Creating pottery is a relaxing, cathartic experience for Aerin Adrian, but it was frustrating to her that she couldn't find a place to continue to pursue her passion.
With that in mind, she decided to create her own pottery and ceramic studio for people to drop in or take classes. Earthbenders & Artisans opened right before Christmas at 1411 Cornwall Ave., near the Limelight Cinema.
Adrian encourages people to drop in and try it out, no matter their experience level. She fell in love with it in high school while taking pottery and ceramics classes but couldn't find a place to continue doing it unless she purchased her own equipment. She later rediscovered how much she enjoyed it in college and decided afterwards that a pottery studio is something others would want.
"I really want this to be a community place where people of all ages can come in and try it," she said, noting that she's already had children and adults trying their hand at pottery.
The studio has pottery wheels, hand-building tables, clay and equipment for kiln firings and glazes. Adrian can then show those who need help getting started. From start to finish, Adrian estimates the cost to be around $25, depending on how much time is spent on the equipment. Adrian also has tools for sale and plans to sell local artists' work on consignment.
The studio also will have classes taught by Jesse Rasmussen, who also teaches at the Jansen Art Center in Lynden. Two separate six-week classes will be held from 1-3:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, costing $170.
"For those who have never done it before, this is a great way to try it out with all the equipment," Rasmussen said.
For more information, visit the company's Facebook page or call the studio at 360-920-2815.
MT. BAKER CANDY CO. ADDS FROZEN YOGURT
Bellis Fair mall tenant Mt. Baker Candy Co. has purchased the equipment of its next door neighbor, Yogu-San, which closed at the end of 2013.
The local candy company plans on operating the equipment this week and begin selling frozen yogurt, smoothies and bubble tea.
"Yogu-San has built a reputation for using the highest quality, fresh ingredients to make a healthy product and that won't change. We'll be using the same recipes to serve the same yogurt, smoothies and bubble tea that the loyal customers expect," said owner Andrew Horgen in an email.
To make room for the frozen yogurt equipment, Horgen said he'll have to cut back on some of the packaged candy but is keeping the nostalgic and hard-to-find sweets. He won't reduce the chocolates, fudge and bulk candy that have been popular at the store.
Horgen plans to have four flavors of self-serve yogurt. Original and green tea will be offered permanently, while the two others will rotate.
CLOSURES LOWER IN 2013
December turned out to be a busy month for local business closure announcements, including several well-known places such as Sportsman Chalet and The Market at Lakeway.
For the end of 2013, I've counted 53 brick-and-mortar business closings in Whatcom County. That's the lowest annual total since the financial meltdown in 2008. The peak was in 2009, when this area had 89 closures. There's no official count to local business closures, so I rely on things I spot, news releases and tips from readers.
LA LA EATERY GRAND OPENING JAN. 7
Joyce Chen is bringing her Asian-influenced cuisine to a second Bellingham neighborhood.
The plan is to open La La Eatery on Tuesday, Jan. 7. The 68-seat restaurant is in the Sunnyland Square retail center, near Trader Joes. It will be a sister restaurant to La Patisserie at 3098 Northwest Ave., offering a similar menu of items from Taiwan, Vietnam and France. That includes rice noodle bowls, spring rolls, Vietnamese sandwiches and soups.
The one difference between the two restaurants is that La La Eatery won't have the pastry component. According to a news release, it will offer other sweets, including D'Ambrosio Gelato from Ballard.
La La Eatery also plans to use local produce in its dishes. Interested farmers can call manager Sunshine Hsu at 360-223-7014.
Once open, the hours are 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
- Cassoulet, which offered a bit of old world dining and was operated by Tiffany Hudson, has closed. According to its Facebook page, the last day of business was Sunday, Dec. 29. The restaurant was at 6912 Hannegan Road at Hinote's Corner. It had opened in the fall of 2012 offering French and Italian cuisine. No explanation was given on why it was closing in the Facebook post, except to say it was time.
- Safeway continues to move forward with its plans to enter the Bellingham market, filing a building permit application to do about $4.1 million in tenant improvements to the former Sunset Square Cost Cutter building at 1275 Sunset Ave.
- Building permits were filed to build the first phase of residential units near the Lakeway Fred Meyer. The four buildings will have 175 apartment units on the south side of the undeveloped property. Nearby, closer to Fred Meyer, an apartment complex that would house more than 500 college students is in the early planning stages.
- A tenant improvement permit was filed for a new Pilates studio at 909 Squalicum Parkway.
- A permit was issued to remodel the McDonald's restaurant at 101 W. Telegraph Road.
- Leaf & Ladle at 1113 N. State St. has decided to focus on being open during lunch and has adjusted its hours accordingly. Starting on Monday, Jan. 6, the restaurant will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WATCH VIDEO: EARTHBENDERS & ARTISANS
Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.