Business

Retail Tipsheet: New owner off and running at longtime Bellingham store

BBay Running owner David Penrose, left, talks with sports chiropractor Eric DeRoche about shoes at the State Street store in Bellingham on Thursday, June 30, 2016. Penrose bought the Klicks running store and changed the name.
BBay Running owner David Penrose, left, talks with sports chiropractor Eric DeRoche about shoes at the State Street store in Bellingham on Thursday, June 30, 2016. Penrose bought the Klicks running store and changed the name. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Along with being an avid runner, David Penrose is a detail-oriented person, and that is already having an impact on a longtime local running store.

In May Penrose became the majority owner of BBay Running, formerly known as Klicks. The store at 1431 N. State St. focuses on shoes, shirts and accessories for runners, walkers and cross-trainers. Penrose was the event director for the Bellingham Bay Marathon for five years and has a background in web design, so retail was a new thing that scared him at first.

“But being a part of the marathon gave me a richness of meeting people in the running community that I missed in web services,” Penrose said.

After spending a week at the 17-year-old store, he was even more excited about the idea of operating a retail business and worked with Klicks owner Jim Clevenger to make it happen. (Clevenger is now a minority owner of the store). Penrose observed many things about the nuts-and-bolts of a business, creating a spreadsheet on when people came in the store, where they looked first and what part of the store they were drawn to first. That’s led to changes to where products are placed in the store, as well as improved lighting and comfortable chairs for customers to sit on while trying on shoes.

One of the biggest changes is the business name. Penrose originally toyed with the name Bellingham Bay Running Co., but a friend of his with a background in branding suggested shortening the name, making it easier to remember. A former neighbor of his, Josh Schmidt of Craftsman Construction, helped with remodeling the store.

“Every time something scared me, I reached out to someone and I got help from people who said they wanted to see me succeed,” Penrose said.

Penrose said he is still learning quite a bit about retail, relying on his employees such as Charlie Sunderlage for advice on the best shoe products. He’s also polling his customers to find out what they want in a store.

“I feel it is my job to get to know my customers and what they want,” Penrose said, adding that a local, independent store such as BBay Running survives by giving customers a good experience and service.

Having been the director of the marathon, Penrose has a bit of that influence in the store. The store carries the shirts from previous years, because they are popular for people who wear them out. The store is also a place where people can sign up for the event, which takes place Sunday, Sept. 25.

Penrose plans to organize weekly runs that end with a stop at one of the local breweries. He said the store will be involved in other community events.

BBay Running is having a grand opening July 14-17 with sales, giveaways and visits from vendors. On Thursday, July 14, the store will have a social run that ends with free beer. Details about the store and its upcoming events can be found on its Facebook page.

GREENE’S CORNER, FOOLS ONION MOVING TO BELLINGHAM

Kristine Kager and Lance Bailey have decided to move Greene’s Corner and their catering business Fools Onion to 2208 James St., in the former Vis Seafoods space.

Both businesses will remain open in the current building at 5305 Northwest Drive until around October, when the move will be made, Kager said.

The move will be into a smaller building, so the market/cafe will do a bit of downsizing. Items that won’t make the move are products that currently cater to the soccer crowds at the nearby Phillips 66 Soccer Park, such as water bottles and Gatorade. The beer cases will be more focused on unique items that can’t be found in other stores, she said.

Greene’s Corner will continue to focus on the food and beverages it has become known for, including its pizza, sandwiches, coffee and beer taps.

Kager said they will miss the community ties they’ve built over the years in the neighborhood. Part of the decision was so they could simplify their lives, because they currently spend a lot of time driving back and forth from Bellingham. They also are excited about the opportunity of bringing this style of food to the Sunnyland neighborhood, she said.

Details about Greene’s Corner can be found on its Facebook page.

OTHER TIDBITS

Atomic Kitten announced on its Facebook page that its grand opening is Saturday, July 9. The vintage store is going into 1305 Commercial St. in Bellingham. ... Taco Time has submitted building permits to build a restaurant at 1240 W. Bakerview Road, near where Costco is going in. ... Yes, summer has just begun but this is also the time Halloween costume companies start getting ready. Spirit Halloween has submitted building permit plans for its seasonal store at 4145 Meridian St., near Burlington clothing store. ... A building permit was filed to put in an eatery called Birch Door Cafe at 4192 Meridian St., in the former Bellingham Beauty School building. ... Chuckanut Bay Distillery recently picked up two gold medals at the 2016 Seattle International Spirit Awards. One medal was for the company’s Old Busker Coffee Liqueur and the other was for its Wheat Gin.

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