Business

Fairhaven bakery expands with cafe and full menu

Lee Gulyas, left, and Alex Sheaffer meet for coffee in the new café at the Mount Bakery Fairhaven in Bellingham Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016.
Lee Gulyas, left, and Alex Sheaffer meet for coffee in the new café at the Mount Bakery Fairhaven in Bellingham Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Vince Lalonde is making the old look new at his expanded Fairhaven cafe.

Remodeling was recently completed at the Mount Bakery Fairhaven at 1217 Harris Ave. The bakery now has a sit-down component and a menu much like its downtown cafe at 308 W. Champion St. The Fairhaven cafe has 49 seats and a revamped baking area. It will be open 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The makeover used quite a few items from The RE Store in Bellingham. The cafe’s red booths may look familiar to customers of Bellingham’s former Oriento restaurant, while the lighting gives it a 1970s look, Lalonde said.

Lalonde said Mount Bakery Fairhaven has become a neighborhood cafe, with many customers who walk over from nearby. The downtown location has more of a working-lunch-crowd feel, he said.

With both cafes in place and the months of remodeling complete, Lalonde can focus on growing the business. The downtown location has long hosted popular Tour de France viewing parties each summer, but Lalonde said he’s leaning toward having the Fairhaven cafe host them.

Information about Mount Bakery can be found on its website.

FEWER BUSINESS OPENINGS SO FAR IN 2016

This is shaping up to be a slower year for storefront openings.

So far I’ve counted 66 Whatcom County brick-and-mortar retail and restaurant openings, well below the typical total of around 100 annual openings in recent years. In 2015, I counted 92 openings. Most on the list were small businesses, particularly restaurants. One of the largest retailers to open this year was Whole Foods in Bellingham.

Whatcom County got off to a slow start with new openings, picking up some strength in the third quarter and part of the fourth. That trend differs from what I’ve noticed in recent years, when a flurry of businesses would open in the spring and early summer in order to be established by the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

Between 2012 and 2014, we had a large number of openings, suggesting a bit of a recovery from the 2008-2011 economic downturn. It’s possible the weak Canadian dollar is putting a damper on retail openings, or maybe online sales are having an increased impact. It may also mean that Whatcom County is reaching a better balance between supply and demand after what’s been an up-and-down period for retail.

In last week’s column, I noted that closings were at 53 so far this year. So it appears that this year isshaping up to be one where openings and closings are just about equal, after several years of store openings outpacing closings.

OTHER TIDBITS

Novato Shop & Studio has moved into a bigger space, but it didn’t go far. The store moved into the Chestnut Flats building at 121 W. Chestnut St., about 40 feet from its original space. The store is expanding its space to feature more local art. Logan McQuaig, who owns the business with his wife, Kourtnei, is an artist who specializes in acrylic painting, particularly custom shoes. The owners have also dedicated one area as an art gallery. Details about the business can be found on its Facebook page. ... According to a post in the local beer website Tap Trail, Aslan Brewing plans to open a barrel aging and tasting room near the Schweinhaus Biergarten at 1330 N. State St. The plan is to open the 8,000-square-foot spot in mid-2017, according to the post.

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