Retailer Burlington opens Bellingham store

Despite the wet weather, a new major retailer received a steady stream of shoppers at its opening Friday, Sept. 26.

Burlington opened its doors in the former Meridian Cost Cutter building at 8:30 a.m. and by mid-morning had a full parking lot as customers dropped by to check out the 55,000-square-foot store.

Formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, the company now offers much more than coats. Items at the store include clothing for men, women and children, shoes, home accessories and luggage. A baby department includes infant clothing and furniture. The company advertises that it offers brand-name designs for up to 65 percent off department store prices. It also offers a layaway program.

“We’re just happy to be open,” said Lyle Stewart, store manager in Bellingham. “The store is well put together, making it easy to find things.”

The store, which is at 4131 Meridian St., fills a big, empty space in the retail center, to the relief of some nearby business owners. The Cost Cutter grocery store closed last fall, a few months after Phuong Tran purchased Cordata Hair at 4151 Meridian St.

“I was very concerned after (Cost Cutter) closed because the parking lot was empty,” she said, adding that while she has a regular customer base, the business also relies on walk-in traffic. “This (Burlington) store looks very nice.”

Burlington company officials kicked off the Bellingham store opening by donating six pallets of merchandise to Lydia Place, a local nonprofit that serves homeless families. The company also opened a store in Skagit County on Friday, with three more planned openings in Washington State.

At the Bellingham store, Stewart said they’ve hired 115 employees, with plans to hire about 35 more.

The store plans to continue its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 27, with events between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. including face-painting and prize drawings for $100 gift cards.

Store hours in Bellingham are 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Further details about the store can be found at