Lynden businesses gear up for Trump visit

The Woods Coffee on Front Street in Lynden Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.
The Woods Coffee on Front Street in Lynden Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.

Businesses around the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds are preparing for Donald Trump’s visit like it’s a busy day at the annual fair.

With the forecast for sunny weather and with it being Mother’s Day weekend, business owners were already getting ready for a busy couple of days along Front Street near the fairgrounds. Presidential campaign rallies tend to involve plenty of standing around for thousands of people waiting for the candidate to arrive, so local businesses hope to attract people into their shops.

With his cafe one of the closest places to get coffee during the May 7 rally at the fairgrounds, Woods Coffee at 1758 Front St. is adding extra staff and products, said owner Wes Herman. Because the presidential campaign rally is an unusual event for Lynden, Herman isn’t sure what to expect in terms of coffee sales but he’s guessing it will be similar to what they see during the fair each August.

“Saturday is usually a busy day because of all the sports that take place in the morning, so we think it will just carry over into the afternoon,” Herman said.

The event could be an unexpected short-term boost for the local economy. Lynden merchants tallied $94.3 million in retail trade in 2015, a sluggish 1.2 percent increase compared to 2014.

This year was already looking positive for the local economy, given the addition of several new retailers downtown, including in the renovated Walples Mercantile building, and the town’s upcoming anniversary celebration.

Ken Shagren said they will be fully staffed Saturday at Dave’s Sports Shop, which is typical for a spring weekend. Many of his customers tend to shop in the morning because they want to spend the rest of the day enjoying whatever it is they purchase. He hopes the afternoon event will have people stopping in to check out the store at 1738 Front St.

It’s one of those things where it’s political, so people don’t want to say too much, but it is exciting

Sheri Robertson, owner, Foxxy Browns Consignment

Down the street at Foxxy Browns Consignment, owner Sheri Robertson said her business tends to slow down when a big event like the fair happens nearby, but she thinks it might be a different situation Saturday, particularly in the hours before the rally.

It’s definitely been the topic of conversation in town since the announcement Thursday that Trump would be coming to Lynden, Robertson said.

“It’s one of those things where it’s political, so people don’t want to say too much, but it is exciting,” she said.

Brian Poag of Jake’s Western Grill agreed, saying that while Trump can be a polarizing figure, it is making a big weekend bigger for businesses. His restaurant at 8114 Guide Meridian is already expecting a busy Saturday and Sunday as residents take mothers out to dinner.

“We’ll see some people flowing into the restaurant (on Saturday) for lunch,” Poag said.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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