Downtown Bellingham glasses store in growth mode

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 11, 2014 

Everything In Sight Optical

Jeni Dykstra, licensed optician at Everything In Sight Optical, cleans viewing mirrors in the expanded area of the store, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 at 1303 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham.

MATT MCDONALD — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Online shopping has impacted plenty of brick-and-mortar retail businesses, but that doesn't seem to be the case for a downtown Bellingham eyeglass store.

Dave and Sandi Fairbanks recently expanded their business Everything In Sight Optical into the former GB Heron jewelry store space on Cornwall Avenue. It's one of the few retailers in the downtown district to have a significant expansion in 2013.

The new showroom has about 3,400 square feet of space, offering another 1,000 frames to choose from, Dave Fairbanks said. The business has steadily grown since it opened 10 years ago, and the nearby space becoming available meant Everything In Sight Optical didn't have to move.

Fairbanks said the reason for the growth, and being able to go toe-to-toe with online companies, is that he offers a lower price to go with a large selection of frames.

"I made a decision early on to be lower (in price) on everything," Fairbanks said of the company, which offers exams, frames and contact lens.

Selling eyeglasses can be a challenging business, he said, because of all the variables people want, including comfort, durability and glasses that compliment them. Because of the nature of eyeglasses, sales tend to be steady in good and bad economic conditions.

"I really enjoy being busy, and this is a business that takes a lot of work," he said.

With the expansion out of the way, Dave and Sandi are looking forward to something they haven't taken since opening the business 10 years ago - a vacation.

For details about the business, call 360-647-0421.

CHUCKANUT BREWERY NOW OFFERING BOTTLED BEER

Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen is now in the bottling business, having recently rolled out its Chuckanut Pilsner in a 16.9-ounce bottle.

The bottled pilsner is in a variety of locations around Bellingham, including the Community Food Co-op, Elizabeth Station, Old World Deli, Copper Hog and the brewery itself. Later this month the beer will be handled by Dickerson Distributing, so it'll soon be in many more locations, said Mari Kemper, co-owner of the brewery.

Kemper said they originally planned to get into bottling when they first opened in early 2008. However, the global financial meltdown put a crimp on bank financing, so they decided to postpone the effort. They've been so busy it took them five years before introducing the bottles.

Next month the brewery plans to introduce its Chuckanut Kolsch in a bottle, followed by smaller batches of other flavors that will be available only at the brewery. The company will keep its customers updated on new releases on Facebook and its website, chuckanutbreweryandkitchen.com.

OTHER TIDBITS

-- Just Philly, which operated as a mobile cheese steak trailer, is moving into the former Estelle's Café & Deli space at 4073 Hannegan Road, near the East Bakerview Road intersection. Just Philly will be open for business in that spot on Monday, Jan. 13. Hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The trailer still will be available for parties and catering. For more information, call 360-738-8096.

-- A liquor license application was submitted for a new night club at 311 E. Holly St., in the former Stella space. The applicants are Brock Blatter and Sally McColloch, and the proposed name is The Star Club.

-- Peace Arch City Café has applied for a liquor license to sell beer and wine. The café is at 321 H St. in Blaine.

-- Wander Brewing received liquor license approval to operate a microbrewery at 1807 Dean Ave. in Bellingham. ... Quiznos closed its Meridian Street location, leaving the Barkley Village restaurant as the remaining Quiznos in Bellingham.

-- Brewed Awakening has closed its Samish Way coffee stand, while the Iowa Street spot remains open.

-- The Oyster Bar at Bayou on Bay was scheduled to have its final day on Saturday, Jan. 11, according to a Facebook post. It is in the process of moving to The Herald Building on North State Street and will be renamed Rock and Rye Oyster House. The restaurant Bayou on Bay will remain (and expand) at 1300 Bay St.

-- Labels Women's Consignment is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an open house at its two stores on 3927 Northwest Ave. and 2332 James St. The event takes place from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, with refreshments and a drawing for gift certificates.

-- Everybody's Store on Highway 9 in Van Zandt is now a WiFi hot spot, according to a news release from store owner Jeff Margolis. That area of the county is known for being a tough place to get a signal for Internet access. "We may be the smallest grocery in Whatcom County, but we always aim to be the biggest in service and satisfaction," Margolis said.

Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.

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

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