Market Report: Sporting goods sector getting a makeover in Bellingham


Mayberry's Sporting Goods located on 703 W. Holly St. in Bellingham is closing January 30, 2014.


Bellingham is getting quite a makeover when it comes to the sporting goods sector.

In the past month Bellingham has had three announced closures of sporting goods stores - Sportsman Chalet, Mayberry Sporting Goods and Big 5 Sporting Goods at Bellis Fair. Big 5 will keep its larger store on 106 W. Stuart St. (near Walmart) open after it closes the Bellis Fair store on Sunday, Jan. 12.

Given all the outdoor enthusiasts that live in this region, sporting goods is big business. In Bellingham $52.5 million was spent at sporting goods and hobby stores in 2012, according to data from the Washington State Department of Revenue, while $61 million was spent across all of Whatcom County.

Even with those closures, it seems Bellingham residents still have plenty of choices, including Yeager's Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Big 5 and REI. It'll be interesting to see if this month's closures created opportunity for other sports retailers to come, or if Bellingham had too many brick-and-mortar stores for all of them to survive.

Significant local business events that took place in December and early January:

-- Safeway continues to go through the permitting process to put in a store at the former Sunset Cost Cutter space, as well as a fueling station in Sunset Square.

-- Bellingham's Wood Stone Corporation, which makes stone hearth cooking equipment and employs 133 people locally, has agreed to be acquired by Henny Penny, a larger company based in Ohio. Wood Stone will keep its name and remain in Bellingham.

-- The Market at Lakeway announced a going-out-of-business sale.

-- While home sales were strong in 2013 - up 14.5 percent in Whatcom County compared to 2012 - the median price for those homes sold rose a steadier 4 percent for the same period, according to data put together by Lylene Johnson, a real estate agent for The Muljat Group. The median sales price for homes sold in Whatcom County was $259,950 in 2013.

Whatcom County quarterly retail sales

Q2 2013: $853.2 million

Q1 2013: $757.1 million

Q2 2012: $792.1 million

Quarterly change: up 12.1 percent

Year-over-year change: up 7.7 percent

Seven-year quarterly high: $891.5 million, fourth quarter, 2012

Seven-year quarterly low: $624.4 million, first quarter 2009

Whatcom County bankruptcies

November 2013: 38

October 2013: 54

November 2012: 38

Monthly change: down 29.6 percent

Year-over-year change: no change

Seven-year monthly high: 83, February 2010

Seven-year monthly low: 11, February 2006

Whatcom County new auto sales

November 2013: 243

October 2013: 364

November 2012: 265

Monthly change: down 33.2 percent

Year-over-year change: down 8.3 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 553, May 2006

Seven-year monthly low: 140, December 2008

Whatcom County residential sales

December 2013: 201

November 2013: 199

December 2012: 197

Monthly change: up 1 percent

Year-over-year change: up 2 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 398, August 2007

Seven-year monthly low: 104, February 2009

Unincorporated Whatcom County building permit values

November 2013: $6.1 million

October 2013: $7.9 million

November 2012: $3.6 million

Monthly change: down 22.8 percent

Year-over-year change: up 69.4 percent

Six-year monthly high: $65.3 million, July 2011

Six-year monthly low: $2.6 million, January 2012

Whatcom County foreclosures

November 2013: 17

October 2013: 20

November 2012: 91

Monthly change: down 15 percent

Year-over-year change: down 81 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 153, April 2009

Seven-year monthly low: 17, September 2007 and November 2013

Median price of homes sold in Whatcom County

December 2013: $255,000

November 2013: $260,000

December 2012: $255,000

Monthly change: down 1.9 percent

Year-over-year change: no change

Seven-year monthly high: $280,450, May 2007

Seven-year monthly low: $208,000, November 2011

Whatcom homes newly listed for sale

December 2013: 165

November 2013: 200

December 2012: 160

Monthly change: down 17.5 percent

Year-over-year change: up 3.1 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 707, May 2007

Seven-year monthly low: 131, December 2011

Bellingham airport traffic

December 2013: 46,486

November 2013: 42,562

December 2012: 48,486

Monthly change: up 9.2 percent

Year-over-year change: down 4.1 percent.

Seven-year monthly high: 61,402, March 2013

Seven-year monthly low: 12,597, September 2010

Canadian dollar

End of December 2013: 94 cents

End of November 2013: 94 cents

End of December 2012: $1

Seven-year high: $1.07, November 2007

Seven-year low: 77 cents, March 2009

Southbound Canadian border crossings into Whatcom County

October 2013: 1,282,346

September 2013: 1,331,314

October 2012: 1,181,225

Monthly change: down 3.7 percent

Year-over-year change: up 8.6 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 1,786,840, August 2013

Seven-year monthly low: 645,792, October 2006

Bellingham building permit values

December 2013: $3.0 million

November 2013: $3.7 million

December 2012: $4.6 million

Monthly change: down 18.9 percent

Year-over-year change: down 34.8 percent

Seven-year monthly high: $47.3 million, December 2009

Seven-year monthly low: $1.1 million, November 2008

Ferndale building permit values

November 2013: $2.7 million

October 2013: $3.5 million

November 2012: $4.4 million

Monthly change: down 22.9 percent

Year-over-year change: down 38.6 percent

Six-year monthly high: $12.9 million, July 2007

Six-year monthly low: $0.2 million, January 2009

Whatcom County construction jobs

November 2013: 5,700

October 2013 (revised): 6,000

November 2012: 5,800

Monthly change: down 5 percent

Year-over-year change: down 1.7 percent

Seven-year monthly high: 8,600, September 2006

Seven-year monthly low: 4,900, January 2013

Whatcom County unemployment

Whatcom November 2013: 6.1 percent

Whatcom October 2013 (revised): 6 percent

Whatcom November 2012: 6.8 percent

State November 2013 (seasonably adjusted): 6.8 percent

Nation November 2013 (seasonably adjusted): 7 percent.

Seven-year monthly high: 10.4 percent, February 2010

Seven-year monthly low: 3.7 percent, October 2007

Sources: Washington State Department of Revenue; U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington; Cross-Sell; Washington State Department of Licensing; Northwest Multiple Listing Service; Whatcom County Planning and Development Services; Bank of Canada; Port of Bellingham; RealtyTrac; Center For Economics and Business Research, Western Washington University; City of Bellingham; City of Ferndale; Washington State Employment Security Department.

Market Report runs each month.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or Read the Business Blog at or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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