Appel Farms unveils new Whatcom County cheese shop

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 12, 2014 

RetailTipSheet

Ruth Appel, manager of The Cheese Shop at Appel Farms, stacks fresh cheese curds on top of a display case Thursday, April 10, 2014 in Ferndale.

EVAN ABELL — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

For people who want to know more about where their cheese comes from, Appel Farms has made it easier to find out.

The farm recently opened a retail store called The Cheese Shop at 6605 Northwest Road, near the Pole Road intersection. The farm had a retail store in a different location, but the new site is a better place for visitors and includes some added features, said Ruth Appel, store manager. The new store has 1,000 square feet of retail space.

Additional features include a deli, so people can melt the locally made cheese on bread and enjoy it at the store. A chef is on staff to provide a variety of other items, including baked goods. The store also has a drive-through window for people who need to grab something on the way to work.

Since the opening on March 24, the deli has been a big hit, with customers tending to hang out and enjoy the area, Appel said.

The farm has a long history in Whatcom County, and sticks to a traditional way of making cheese. Customers can see a slide show of the process. The farm has given tours in the past, but slides might be more interesting because customers quickly learn on tours that most of the process involves keeping things clean. At Appel Farms, many customers are interested in seeing the cows and how they are treated.

"This is really a chance for families to come out and see where their food comes from and how it's done locally," Appel said.

Cheese, of course, is the main feature. The store carries several varieties, including cheddar, feta and Gouda. The cheeses also can have different ingredients mixed in. For example, customers can choose cheddar with black pepper or bacon flavors.

The store also has Squeakers, which are curds taken out of the cheese making process before they are pressed to form a block of cheddar. The curd squeaks in your teeth while you're chewing, hence the nickname.

While Appel Farms has its own new cheese store, the product itself will continue to be sold in many retail outlets around the county.

The store will have a grand opening celebration May 1-3. Store hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays; closed Sundays. Details: thecheesefarm.net or 360-312-1431.

NEW STORE COMING TO BELLWETHER WAY

With the Bellwether Way area continuing to draw more local residents and tourists, Ann McEvoy believes the area now has enough traffic to warrant a convenience store.

A lease agreement will go before Port of Bellingham commissioners this week that would allow McEvoy to start Bellwether Market at 6 Bellwether Way, in the small building between the two office buildings and Hotel Bellwether. McEvoy plans to take over the space at the beginning of May and have a soft opening around May 15, with a grand opening June 1.

Once open, the market will offer a variety of items to serve the different groups in the area. That includes catering to office workers in the area with boxed lunches, a food cart, and a delivery service. Boaters and hotel guests will have a place to pick up necessary items, and other residents and tourists visiting Bellwether Way can check out the store's gifts, specialty wines, meats, cheeses, chocolates and salads.

The store will have a big-screen television, so workers and visitors can take a break to relax, McEvoy said. The biggest growth in recent years has been in office workers, with several new buildings being added to the area in recent years.

McEvoy describes it as a high-end convenience store, with a priority on serving people of the area with its delivery service.

Retail is second nature to McEvoy. She has worked for Nordstrom and a variety of other stores, and has managed some local Shell gas stations, including the one on Meridian Street near WinCo.

McEvoy hasn't finalized her hours yet, but leans toward being open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with expanded hours during the summer. For details, email McEvoy at ammcorporation@msn.com.

ROWING STUDIO OPENS APRIL 14

A new fitness center is scheduled to open Monday, April 14. Rema Fit Rowing studio is in Haskell Business Center at 121 Fraser St., unit E-2.

The studio is owned and operated by Elle Logan, Mary Ennes Davis and Carlos Dinares. Logan is an Olympic rower who is training to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil; Davis is a local artist and Dinares is an international rowing coach.

Logan is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, winning on the women's eight team in Beijing and London. She is training with Dinares, who will offer his coaching advice at the studio. Davis recently received her coaching certification in December, overcoming a debilitating back problem.

The studio will have Dynamic rowing machines, which are considered useful for a high-intensity, low-impact workout. Details: remafitness.com.

OTHER TIDBITS

-- Burlington Coat Factory submitted building permit plans last week to remodel the former Meridian Cost Cutter building at 4131 Meridian St. The plans call for about $2.3 million in remodeling work, which would include improvements to the inside and outside of the building. Plans also call for removal of a 6,800-square-foot mezzanine area. Burlington Coat Factory is known for its selection of discount apparel, including coats, as well as home products. It has more than 470 stores in 44 states. In Washington, the company has several stores, including in Everett and Edmonds. It will also have a store in Burlington later this year.

-- Earlier this month, local Pepsi distributor Walton Beverage was approved by the Washington State Liquor Control Board to distribute beer.

-- A new liquor license application was submitted for the Main Street Bar & Grill in Ferndale. The new applicant is John Wirts.

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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