You could go into this Barkley store looking for a candle and leave with a new home

Tamara Cantu bags a customer's items during Urban Collective's first day of business on Thursday in Bellingham.
Tamara Cantu bags a customer's items during Urban Collective's first day of business on Thursday in Bellingham.

Solveig Johnson is a fan of giving customers a little extra, so that's what she has in mind with a collection of businesses in her new store.

Johnson opened Urban Collective in the Barkley District on June 21. When a customer first walks in the store at 2955 Newmarket St. (next to Jalapenos) they will see the retail component: A home-decor store with a variety of styles of products for the kitchen, living and dining rooms.

As the customer makes their way through the store, they will also discover it is also a real estate office, which will have about eight agents from the Muljat Group (including Johnson) helping people buy and sell homes. There's also a separate florist business called Olio, which sells flowers and plants and is owned by Tatum Brown. And, Urban Collective offers home staging services.

In some ways it's a one-stop shop for real estate. Johnson joked that someone could walk in the store to buy a nice candle and end up buying a house. More seriously, she believes people crave relationships when it comes to real estate, and she wants to present a comfortable place where they can see a collection of related businesses at work.

Johnson's inspiration came earlier in her career when she was a salon sales representative. She visited plenty of salons in her job, and she enjoyed the ones that were able to create a boutique that offered more than just a haircut.

"If you can give more value to an experience, that is always a plus," she said.

Brown, who worked at Belle Flora before starting Olio, said she wanted to be a part of Urban Collective's space because house plants are a part of any home experience. Olio also handles other aspects one might find in the flower business, including deliveries and special events. For details, call 360-961-7858.

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Tatum Brown, owner of Olio Flowers and Plants, makes a fresh floral arrangement on Thursday in Bellingham. Olio Flowers and Plants shares a space with Urban Collective. Evan Abell

Urban Collective is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Details can be found at

Other Tidbits

A Bellingham building permit was submitted to put in a new restaurant in Barkley Village called Mix It Up Tasty. The permit indicates the business would go into 2925 Newmarket St., Suite 107, in the former Bayside Coin & Jewelry space. Bayside recently moved to 1732 Iowa St. ... Alaska USA Federal Credit Union announced that it was closing one of its Bellingham branches on July 15. The closing branch is at 210 36th St., in the Sehome Haggen store. In a news release, the company said it was closing the Bellingham branch and three other branches in order to move resources to other branches and services. The credit union has one other branch in Bellingham, in the Barkley Haggen store at 2900 Woburn St. ... Heritage Bank recently closed its Fairhaven branch at 1318 12th St., near Zane Burger. The bank has three other branches in Bellingham. ... Spare Room Furniture is making plans to move into a new space. It has filed building permits to go into the Sunnyland Shopping Center near Trader Joe's.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz
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