Village Books and Paper Dreams expanding to Lynden

Village Books and Paper Dreams will expand into Lynden by opening a second location in the Waples Mercantile Building in November.

The iconic independent bookstore in Fairhaven is the latest to say it will go into the building at 444 Front St. in downtown Lynden.

Village Books and Paper Dreams will offer books, gifts and cards in a 3,000-square-foot space that opens up onto Front Street. The new space will be about 20 percent of their existing stores in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham, which total 15,000 square feet.

Chuck and Dee Robinson own both businesses.

“They’re a nationally recognized extremely successful retailer. They also have such a deep commitment to the community. I don’t think we could ask for a better tenant for our building,” said Teri Treat, building co-owner.

Formerly known as Delft Square, the 100-year-old building was nearly destroyed by a fire in June 2008, and is being redeveloped.

Its centerpiece will be a 35-room boutique inn on the second floor that will be operated by building owners Teri and Matt Treat and Jeff and Debra McClure.

Village Books will celebrate its 35th anniversary in June. The Robinsons opened Paper Dreams, a stationery and gift store, in 1982 in an adjacent spot on 11th Street.

In recent years the two stores have been opened into one another through a shared doorway and have become more integrated in merchandising, management and personnel.

The Robinsons are opening in Lynden, in part, because they already have regular customers from the growing city — the second largest in Whatcom County — and surrounding areas such as Everson, Nooksack and Ferndale.

“We obviously have a fair number of customers in the north county,” Chuck Robinson said, adding that they’ve been looking for a second location for some time.

In addition to providing a more convenient location for those customers, the new space will be closer to the Canadian border and those visitors, provide access to people staying at the inn and in town for events at the Lynden fairgrounds, and provide a chance for cross-promotion with the inn.

“We’re excited about that part,” Chuck Robinson said of collaborating.

In February, Avenue Bread announced it will open a café in the Waples Mercantile Building.

The owners of Drizzle Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Room also are expected to sign a lease for a spot in the building.

All now have stores in Fairhaven near Village Books.

“This is a little bit of Fairhaven moves to Lynden,” Chuck Robinson said.

The owners of Drizzle, Dana and Ross Driscoll, will later reveal more of their plans to expand into Lynden. But, for now, they were excited by the idea of going into the Waples Mercantile Building.

“We’re honored to be part of the established merchants that are eager to move up to Lynden and to be part of the Lynden community,” Dana Driscoll said of the added location.