It is tough enough to open a retail store, but to do it in the memory of someone else must really be a challenge.
That was the situation for Lynden Bolt, which opened last month at 404 Front St. in Lynden. The company is operated by Joan LeCocq and her two sons, Tim and Jesse Clark. The idea of the store was conceived by Joan’s husband Robert LeCocq, who operated Mobile Hardware for nearly 30 years, supplying businesses in several nearby counties with machine parts. Many of the businesses he visited were car dealerships but also places like fire districts and manufacturing companies.
As he was putting together the idea of opening a retail store in Lynden last August, Robert LeCocq suffered a stroke and died. It came as a complete shock to the family, but they decided to push forward with his idea, said Tim Clark, Robert LeCocq’s stepson. One factor motivating them to open the store was the outpouring from the community following LeCocq’s death. Tim remembers him as quite a character, getting customers to smile with his “joke of the day” and doing the little things to make sure his customers were happy.
“He reached more people than I’ll ever know,” Tim said.
For Tim and Jesse, it was a bit of a crash course in learning about retail, but they were able to draw on the experience of employees of Mobile Hardware, including Minnie Rhea, Violet Schmidt and Robert Stroup. Working together, Clark said there was a fair amount of “playing it by ear” as they got Lynden Bolt open.
One thing that surprised them was the amount of foot and phone traffic they’ve had in their first few weeks open. Clark said they thought they could get by with someone handling the wholesale and retail orders, but now think they will need to hire more front desk help.
The store itself has about 3,000 square feet of retail space, offering plenty of hardware as well as items like light bulbs, car cleaning products and accessories. In the coming weeks they also plan to put in a coffee bar and popcorn machine.
Lynden Bolt is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and closed Sunday. A website is under construction but details about the company can be found on its Facebook page.
LuLu owner Heather Baker announced that she will be closing the downtown clothing store in mid- to late February. The store at 124 W. Holly St. has been in business for more than 12 years selling women’s clothes. It will have a goodbye event with chocolates and champagne noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. ... The downtown Bellingham Starbucks at 132 E. Holly St. will be closed Jan. 25-28 as the cafe goes through an extensive remodel. ... Espresso 2 Go at 3435 Birch Bay-Lynden Road closed earlier this month after 14 years of business, according to its Facebook page. ... Ragfinery, the nonprofit store at 1421 N. Forest St. that turns clothing and garments into new items, is offering sewing bootcamp classes. The classes are 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 13, 20 and 27 and will help people learn the basics of sewing. Details can be found at Ragfinery.com.
Robert Stroup’s name was corrected on Jan. 25.