Two Italian restaurants closer to opening; Bellis Fair gets a new sports store

This story is part of Dave Gallagher’s weekly Retail Tipsheet series focused on changes in Whatcom County businesses. Read more Whatcom County business stories here.

Bellingham is close to adding two Italian restaurants.

With final inspections wrapping up, Lombardi’s is set to open on Saturday, Oct. 5, in the former Giuseppe’s space at 21 Bellwether Way. The Italian restaurant is aiming for a casual fine-dining atmosphere, focusing on Italian dishes and Neapolitan-style pizza.

Lombardi’s offers a lunch and dinner menu and is already taking reservations for holiday parties. Details can be found on the company’s website.

Storia Cucina, an Italian restaurant going into the former Michael’s Books building at 109 Grand Ave. is aiming for a January opening, co-owner Jonathan Sutton said in email. Sutton said they are going with a simple menu with fresh pasta made in-house and pizzas from a Wood Stone oven.

Sutton said they want to create a restaurant and cocktail bar that will become a community staple.

“Our love for Italian food and culture has inspired us both to bring people together around food and drinks in a convivial, non-pretentious way,” Sutton said.

For updates, visit Storia Cucina’s Facebook page.

Elsewhere in retail:

A Bellingham sign permit application was submitted for a new tenant at Bellis Fair. The permit is for Pro Image Sports, which sells professional sports apparel. According to the permit, the business is going into the former Chico’s space.

Pro Image Sports has stores across the U.S., including at the Seattle Premium Outlets in Marysville and in Redmond.

National clothing retailer Forever 21 announced it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last week. According to USA Today, the company released a list of 178 stores that could close as a result of the bankruptcy. While seven stores in Washington State were on the list, the Forever 21 store at Bellis Fair was not.

The article noted that many of the stores on the list might not close, depending on how lease negotiations go with the landlords.

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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.