New Bellingham bike shop refurbishes landmark building in Fountain District

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 22, 2014 

Retailtipsheet Bikesport

Jules McEvoy and his son, seven-month-old Charles McEvoy, look at bikes at the new Bikesport store with co-owner Andy Walker in the old Fountain Galleria building on Meridian Street in Bellingham, Tuesday, March 18, 2014.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

A just-opened business in the Fountain District has given new life to a landmark neighborhood building.

On Friday, March 14, Bikesport opened in the former Fountain Galleria building on Meridian Street. Andy and Stacy Walker partnered with Scott Kowal and Tassie Orem Kowal to open the bike shop, which focuses on bicycle sales, service and cycling accessories.

Local triathlete Maureen "Mo" Trainor is also involved with the business, organizing training sessions at the store, which also sells triathlete equipment.

All four owners are local residents, and part of the goal in opening the bike business was to revitalize the building, which was well known in the neighborhood for its longtime toy shop and pharmacy.

"The history people mention (about this building) are also our memories, so hopefully we'll be able to continue creating those memories," said Andy Walker, who purchased the building last year.

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

The bike shop will be similar in scope to the Bikesport store in Ballard that the Kowals opened a few years ago. The store plans on tapping into several bike markets, from children just getting started to adult racers. It'll also sell a variety of accessories and have a service department with employees certified in repair work. Bike brands include Cannondale and Jamis.

The children's market is particularly important, said Walker. He wants to create an atmosphere where people can come in with the most basic questions. The store also has an inside runway area so children can try out a bike.

"Biking can be an intense sport, so we want this to be a place where people can go that's not an intimidating environment," Walker said.

Although Bellingham already has several well-established bike shops, Scott Kowal said there is room to grow because this area is so popular for bicyclists, given all the great trails in the area.

Biking in general is growing he said, but mountain biking has really taken off in recent years.

The store will have a grand opening celebration March 29-30, including food, giveaways and visits from bike vendors. During the week leading up to the grand opening, Bikesport will have specials on its Facebook page.

C SHOP CHURNS OUT BUNNIES DURING REMODEL

The C Shop is in the midst of a remodel, but the chocolate bunnies are still landing in local stores.

The popular Birch Bay candy shop is getting its wood floor replaced, and the retail candy section of the store is being remodeled, said Patricia Alesse, co-owner. The remodeling has meant a slight delay to the store's seasonal opening, which is now set for Friday, April 4.

While the remodeling is happening in the building, the traditional chocolate Easter bunnies are still being made. They can be found in a variety of stores in Whatcom County, including both Community Food Co-ops, Paper Dreams in Fairhaven, Blaine Bouquets and the gift shop at St. Joseph hospital.

Once The C Shop reopens, customers will find a new configuration in the candy section that should improve traffic flow, Alesse said.

"We were able to create a little more space for customers, which should help," Alesse said.

For those not familiar with The C Shop, the season schedule is a bit unusual. It'll be open 2 to 8 p.m. April 4-6 and those same hours April 11-19.

It reopens 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends starting on Mother's Day weekend (May 10), then open every day starting Father's Day weekend (June 15).

For details, visit the store's Facebook page.

OTHER TIDBITS

Entering its 30th season, Bear Creek Nursery is making a few changes. First a name change: The business at 4999 Samish Way (south of Lake Padden) will be known as Bear Creek Landscape to emphasize a change in focus to landscape design and maintenance, said owner Jeanne Hager. The retail area will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. For details, visit the company's website at bearcreeklandscape.info.

-- You may have noticed the construction project taking place at 300 E. Sunset Drive, at the Ellis Street intersection near the hospital. That's going to be a retail pharmacy store called RX-Mart Pharmacy. A liquor license application also was submitted for that address to sell beer and wine.

-- A Bellingham building permit was submitted to build a four-story, 14-unit residential building at 1029 22nd St., near Western Washington University.

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

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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