Business

This bird lover stepped up to save beloved Bellingham retail shop

Bellingham’s Wild Bird Chalet has a new owner

Just before the 27-year-old Wild Bird Chalet was about to close for good, longtime shopper Julie Whitacre decided she didn't want to see that happen and purchased the store in Bellingam, Wash., in July 2019.
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Just before the 27-year-old Wild Bird Chalet was about to close for good, longtime shopper Julie Whitacre decided she didn't want to see that happen and purchased the store in Bellingam, Wash., in July 2019.

The once about-to-close Wild Bird Chalet has a new owner and will remain open.

Two weeks ago, the fate of the 27-year-old business, known for its proprietary bird feed, was unclear. Shuttering its doors seemed to be a reality unless owner Valerie Wade could find a buyer by Friday, July 26.

Wade was ready for a life change, according to an interview in a previous story in The Bellingham Herald, but said at the time she “really loved the business and wanted to see it continue.”

Julia Whitacre, who has lived in Bellingham since 1990, purchased the building because she didn’t want to see the business that she has shopped at for 12 years close.

“I have been feeding birds myself for years” Whitacre told The Bellingham Herald. “And this has always been a great place to get quality, healthy birdseed. I just didn’t want to see that end.”

Whitacre also has a degree in ecology and said buying the store fits into her life-long goal of promoting healthy environments for plants and animals. She will be transitioning away from her job at a native plant nursery in the coming weeks.

The Wild Bird Chalet, located at 108 Ohio St., was closed Saturday, July 27, and will reopen Monday, Aug. 5.

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Julia Whitacre, who has lived in Bellingham since 1990, is the new owner of the Wild Bird Chalet in Bellingham. She’ll be open for business Monday. Valeri Wade Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

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