This could be the last hurrah for longtime Bellingham costume store

This Halloween season is a somewhat bittersweet one for James and Laurel Burke.

The Burkes own SpookShop, which is in its 20th year in business selling costumes and other Halloween-related products. They began a liquidation sale at an apropos time – Friday the 13th – with 50 percent off the regular price on Halloween costumes. They’ve decided not to have a pop-up store this year, and will be selling their products at 800 Marine Drive, near Locust Beach.

A decision won’t be made until after Halloween, but they expect this will be the last year for them in terms of selling Halloween costumes. James Burke wants to spend more time in his other career as a filmmaker, and both are ready to try other things.

Like many other retail industries, Halloween-themed stores have gone through big changes in the past 20 years. As SpookShop got going in the late 1990s, online shopping was not a factor. The Burkes snagged the website Spookshop.com early on and was able to build a strong online customer base, with sales peaking around 2007. Since that time, Amazon has come to dominate the industry, wiping out most of the mom-and-pop websites, Laurel Burke said.

The SpookShop has had a seasonal store in a variety of places around Bellingham since 1998; this is the first year they decided not to go that route. Instead they created a retail space in a portion of the warehouse facility on Marine Drive.

If this is the last year for SpookShop, the Burkes said they will miss the interactions with the customers the most.

“I enjoyed watching people in the store say ‘that’s so disgusting,’ but with a smile on their face,” James Burke said.

During this final stretch the Burkes have also been donating costumes to local children-related nonprofits, including the Whatcom Center for Early Learning.

Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For details, call 360-752-1668.


Seattle Marine & Fishing Supply Co. is in the final stretch to get its Bellingham location open.

The company is planning to have a soft opening sometime in the next couple of weeks and a grand opening on Nov. 1. The 4,000-square-foot store – Sea-Mar Bellingham –is going into 1100 C St., near the Whatcom Waterway and Roeder Avenue.

The business is focused on supplies for the commercial fishing fleet, but will have a lot of other products that will attract recreational boaters and the general public. Items the store will sell include marine safety products, rope, gloves, rain gear along with commercial fishing gear. The company’s main store is in Seattle but it also has a couple of locations in Alaska.

Details about the business and the Bellingham store can be found on its Facebook page.


With the help of a public fundraising campaign, not only will the holiday lights be back in Fairhaven, but the retail district will have some new events.

The Historic Fairhaven Association announced that Fairhaven Winterfest will return, running from Nov. 24 through Dec. 23. Along with the holiday tree lighting ceremony, events include the annual Holiday Art Walk, visits from Santa, live entertainment and horse-drawn carriage rides. New events include Find the Elves Treasure Hunt, a holiday market on the Village Green and a window display contest.

Putting on Winterfest was in doubt this year because of increased costs of hiring a professional company to light the village after years of relying on volunteers. The merchants started a fundraiser at the end of August that went through September. The community responded, raising $13,000 of the $20,000 goal – the $20,000 goal is to ensure not only to fund this year’s events, but to have money in place for the future. A GoFundMe account is still active and accepting donations.

“We are excited about both the traditional happenings of Fairhaven’s holiday season and the new events we have planned this year. There is something for everyone,” said Scott Ward, the Fairhaven Winterfest chairman.

Details about the events can be found at fairhavenwinterfest.com.


The Soy House Restaurant announced on its Facebook page that it is closing its Bakerview Square location, with the last day of business on Oct. 27. The downtown Soy House on 400 W. Holly St. will remain open, with staff from the Bakerview restaurant moving over to the downtown spot. ... A city building permit was submitted to remodel the Target store at Bellis Fair mall.