Business

Struggling downtown Bellingham grocer to close in a few weeks, along with the market

Stephen Trinkaus, owner of Terra Organica and co-owner of the Bellingham Public Market, talks with a worker in 2009.
Stephen Trinkaus, owner of Terra Organica and co-owner of the Bellingham Public Market, talks with a worker in 2009. The Bellingham Herald file

Despite a last-ditch effort to save it, Terra Organic & Natural Foods and the Bellingham Public Market are closing.

Owner Stephen Trinkaus made the announcement in a Facebook post on Wednesday evening, noting that inventory and store fixtures are on sale for the next few weeks. Since Terra Organic holds the lease for the building at 1530 Cornwall Ave., the other tenants in the market will have to either close or find a new space.

Film is Truth announced earlier this month that it is moving to 1418 Cornwall Ave., sharing space with Allied Arts and The Pickford Limelight.

Other tenants in the market include Electric Beet Juice Co., Trapeze, Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine, Maki Zushi, Living Earth Herbs and Mount Baker Books, according to the Market’s Facebook page. Trinkaus said those tenants will be moving to other locations.

“I hope our community continues to support these businesses as enthusiastically as ever, if not more so. They are all local treasures,” Trinkaus said in the Facebook post.

Terra, a 21-year-old business, has struggled recently. In May Trinkaus announced plans to try and save the business, including shrinking the grocery store, cutting expenses and trying to sign another tenant.

In his Facebook post on Wednesday, Trinkaus said the plan almost worked.

“We were so close, but ultimately we were too undercapitalized to finish the process,” Trinkaus said.

In an interview on Thursday, Trinkaus said the one piece that didn’t work was raising enough money to keep Terra going before other tenant signings could be finalized. The grocery business is known for its low margins and little room to make errors, and he said he made some errors that he couldn’t recover from in time.

Store hours during Terra’s going-out-of-business sale are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, closed on Sunday. The other tenants will maintain their current hours, Trinkaus said.

As for Trinkaus, he is currently weighing his options on what his next career choice will be.

“I did this for so long, so I’m not sure what I will be doing next,” Trinkaus said.

Terra organic
Terra Organic & Natural Foods and the Bellingham Public Market are closing the businesses at 1530 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham. Staff The Bellingham Herald file

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz
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