Bellingham's Good Time Girls preparing to open gift store

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 23, 2013 

BELLINGHAM BROTHELS

Marissa McGrath and Sara Holodnick, right, react in feigned fainting spells as they take about a dozen customers on a tour of old brothel locations around downtown Bellingham Friday July 1, 2011 in Bellingham.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

The Good Time Girls have found a permanent home.

The tour group, which specializes in showing and talking about the bawdy parts of Bellingham's history, recently signed a lease at 217 W. Holly St., the former Whatcom Travel space, and plan to hold a grand opening in January.

The new space will be where people can sign up and meet for the tours, and also will be a gift and souvenir shop, offering a variety of vintage products and items that reflect Bellingham history. The store will have a separate business identity called the Bureau of Historical Investigation, said Sara Holodnick, who operates Good Time Girls with Marissa McGrath.

The retail store is the next step in the growth of the compamy, which started in June 2011. Holodnick and McGrath don Victorian-style undergarments and lead groups of people on different walks, including the Sin and Gin Tour, which involves a history of prostitution, gambling and booze in Bellingham. Tours take place in downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven. They are now organizing a Christmas caroling pub crawl for December, making a not-so-silent night tour of Bellingham bars.

The tour business has grown steadily: Good Time Girls has added three others who act as tour guides. The addition of the store will create an opportunity to make the tours a year-round business, beefing up the downtown tourist scene, Holodnick said.

Currently Holodnick and McGrath are building up inventory for the store. Their goal is to make it an obvious place to buy a Bellingham souvenir, so things like the Bellingham T-shirts once found at Merch-Bot will be available, along with vintage costumes and books about Bellingham's history.

The tours have grown because the Good Time Girls try to balance teaching with entertainment for adults. Holodnick said they typically will have a couple sign up where one person is enthusiastic about the tour while the other is less psyched because they think it'll be a boring history lecture. The goal is to win over the less enthused and entertain those already excited about the walk.

"Adults don't get to play often, so we really try to make sure everyone is having a good time," Holodnick said.

Many times people come away surprised at some of the things that have happened in Bellingham.

"Some will ask 'cool stuff actually happened in Bellingham?'" said Holodnick, adding that they continue to find fascinating new material.

They are just starting research on the space they are moving into, but they do know buildings around them have had a colorful history.

For details about the tours and updates about the new store, visit the Good Time Girls Facebook page or goodtimegirlsbham.com.

OTHER TIDBITS

A new business called Uptown Art is moving into a space at Bellwether Way. It will have art classes and will also be a place to have a glass of wine and socialize. The plan is to be open at 23 Bellwether Way, Suite 101, on Saturday, Dec. 7.

... Mount Baker Distillery will introduce new product lines from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at Liquor Depot, 1255 Barkley Blvd. Mount Baker Distillery has been producing vodka and moonshine for a year from its location in Haskell Business Center. At Liquor Depot, the distillery will offer free tastings of original vodka and moonshine along with new products, Moonshine Apple Pie and Fruit Moonshine, made with local berries from Barbie's Berries. The Mount Baker Distillery tasting room is open for free tasting from 2 to 6 p.m. every Thursday and Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays at 1305 Fraser St., Suite D2.

... Signs have gone up at 200 W. Holly St. (the former Diggs space) announcing the arrival of Woolies, a seasonal business that sells Alpaca sweaters and mittens. According to the sign, the store will open on Thursday, Dec. 5, for three weeks. A Woolies store was formerly at Bellis Fair.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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