Opening a business at the start of a major road construction project isn't advisable, but so far Carne Bellingham is making do.
The Bellingham butcher shop opened about five weeks ago at 902 N. State St., right around the time construction was gearing up on the new nearby roundabout and new sidewalks.
At this point, owner Chad Johnson considers the construction impact a wash. While he's probably lost a few customers who are avoiding that area, Johnson said he's gained a few customers who discovered his business while waiting in traffic.
Johnson decided to open a butcher shop after receiving strong backing from the community through a Kickstarter online campaign. He originally asked for people to kick in $7,500, the bare minimum he felt he needed to start the business. The campaign ended up raising more than $17,000.
So far the shop is attracting a variety of customers, including foodies, locavores, college students and those who had fond experiences when local butcher shops were more common. He said a few customers were a little surprised that he doesn't have discount grocery store prices, but that most understood that the focus would be on local, fresh and quality meats.
Most of the meats he carries are from Washington, with some from Oregon. He has a few Whatcom County meats and is planning to add more as he works with more local suppliers. So far, dry-cured bacon and grass-fed rib-eye steaks are the more popular products at Carne.
While it's still grilling season, Johnson said they are getting ready to make the transition to the fall season meals, such as roasts and stews. With his experience as a local butcher working at grocery stores, he's learned many people are unsure about the best way to prepare something like a roast and is looking forward to answering those questions.
The road construction work, which is expected to be completed in October, may be causing some traffic frustration in the area, but Johnson is optimistic about the area long-term.
"State Street is quickly becoming the place to be," he said, referring to the new businesses and residential units in the area as well as the city's efforts to make it more pedestrian friendly. "We are excited to be a part of this community."
Carne plans on holding a grand opening celebration sometime in September. For details on the company, visit its Facebook page or call 360-961-4960.
'THE SOAP QUEEN' OUT WITH A NEW BOOK
Somehow Bellingham businesswoman Anne-Marie Faiola has found the time to write a book about different ways to make soap.
Faiola will have a book-release party at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at Fairhaven's Village Books. "Soap Crafting" provides step-by-step techniques for making cold-process soaps.
She's the owner of Bramble Berry, a Bellingham company that sells soapmaking supplies, as well as Otion, the soap-making store at 301 W. Holly St. She's also known as The Soap Queen in social media in her blogs and videos. Details can be found at brambleberry.com.
A public meeting will be held about a proposed new project at 300 E. Sunset Drive that involves converting the Smoking Sam Mini Mart to a drive-through pharmacy and GNC store. The meeting will be at Sunnyland Elementary School at 2800 James St. at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28. The meeting is required by the city before land use permits can be submitted.
A seasonal Spirit Halloween store is going into a building at 4145 Meridian St., near the Meridian Cost Cutter.
Sears Hometown Store had its permits approved to remodel and move into 3548 Meridian St., near the Bellingham Golf & Country Club. The company is planning for the store to be ready by late fall.
Wander Brewing has applied for a state liquor license to put in a microbrewery at 1807 Dean Ave. in Bellingham, near the Ohio Street and Cornwall Avenue intersection. The applicants are Chad and Colleen Kuehl.
Fitness Evolution has applied for a state liquor license to operate a restaurant/lounge at its facility at 1504 Iowa St.
NW Stock Photos launched earlier this month, offering more than 5,000 pictures of Northwest Washington. The company offers photos for editorial, marketing, corporate and fine-art uses, according to company founder Peter James. For more information, call 360-733-9377 or visit NWstockphotos.com.
Jovan's Pure Nutrition of Blaine is offering several new lines of products this fall: Jovan's Steel Cut Oat Blends; a sweet seed cracker and the line of jams, jellies and mustards from the recent acquisition of Bellingham's Aldrich Farms. For more information, visit jovans.com.
Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.