Bellingham storefront openings the theme this month


Retailtipsheet Guitar Center

Employee Austin Carlson sweeps the acoustic guitar room floor in the new Guitar Center store next to DeWaard and Bode in Meridian Village in Bellingham, Thursday, May 23, 2013. The store, which has over 400 guitars will have a grand opening next Thursday night at 7 p.m.


The flurry of new businesses continues in Whatcom County with a couple of significant openings this month.

This is typically the time of year when local businesses get open because of the great timing. For food-service businesses, tourism season is getting into full swing with big events like Ski to Sea and school graduations. For retail stores, it's a good time to get opened and gauge the market before the busy back-to-school shopping season starts. So far this area has had a variety of openings, including wine shops, clothing stores and restaurants.

One such opening could have a big impact on the local music scene. Guitar Center is planning to open at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at 3960 Meridian St., Suite 101, near DeWaard & Bode. The event will feature a free performance by Bellingham-based musicians Black Beast Revival as well as giveaways and sales.

Along with selling a variety of musical instruments, Guitar Center will have an in-house studio that will give residents an opportunity for music lessons and a chance to try out the products. The store also will have a repair and maintenance area as well as recording and mentor programs.

Once open, store hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For further details about the store, visit

Next to the Regal Barkley Village Stadium 16 movie theater, TCBY opened Friday, May 24, offering 14 flavors of self-serve frozen yogurt and more than 40 toppings. It's a major expansion period for the company, which is re-entering the Bellingham market. The company currently has six new stores in development in Washington, including potentially two more in the Bellingham area, said Paul Correale, franchise development manager. It also has more than 500 stores across the country.

"We're excited about going into that (Barkley) location," Correale said. "We've been looking for good, prominent locations, and we like how that area is developing."

Why the sudden growth for a company that's more than 30 years old? Correale said consumer trends are moving toward healthier desserts, noting that the frozen yogurt has less fat with more probiotics and fiber than ice cream.

Jack Padia, who owns the Bellingham store with Jay Sharma, said they've hired 15 teens and young adults to run the shop, which is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

"I think we'll have a busy store; we've already had a lot of people peeking in and trying the door," said Padia last week before the opening. "Our goal is to give (customers) more service than expected."

Last week was a soft opening for TCBY, which stands for The Country's Best Yogurt. During its grand opening celebration Saturday, June 22, the first 100 people through the door will receive free yogurt in one 5-ounce portion per month for 12 calendar months. Everyone will get the first 3 ounces free at the event. The store also will have a raffle, with all the proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County.

"We are looking forward to becoming a partner with the community," Padia said. "We want to be a place where people know they can count on us, whether it's calling in a flavor request or holding a surprise party."

For more information and deals, check out the TCBY Bellingham Facebook page.


• The Sugar Shack Ice Cream Truck is back with an expanded territory this season. Owner Jasmine Johnson plans to have two trucks going through the neighborhoods of Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale and Blaine, offering the classic products such as ice cream sandwiches. Johnson has been doing this since 2005 and said it's been great watching kids growing up. The best way to keep track of where the trucks will be is through their Facebook page. Of course, you can also keep an ear out for that familiar ice cream truck music.

Hoagland Pharmacy is opening its second pharmacy at 640 Highway 20 in Sedro-Woolley on Monday, June 3. Once open, hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, while the durable medical equipment department also will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

• According to its Facebook page, Menchie's is planning to open its second Bellingham frozen yogurt store (at the Bakerview Fred Meyer shopping center) sometime at the end of June.

Mallard Ice Cream announced that it will open a new ice cream stand/food truck on Saturday, June 1, at the Cordata Community Food Co-op. Along with ice cream, the stand will have a new Mallard product: homemade cookie/ice cream sandwiches.

Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or Read his business blog at or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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