Bellingham Public Market starts capital campaign to expand

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 19, 2014 

Bellingham Public Market

The Bellingham Public Market at 1530 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham.

THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

BELLINGHAM - The Bellingham Public Market is looking to the community for support, but this time it is to expand the business.

Owner Stephen Trinkaus has announced plans to expand the market into the vacant 11,000-square-foot space next door at 1530 Cornwall Ave., nearly doubling the size of market, which is home to Terra Organica and several other tenants.

The expansion would allow Terra Organica to double its retail space. It also would be an opportunity to add several new tenants. Trinkaus said he's in negotiations with potential tenants, including a butcher, flower shop, cheese shop and other eateries.

He's hoping to raise around $300,000 through donations and loans for the project. Donations can be at a variety of levels, with donors receiving Terra Dollars that can be spent in the store. Trinkaus plans to run the campaign for three months, and then assess the prospects of expanding at that time.

"By doubling our size, we can appeal to a wider audience," said Trinkaus, adding that a larger grocery store and more tenants would create more of a public market feel.

Making plans to expand is quite a turnaround for the market, which was facing closure less than two years ago. In 2012 Trinkaus made an appeal to the community to help save the market after admitting to overextending his finances.

The appeal was successful, with the community organizing cash mobs, making donations and shopping at the store more often. The spike in sales allowed the company to repay its loans in a little more than a year.

"When we got overextended, things spiraled out of control. It was a really scary time," Trinkaus said, noting that he'll never forget the support he received during that time. "Now we're in good shape, and this (capital campaign) is about an opportunity, since the space next door is empty."

Trinkaus has other plans in the works, including reorganizing the store and establishing a new labeling system so customers can be better informed on what they are buying. Those labels would indicate 12 different attributes of interest to customers, including whether something is organic, locally made or if it has genetically modified ingredients.

Things have changed so much in the past 17 years since Trinkaus opened Terra Organica that the store needs reconfiguring, he said.

Riley Sweeney is heading up the capital campaign while Curt Carpenter is the architect on the project. For more information on the project, visit bellinghampublicmarket.com.

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.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service