What the Women’s March meant to downtown businesses

Protesters march down Magnolia Street during the Women's March on Bellingham on Jan. 21, 2017.
Protesters march down Magnolia Street during the Women's March on Bellingham on Jan. 21, 2017.

The Women’s March on Bellingham on Jan. 21 turned out to be a nice boost for many downtown businesses.

The march, which drew thousands of people to downtown, ended right around the lunch hour and many had worked up an appetite – restaurants were quickly swamped into the afternoon.

Sales at The Bagelry were up about 30 percent compared to a similar Saturday in January a year ago, said co-owner Terra Seaton. Saturdays are typically busy at The Bagelry, but usually in the morning. Having a strong afternoon really boosted sales, she said.

The order line inside The Bagelry on Railroad Avenue got long around noon and stayed that way into the afternoon, said Erin Donahou, who has worked at the eatery for two years. What Donahou remembers most about that afternoon was how positive people were even though they were hungry and stuck in line.

“They were just so excited, it really energized the staff,” Donahou said.

Nearby at AB Crepes, seats were hard to find and the line was out the door, said general manager Taylor Durnil. During the peak of the lunch rush, customers were waiting up to 40 minutes for their order and the restaurant had to restock some supplies that usually last through the weekend, she said.

The unanticipated boost in sales came at an important time for many of these businesses. January is typically one of the slowest months of the year. It has been particularly slow for some stores this year – an extended cold snap in late December and early January kept more people at home.

Seaton said she was especially grateful for people on social media who posted unsolicited comments urging people to take some time after the march to visits the downtown shops.

“That was definitely very helpful to the downtown businesses,” she said.


Plans are in the works for a new downtown restaurant. Thousand Pennies has its signs up and is planning to serve burgers, fish and chips, as well as ramen, according to a menu posted on the window at 113 E. Magnolia St. No opening date has been announced. ... Menace Brewing opened its brewery Jan. 21 in the Fountain District at 2529 Meridian St. The brewery has a taproom, selling pints and growlers. The company got its start in Ferndale in 2011 before moving to Bellingham. The company also owns The Local Public House at 1427 Railroad Ave. ... The Mad Hatter Vintage Clothing Store is in the final days of its closing sale at 1327 Railroad Ave. Owner Claudia Anderson said they’ve marked down prices for this weekend’s sale. The store’s final day is Jan. 31. ... Rolling Donuts at 3098 Northwest Ave. has closed. The cafe originally opened last spring. ... Vintage Art Treasures at 3006 Northwest Ave. is having a Lunar New Year Sale. The store is open Thursday through Sunday 1-6 p.m. The temporary store’s last day of business is Feb. 18. Details can be found on its Facebook page. ... A sign is up at the former Hot Point Tea Express restaurant at 1204 Cornwall Ave. advertising that a Chinese restaurant that specializes in dumplings will be going into the space. ... American Family Insurance, Seth Carson Agency has moved its office to 1308 Meador Ave., Suite C9, in the Haskell Business Center. It was previously in Fairhaven. Chazzzam Signs & Vehicle Restyling announced on its Facebook page that it is moving to 1918 Iowa St. The last day at its old shop (limited service) is Jan. 30; it plans to reopen in the new shop on Feb. 6. The business is currently at 420 Ohio St. ... Chuckanut Brewery continues to roll out beers. Last week it brought back its Rauch Lager, which has a beechwood smokiness to it, said co-owner Mari Kemper.