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Retail Tipsheet: Oyster company opens retail store in Blaine

A new Blaine store is not only a sign of an improving retail economy, but in this case it is also an indication that Drayton Harbor is becoming healthy again.

The Drayton Harbor Oyster Company, operated by Steve Seymour and his son, Mark Seymour, opened a retail store at 677 Peace Portal Drive. The store sells locally grown oysters that are as fresh as possible: On Thursday, March 5, Mark Seymour was in the store at noon selling oysters that were harvested at 11:15 a.m. They plan to start offering oyster stew and and grilled oysters and possibly a beer garden, but right now the focus is on selling raw oysters as well as providing information on ways to eat them.

The Seymours lease 30 acres of tideland on Drayton Harbor, where they have about one million oysters at various stages of growth. The company sells the oysters to restaurants in this region but also wanted to operate a store in Blaine. Shucked oysters currently are being sold at $12 for 13, but Blaine residents get $2 off as a thank you for keeping Drayton Harbor clean, Mark said.

Blaine residents, along with several local and state agencies, have worked to improve the water quality in Drayton Harbor over the years. The quality is currently good and Mark expects that to continue into the summer.

“What this store is really doing is giving us a chance to educate people on the downstream impacts that can take place,” Mark said.

The Seymours plan to keep the store open year-round. If the water quality at the harbor deteriorates, they plan on selling other state oysters until the water quality improves. When water quality is high enough to allow for oyster harvesting, the community benefits: The Drayton Harbor Oyster Company recently won a Bite of Blaine award for its oyster stew.

The company also sells oysters at the Bellingham Farmers Market. This season, they plan to grill oysters at the market. To get more information or updates, visit the company’s Facebook page.

WANDER BREWING EXPANDS

Bellingham’s Wander Brewing recently completed an expansion that has doubled its capacity.

The addition of larger fermentation tanks will allow the brewery to produce up to 3,000 barrels of beer a year, up from a previous capacity of 1,500 barrels, said co-owner Chad Kuehl. Last year Wander produced around 1,200 barrels.

The company also has added 2,000 square feet of space, which will help with storage of its Wander Brewing Barrel Project, which is scheduled to have its first bottle release at the end of the month. The project involves brewing beers in wine barrels.

The expanded capacity will allow the brewery to try out new recipes while still producing its core beers at a higher frequency. Currently Wander has about 100 accounts from Ferndale to Seattle and will try to add new accounts as a result of the expansion.

Wander Brewing also is coming up on its first anniversary on Saturday, May 2. Kuehl said the support they’ve received in the first 10 months has been great, and the craft beer industry is thriving in Bellingham.

“The community has been amazingly supportive of all the local breweries,” he said.

Wander Brewing is at 1807 Dean Ave. For details, visit wanderbrewing.com.

OTHER TIDBITS

The artisan cheese shop Perfectly Paired successfully completed its move into its new space at 1143 11th St. in Fairhaven. Along with cheese, the store sells a variety of items including wine and chocolates. ... Bellingham Flat Bread and Bakery recently changed its name to Original Grains. The bakery at 2500 Cornwall Ave. offers both traditional and gluten-free products. Details can be found at its Facebook page. ... The Fairhaven Smoke Shop has closed. According to a note to fans on its Facebook page, owner Mike Waters recently purchased a shop in Seattle, and a decision was made to close the Fairhaven shop and operate just two stores. The other store in operation is The Senate at 215 W. Holly St. in downtown Bellingham. The Fairhaven shop had operated continuously since 1985, according to Waters. ... Famous Footwear has submitted a building permit to remodel its store at Bellis Fair mall. ... Earthbenders has closed its pottery studio at 1411 Cornwall Ave. but has started a GoFundMe campaign online to try to reopen somewhere in Bellingham.

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