Business

Whatcom dessert manufacturer doubles in size and looks to keep growing after move

One of the more popular Chuckanut Bay Foods products is the single-serve cheesecake. The company recent started operations at its new 20,000-square-foot facility in Blaine.
One of the more popular Chuckanut Bay Foods products is the single-serve cheesecake. The company recent started operations at its new 20,000-square-foot facility in Blaine. Chuckanut Bay Foods

With a bigger space and better work flow area, a Whatcom County dessert manufacturer is preparing for even more growth.

Chuckanut Bay Foods recently moved into its new 20,000-square-foot facility in Blaine, on Boblett Street near Interstate 5. It is twice the size of its former Ferndale building and there is enough room for the company to double its capacity again if needed, said Matt Roth, the company’s president, told The Bellingham Herald.

The company is known for its cheesecakes, but also makes other desserts, such as tiramisu and fruitcake. Its products are sold in more than 7,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada and now has 120 employees, according to a news release. In 2008, when the current owners purchased the company, it had two employees.

While Chuckanut Bay Foods is planning for further growth, it plans to remain a specialty shop, Roth said. They want to be known for unique regional products, rather than making one thing in a mass-produced way. For example, they make a Saskatoon Berry Cheesecake that is targeted for stores in that region.

By remaining a specialty shop, it also allows Chuckanut Bay Foods to stick with all-natural ingredients from Pacific Northwest Farms, Roth said.

In the first month since the company moved into its Blaine facility, the production flow has improved considerably, Roth said. With more space, the company can buy a truckload of cream cheese and store it, rather than buying just enough to get through a production cycle.

Along with the Chuckanut Bay Foods brand, the company has gotten into the private-label industry, making products for store and coffee chains. They also make a variety of proprietary desserts for other customers, Roth said.

The Blaine community has been busy in the past year with a variety of construction projects, including new stores and restaurants. The city approved permits for non-residential projects valued at nearly $6.3 million last year, more than six times the 2017 total, according to data from Blaine’s community development department.

Last year was also big for residential projects: Permits were issued for Blaine housing projects valued at $19.8 million in 2018, up from nearly $5.9 million in 2017.

State legislators approved a two-year $4.9 billion capital budget on Sunday, April 28, 2019, that included allocations for a number of Whatcom County projects.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.
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