Business

Retail Tipsheet: Lifting of poultry ban good news for Whatcom stores

Canada resident Rob Lambert grabs eggs from a refrigerated case on Thursday, Sept. 10, at Edaleen Dairy in Lynden, Wash. A ban on eggs and poultry from Washington entering Canada over concerns of bird flu was lifted on Sept. 1.
Canada resident Rob Lambert grabs eggs from a refrigerated case on Thursday, Sept. 10, at Edaleen Dairy in Lynden, Wash. A ban on eggs and poultry from Washington entering Canada over concerns of bird flu was lifted on Sept. 1. The Bellingham Herald

Whatcom County stores now have one more source of revenue when it comes to cross-border sales.

On Sept. 1 Canadian food safety officials lifted import restrictions on a variety of poultry products coming from Washington state. The restrictions were put in place last winter during a U.S. bird flu outbreak that included a strain of the virus being present in a hawk and a duck in Whatcom County.

Up until Sept. 1, restricted items from Washington state included eggs, live birds, poultry meat and raw pet foods containing poultry products.

The lifting of the restrictions is good news for stores like Edaleen Dairy, which sold “a fair amount” of eggs to Canadians before the restrictions were in place, said Mitch Moorlag, general manager.

While the Canadian dollar is much weaker, Moorlag said they may get solid sales from Canadians because the egg supply has diminished as a result of actions taken to combat the bird flu. Last week the Canadian dollar was hovering around 75 cents compared to the U.S. dollar.

“We have a pretty loyal crowd of Canadian customers,” Moorlag said, noting that the sale of dairy products has remained solid at Edaleen’s stores, which are in Lynden, Sumas and Blaine. Even with the weaker loonie, many dairy products remain a better deal in the U.S. than in Canada.

According to the latest Canadian and U.S. government data, the average price for a dozen eggs in Canada is $3.29 Canadian while the U.S. price is $2.57. Once you factor in the exchange rate, the U.S. eggs are slightly more expensive.

The poultry restrictions into Canada remain in place for several Midwest states as the virus was still a problem last spring.

OTHER TIDBITS

Things continue to move forward with the Waples Mercantile Building project at 444 Front St. in Lynden. One of its soon-to-be tenants, Avenue Bread & Deli, recently applied for a state liquor license to sell beer or wine. Avenue Bread and the other tenants, including Overflow Taps, Village Books, Drizzle Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Room and Paper Dreams, are expected to open in the building this fall. ... A Bellingham building permit was submitted to put in a T-Mobile retail store in Sunset Square at 1225 E. Sunset Drive. ... Bellingham accounting firm VSH has expanded into Skagit County, opening an office at 1404 E. College Way. The firm focuses on serving small to mid-size businesses. ... More than 20 local businesses are lined up for the 10th annual Bite of Bellingham from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, at Depot Market Square. Along with food samples, it will have a beer garden with local breweries and best cocktail competition. Voting categories include Best Bite, Best Local Bite, Best Sweet, Best Drink and Best Gluten-Free Bite. Details can be found at downtownbellingham.com, under the “play” link.

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

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