Whatcom Magazine

Whatcom retail returning to pre-recession pattern

Mark Allison prepares a new bicycle for the showroom floor in June 2015 at The Kona Bike Shop, on North State Street, Bellingham.
Mark Allison prepares a new bicycle for the showroom floor in June 2015 at The Kona Bike Shop, on North State Street, Bellingham. The Bellingham Herald

It’s finally starting to look like the days before the Great Recession when it comes to local retail business openings and closings.

In the first half of 2015, Whatcom County had about 20 reported retail closings, putting it on pace to be the lowest annual closure total since 2007.

New retail business openings also have slowed: The 47 reported brick-and-mortar business openings is less than the totals for 2012, 2013 or 2014. During that recession turmoil, both closings and openings were higher, with some people getting out of business due to poor sales, and other people opening firms as a way to create jobs for themselves.

If Whatcom County retail follows traditional patterns, the fall season will feature some openings but few closures as stores take advantage of back-to-school shopping, followed by the holiday shopping season. Many of the closures that are coming tend to happen in the first quarter, typically the slowest time of year for sales.

Here are some notable openings and closings so far this year:

Openings: Ferndale Grocery Outlet, Safeway, Twin Sisters Creamery, The Kona Bike Shop, DSW, My Garden Nursery.

Closings: Babe’s Place, Blaine Marina, Four Starrs Boutique, Maple Falls Cafe.

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