Whatcom Magazine

Slow start to Whatcom business openings in 2016

Customers Khara Turner, left, and Alana Hansen are served by Lydia Davis and Brie Mueller at Eat Restaurant and Bar in downtown Bellingham in February 2016.
Customers Khara Turner, left, and Alana Hansen are served by Lydia Davis and Brie Mueller at Eat Restaurant and Bar in downtown Bellingham in February 2016. pdwyer@bellinghamherald.com

It has been a quiet start to 2016 when it comes to business openings in Whatcom County.

Through the first three months of the year, 15 brick-and-mortar retail businesses opened in the county, while 18 closed.

The number of closures is fairly typical for the first quarter, given that retailers thinking about closing often hold out until after the busy holidays to do so.

The number of new openings is much slower than what has been seen in recent years during the recovery from the financial meltdown of 2008. Usually, new retail businesses want to open during the first half of the year to be ready for the tourism season, followed by back-to-school and the holiday shopping rush of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

In recent years, about 80 to 100 new retail businesses open each year in Whatcom County.

A steady stream of openings at the end of 2015 may have contributed to a slowdown in early 2016. Downtown Lynden was home to several openings, particularly in the Waples Mercantile Building at 444 Front St., where renovations to the more than 100-year-old fire-damaged building were completed.

Some notable openings in the first quarter of 2016: The Grill restaurant, Welcome grocery store, Eat restaurant, Make Take Bake.

Some notable closings in the first quarter of 2016: Radio Shack at Bellis Fair, Lulu, Foot Locker, Espresso 2 Go, Bike Sport, Fabric-etc.

  Comments