Family owned Sunnyland company ready to say goodbye after nearly 30 years

After nearly 30 years, a Bellingham family business known for being a part of thousands of family and community events is closing.

Master Rentals at 2219 James St. is ending its rental services on Oct. 31, with its large inventory of tables, table covers, chairs and other equipment being put up for sale on Nov. 1.

The company was founded by Jim North and his son, Rob, in October 1990. Rob’s wife Paula has also played an integral role in the company, having worked at the company for more than 20 years.

Rob North estimates they’ve had well more than 90,000 contracts in that time, supplying equipment for events ranging from birthday parties, school events and weddings to the annual Bellingham Greek Festival. It’s one of those businesses where if you stay in it long enough, you get to see life’s important transitions through several generations, he said.

While closing the business was a tough decision, it will allow the North family a little more time and allow them to concentrate on their other business, Premier Tents. That company, which makes customer printed canopies and tents, will remain at the James Street building.

Being a part of so many family, civic and community events is something they will miss the most. Paula North said seeing passion and energy of event organizers was inspirational.

When the business opened in 1990 it was more focused on being in contractor- and homeowner-equipment rental. As the economy changed in the mid-1990s, so did the company, supplying more celebration events.

After nearly 30 years in business, Jim North, his daughter-in-law Paula and son Rob are closing Master Rentals on James Street in Bellingham on Oct. 31, 2019. Known for its party and event rentals, the company had more than 90,000 contracts in that time, being a part of many local events. Dave Gallagher The Bellingham Herald

Being a tight family operation was one of the reasons it succeeded for nearly 30 years, Rob North said, adding that having respect for one another was the key. Another important thing was making sure that work-related stuff stayed at work and didn’t come home.

Rob and his dad did a lot of things together before starting the business, so it was an easy transition. Jim agreed, adding that being able to have fun with his son while working together was also important.

“We’re very busy, but it was still good to play jokes on one another,” Jim North said.

For further information, including inquiries about some of the inventory available in November, email

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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.