't geek it up if he doesn't need to."
When it comes to computer repair, the focus will be the home computer market, although they also do some commercial work, said Kathy Nix. Her favorite customers are the ones who are a little afraid of their computer; she feels obligated to show them they can do a lot on a computer without breaking it.
Being a new business owner, Jason Nix said one of the biggest changes is adjusting to the strain of uncertainty about when business will come through the door. He doesn't have a handle yet on when customers will arrive, but is pleased to see that they range from children to retirees.
"I also really love being downtown," he said. "It makes for an interesting day."
Atlas is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For details, visit the company's Facebook page or call 360-393-4495.
MAYBERRY'S ON THE MOVE
After more than two years on Cornwall Avenue, Mayberry Sporting Goods is moving into a smaller space at 703 W. Holly St., near Creative Dancewear and Pacific Marine Gallery.
Owner Emily Mallahan said they plan to be fully moved into the new space by Wednesday, May 1. She said the business itself is doing well, but the 11,000-square-foot space at 1827 Cornwall Ave. was too big for what they want to do. One thing that made the Cornwall space go well was the Bellingham High School students, who were great regular customers, she said.
In the new space on Holly, the store plans to enhance its archery area by creating a three-lane indoor area so customers can practice and try out new products.
Mayberry will keep its regular hours on Cornwall until it is in its new space.
The barbershop that was in the Mayberry store on Cornwall, Kevin B. Barber, has moved to 2711 Meridian St., near WECU. Details about the barbershop can be found on its Facebook page.
Find Your Fashion in Ferndale is growing. The clothing and accessories store is adding a consignment store that will go into the Ferndale Cost Cutter shopping center, near Coconut Kenny's. The plan is to have the consignment store, called Find Your Fashion Again, open in early May, said owner Barbara Scoggins. The consignment store will have clothing for men, women and children, as well as home décor items. Details and updates can be found on the Find Your Fashion Facebook page.
Columbia Games of Blaine is reviving a popular strategy game. Napoléon, a game about the Battle of Waterloo that involves maps and dice, was created by Tom Dalgliesh in 1974. Now in its fourth edition, Dalgliesh and his son, Grant, are bringing it back before the 200th anniversary of the battle, in 2015. The company is finishing up a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the game, which ends Sunday, April 14, and is expected to be ready later this year.
Longtime employee Newton Bouma is the new owner at St. John Glass at 804 Dupont St. Bouma has been at St. John since 2003 and has been managing sales since 2008. The company itself has been locally owned since 1945.
Known for her work as executive director at Pickford Film Center, Alice Clark is branching out into homemade pies. She will sell her fresh seasonal pies under the name Alice's Pies at Bellingham Farmers Market, starting Saturday, April 20. In addition to offering whole large and small pies and pies by the slice at the market, Alice also has plans to integrate a pie subscription service. For more about Alice's Pies and to enter her online contest to win a free eight-month pie subscription, find and "like" Alice's Pies on Facebook.
Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.