Retail Tipsheet: Bringing more fun to downtown Bellingham

A light show is displayed on the Flatiron building during a test run earlier this year. Faithlife will introduce the light show at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, and start running it regularly sometime in mid-September.
A light show is displayed on the Flatiron building during a test run earlier this year. Faithlife will introduce the light show at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, and start running it regularly sometime in mid-September. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

It’s shaping up to be quite a family-friendly party in downtown Bellingham on Friday, Sept. 4.

Along with the monthly Art Walk, which has developed a steady following, several other events are planned for the evening:

▪  The Commercial Street Night Market makes its debut 6-10 p.m. Last week city workers were putting in lighting and junction boxes in the open plaza near the Parkade that probably hasn’t had a makeover in 30 years, said Nick Hartrich, executive director at the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. For Friday’s event, that block of Commercial Street will be blocked off to vehicle traffic, except for the lane that leads to the entrance of the Parkade. Once people drop off their cars at the Parkade, they can peruse the wares of more than 20 vendors and eat from food trucks while enjoying live music.

The night market will take place each Friday through Oct. 2. Further details on the market can be found at

▪  Faithlife will unveil its first permanently installed light show at 9:30 p.m on the 1300 block of Bay Street. Free cookies and hot chocolate will be given away for folks watching the lighting on the side of the Flatiron Building. Faithlife CEO Bob Pritchett said by mid-September they plan on offering the light show on weekends and special events, but also will be soliciting community feedback when it comes to how often they will do it. The goal is to keep it fresh and not overly repetitive, he said.

The projections will reflect topics like the changing seasons, events in town and whimsical themes, added Breanna Bart of Faithlife.

▪  The grand opening of the business incubator Hatch will take place at 6 p.m. near the Commercial Street Night Market. It also will have live music along with refreshments, Hartrich said.

Hatch will be taking applications from potential business owners for the pop-up retail location. The goal is to test out a variety of business ideas in the space at 1302 Commercial St. and have a successful business fill it.

Hatch already has showcased a few business ideas, including a morning yoga session that had 35 people attend, he said.

The goal for all of these events is to show that Bellingham now has a vibrant downtown. The area developed a reputation of being rundown and empty in the 1990s and early 2000s. Hartrich said he’s seen a renewed excitement in the downtown area and is working on creative ideas to continue attracting people to the district.

It’s become a fantastic downtown, Pritchett said, and the way to make it better is having more people visit it.

“I think downtown has been getting better for several years,” Pritchett said. “There's always something new, and we've made great strides in improving the street life, with lots more outdoor seating and activity.”


A new café is making plans to open in Fairhaven. According to its Facebook page, Shirlee Bird Café expects to open on Monday, Aug. 31. It’ll be at 1200 Harris Ave., in the former Fairhaven Smoke Shop space. ... Several new tenants are in the process of getting open at Bellis Fair. Earthbound Trading Co., which sells a variety of home décor products, is expected to open sometime this weekend. Express Japan is scheduled to open on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in the Food Court while Thai Go is scheduled to open on Tuesday, Sept. 15. .... Bank of America sent a letter to customers announcing that it is closing its branch at 277 G St. in Blaine on Tuesday, Dec. 1. In the letter, the company noted that fewer customers are coming into the branch and are instead using online and mobile banking more often. ... Transition Bikes recently moved from Ferndale into a new building at 1600 Carolina St. The company focuses on mountain bikes. More details can be found at ... On its Facebook page Café Bouzingo announced it is planning to open on Friday, Sept. 25. The cafe/hookah bar/art gallery is at 1209 Cornwall Ave. ... The Oxford Suites hotel in Bellingham is now open and taking reservations. The 99-room hotel is at 4051 Meridian St., near Barnes & Noble.

Reach Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or Follow him on Twitter at @BhamHeraldBiz and on Facebook at BellinghamHeraldBusiness.