New downtown Bellingham store offers plenty from this planet

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 1, 2014 

RetailTipSheet Third Planet

Laura Ann Hawks and her daughter Larkin Hawks, 4, check out the women's clothing at the new The Third Planet store on the corner of Commercial and West Holly streets in downtown Bellingham Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014. The store sells women's clothing, T-shirts and smoking accessories.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

It's not often you walk into a store and bump into a Zoltar Fortune Teller machine, but it's just one of several discoveries to be made at Third Planet.

Earlier this month David Jess opened Third Planet on 200 W. Holly St. in downtown Bellingham, offering a variety of products, including women's clothes, old school music tour shirts and smoking accessories.

This is Jess' fourth Third Planet store; the other three are in Kansas, where he started the company more than 20 years ago. Jess is originally from this region and decided to move back. Driving up and down the Washington and Oregon coast, he settled on Bellingham. Along with being a college town, Bellingham doesn't have many places that offer Third Planet's products, he said.

Jess has heard a few references of his place as a "hippie store," which give him a good chuckle. Typically Third Planet's main customer base is college students. It also draws quite a few women in their 30s, because of the wide selection of women's clothing. He likes to describe his store as a conscious living lifestyle shop.

With the soft opening, Jess said he's planning on listening to customers to help determine which products to focus on, a strategy he's done with his Kansas stores. A grand opening will be scheduled for either late February or early March, at which time more products will be in the store. The biggest surprise for Jess during the first few days of opening was the response from the community.

"Bellingham has been much more welcoming than I ever would have expected," Jess said. "It's been a great response."

Zoltar is one of the standbys for a Third Planet store, along with antique rotating shelves in the glass case. The business also is known for having attended rock music festivals across the country. Rock music T-shirts are a popular part of the store, and Jess said the younger generation is embracing music from the 1970s and 1980s, like Led Zepplin and Journey.

For details on the store, visit the Third Planet Bellingham Facebook page or call 360-778-3765.

FOUNTAIN DISTRICT BIKE SHOP OPENING IN MARCH

A family-owned, locally operated company is returning to the old Fountain Galleria building on Meridian Street.

Andy and Stacy Walker recently purchased the building and hope to have Bikesport open by the first week of March. The two have partnered with Scott Kowal and Tassie Orem Kowal to open this business, which focuses on bicycle sales, service and cycling accessories. The store also will have spin classes as well as triathlete products. Local triathlete Maureen "Mo" Trainor will help develop training sessions at the store.

Andy Walker said they also plan to sublease about 1,100 square feet for an ancillary business, possibly a coffee shop.

The Walkers have lived in Whatcom County since the early 1990s and felt the old Fountain Galleria building being empty was a detriment to the neighborhood.

"We've purchased toys in the basement. Many people have great memories of it," Walker said. "This building needs to continue with those kind of stories."

Walker will be leaving the construction industry to become operator of the store. He hopes this is the kind of business that he can eventually turn over to his sons (who are 11 and 13) if they are interested in keeping it going.

Bikesport also has a store in the Seattle area, selling a variety of bike brands ranging from family recreation styles to ones that are race ready, including Cannondale and Jamis.

FAT PIE PIZZA NOW UP AND RUNNING

Last week Fat Pie Pizza in Fairhaven had a soft opening, offering a variety of pizza styles and sandwiches.

The restaurant serves a deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. It also has a Detroit-style pizza, which has a crispy bottom but is not thin crust, said Kim Mindnich, general manager at Fat Pie Pizza. The restaurant does offer take out, but is much more a classic sit-down pizza place, he said.

The soft opening last week offered a chance to test the equipment. Now that the business is open, the plan is to have a grand opening celebration later this month.

The restaurant is at 1015 Harris Ave. and open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The restaurant has lunch specials 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the week and happy hour specials 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close. For further details, call 360-366-8090.

OTHER TIDBITS

-- The Poor Siamese Café on Dupont Street has a sign on the door saying "closed today" but has been closed for several weeks. Attempts to reach the owner have been unsuccessful.

-- The window-covering business Budget Blinds now has a shop-at-home service to customers in Bellingham. The free in-home consultations offer a collection of sample books to give customers a better idea of what works with their existing décor, according to a company news release. It offers consultations for both residential homes and businesses. For details, call franchise owners Paul and Linda Teater at 360-435-8700 or visit budgetblinds.com/bellingham.

-- Coconut Kenny's, which has restaurants in Bellingham and Ferndale, announced on its Facebook page last week that it will be opening a second Skagit County location. The new spot is scheduled to open in early March at 1060 S. Burlington Blvd. in Burlington.

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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