Business

Slower pace for Whatcom business openings so far in 2017

Seth Jeretzky waits outside the Dick's Sporting Goods store to open for the first time at Bellis Fair Wednesday, May 10, 2017. It was one of the bigger national retailers that opened in Bellingham so far in 2017.
Seth Jeretzky waits outside the Dick's Sporting Goods store to open for the first time at Bellis Fair Wednesday, May 10, 2017. It was one of the bigger national retailers that opened in Bellingham so far in 2017. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

It’s been an interesting first three quarters of 2017 when it comes to retail business openings and closings in Whatcom County.

In the last week of September, I’ve counted 47 closings of businesses with physical locations in the area. That’s more than all of 2015, but about on pace to match last year’s total of 64.

After a slow start with four openings in the first quarter of the year, I’ve counted 57 businesses that have either opened or are in the process of opening in Whatcom County so far in 2017. That’s still slower than in recent years in the county, which averaged around 90 a year.

When it comes to closings, Whatcom has been impacted by the wave of national chain closures that happened across the U.S. this year. Some of the national retailers that announced closings but kept Whatcom County stores open include JC Penney, Kmart and Macy’s. The national retailers that closed shop here include Wet Seal, Teavana, Family Christian, Radio Shack, Rue21 and Sears Hometown.

When it comes to openings, it has mostly been local startups. Dick’s Sporting Goods is perhaps the largest national retailer opening so far this year in Whatcom County, hiring around 80 employees. Bellingham is expected to get a boost in national retail openings in the first part of 2018 when Hobby Lobby, Home Goods and Sierra Trading Post open in the former Costco building at 4299 Meridian St.

The final quarter of the year is traditionally a quiet one in terms of openings and closings – retailers generally want to be open by now so they can take full advantage of the holiday shopping season, and businesses thinking about closing tend to hold off, hoping for a good final push to sell off inventory.

OTHER TIDBITS

Cycle Gear, a national retailer which sells motorcycle parts, related clothing and accessories, recently opened at 3960 Meridian St., near Home Depot. It is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, an hour later on Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For details, call 360-559-2200. ... Kickin’ A, which has gone through an ownership change and is undergoing some remodeling, is also in the midst of the business licensing process. The country music dance facility is at 5225 Industrial Place in Ferndale. Its new owner, Eva Moreno, recently applied for a state liquor license. According to a post on its Facebook page, it could re-open in a few weeks. ... According to an article in the Blaine newspaper The Northern Light, Vonna’s Purple Fin Restaurant at 4823 Alderson Road in Birch Bay is closing on Oct. 1. ... Ferndale’s Curb Shots has opened a location in Blaine. The coffee spot is in the former Border Brew space at 678 14th St. Details about Curb Shots can be found on its Facebook page. ... Barron Heating and Air Conditioning is celebrating its 45th anniversary on Oct. 7 with appetizers and cake from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in its Ferndale showroom at 5100 Pacific Hwy. Customers can also enter a drawing for prizes that include a fireplace and a hot tub. Details about the company can be found at barronheating.com. ... Jake’s Western Grill in Lynden announced on its Facebook page that it is now under new ownership. Vicka Haywood has taken over the business from the Poag family, which is moving out of the area. The restaurant is at 8114 Guide Meridian. ... Wild Blueberries announced on its Facebook page that it has closed its Fairhaven location and moved its products to Along Comes a Baby, which is at 436 W. Bakerview Rd., Suite 104 in Bakerview Square.

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