Restaurant activity is picking up with two making plans in Bellingham, one in Lynden

Here’s a roundup of retail news around Whatcom County:

Plans are in the works for a new Italian restaurant in downtown Bellingham. Storia Cucina has a “coming soon” post on its Facebook page and plans to go into the former Michael’s Books building at 109 Grand Ave. The page indicates San Francisco restaurateur Jonathan Sutton and Bellingham’s Arlen Coiley are putting together the eatery, which will focus on fresh pasta and pizza.

A new gourmet hot dog restaurant is nearly ready to opening in Lynden. The Dawg House is going into 1901 Front St., near the Tractor Supply Co. According to a Facebook post, on Monday, Sept. 23, the company is going through its permit inspections and getting ready to stock its products.

With the holiday shopping season around the corner, there’s the traditional barrage of studies predicting consumer spending habits. One that jumped out at me was an OpenX/The Harris Poll survey that predicts more purchases will be made online than in stores for the first time ever. Mobile phones have become a primary driver, with 20% of all holiday sales originating from those devices.

That trend is not only a big deal for Whatcom County stores, but for the mail and delivery services in this area. Whatcom County retail is influenced by the habits of Canadian shoppers and that has continued with online shopping deliveries, particularly in the border communities of Blaine and Sumas.

One other thing to note about this year’s holiday shopping season is that there will be only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, compared with 32 days in 2018. This shorter period happens every six years because of the way the calendar is structured.

A cocktail lounge/video game console arcade in Fairhaven has recently made some changes, including its name. Formerly known as Best Buds Gaming Lounge, the business at 1121 McKenzie Ave. is now known as 1-Up Lounge.

According to its “about us” page on its website, one reason for the change was because it was being confused as a marijuana store.

The lounge is open to all ages until 7 p.m. every night; after that time it is open to adults only. Further details can be found on the company’s Facebook page.

The former Johnny’s Donuts space at 2201 Cornwall Ave. appears to be getting a new tenant. Building permit applications were submitted to remodel the space for a Thai restaurant.

The recently opened Tractor Supply Company in Ferndale will have a grand opening celebration Saturday, Oct. 5.

Along with prizes, the store will have giveaways, discounts and family events including pet adoption. The store has products for farmers, pet owners, gardeners and homeowners, according to a news release.

The store is at 1750 Labounty Drive, near the Ferndale Grocery Outlet. It is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The store will have around 15 employees.

The company has 1,800 stores and has opened more than 90 this year. Details about the company can be found on its website.

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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.