Retail Tipsheet: New downtown Bellingham store focuses on Pacific Northwest artists

Logan McQuaig knew this region has a vibrant art scene, but he didn’t realize the depth until he started his own business.

McQuaig recently opened Novato Shop & Studio at 115 W. Chestnut St., near Kulshan Cycles. The store has artwork by Pacific Northwest people on a variety of products, including shirts, shoes skateboards, pictures and cards. McQuaig said he is letting the store evolve, relying on customers and artists to help determine what should be at Novato.

In the back of the store is McQuaig’s studio, where he works on his projects. He’s become known around town for his hand-painted Vans shoes, particularly of iconic scenes with Seattle Seahawks and Mariners players. He also does his own take on famous movie posters, such as “Jaws” and “Airplane!”

Having just opened, the store is filled with different artwork priced from a few dollars on up. He saw an opportunity in Bellingham for a store with artwork at lower price points, and he’s had no problem finding product.

“I’m shocked at how many people do this stuff,” McQuaig said, adding that he’s also impressed at the quality of work done in this area.

The store is in the mixed-use building where Towner Press used to be. He chose the space because the dimensions were exactly what he wanted and he’s had a good relationship with the landlord creating what he wanted for the space. With the building seemingly being a block away from so much downtown activity, foot traffic in that area is slow. He expects that to improve in the coming years as more apartments are built in the area, and he already sees good traffic during big event days, such as the Bellingham Farmers Market and the monthly downtown artwalk.

The business name means inexperienced or a newbie in Spanish. For McQuaig, who didn’t really get into painting until he was in his 30s, it’s a reminder to him to embrace new things.

“I’ve been learning a lot from some really talented people,” he said.

The store is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday. Details about the business can be found on Novato’s Facebook page or


Bellis Fair continues to attract new tenants as it appears its multimillion dollar remodel the past few years is paying dividends. Here’s an update:


Earthbound Trading Co.

is going into a space next to



Payless Shoes

, with construction scheduled to start in the coming week. The national company sells a variety of products, including clothing, home decor and jewelry. Details about the company can be found at


•  A toy store called


is moving into the former Tilt space in the


wing. The owners of Wishes also have a store at the Everett mall. It is expected to be ready by August, said Bellis Fair General Manager René Morris.


Express Teriyaki Japan


Thai Go & Noodle

are going into the Food Court. Express Teriyaki is expected to open at the end of summer, while Thai Go should be ready by October.


Vitamin World

is currently undergoing a remodel and is temporarily closed, while

Red Robin



are planning to start remodeling work soon, Morris said. Buckle will move to a temporary space during the remodel. Also,

Famous Footwear

recently completed its store remodel.


Several readers have wondered about the new building going into the former coffee stand space near the Sunset Car Wash.

That will soon be home to Cellular Sales, a wireless retailer that is associated with Verizon. The store is expected to open around July 1, said James Welshimer, a recruiter for the company. The remodeled building will be triple the size of the coffee stand.

Welshimer said the store will have around 15 employees and currently has 10 unfilled positions. He said employees make a 50 percent commission and have a base pay of $14.21 an hour plus benefits. For details, visit joincellularsales/


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