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It’s time to say goodbye to this longtime downtown Bellingham retailer

Janet and Mike Hodgin mark down prices in preparation for a liquidation sale at their store, Kids Northwest, in downtown Bellingham Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
Janet and Mike Hodgin mark down prices in preparation for a liquidation sale at their store, Kids Northwest, in downtown Bellingham Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

A longtime downtown retailer known for its customer service is starting a closing business sale as the owners get ready for retirement.

Kids Northwest at 1319 Cornwall Ave. is closed in preparation for the retirement sale, which begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday. The final day of business has not been finalized, but the sale is expected to last several weeks, said Janet Hodgin, who owns the store with her husband, Mike.

The 25-year-old business got its start in the Sehome Village Shopping Center before moving to Cornwall Avenue in 1995. It sells children’s shoes, clothes, accessories and toys.

The announcement comes with mixed emotions for the Hodgins, who say they enjoy meeting people and watching children outgrow the store, then eventually come back as adults and bring in their children.

But the Hodgins also have a long to-do list in retirement, like house projects and traveling, Mike said.

It’s been particularly heartwarming to see the comments on the Kids Northwest’s Facebook page after making the announcement on Sunday, Janet said. Many of those comments were about the customer service, particularly in helping children find the right shoes. With shoe brands like Merrell, Keen and Plae, that merchandise alone made up about one-third of the store’s overall sales, Janet added.

She said the business was able to grow despite the rise of online shopping, and they did it by being a place for people who enjoy trying things on and having unique products available. Children, just like adults, can be picky when it comes to shoes, so it’s a relief for parents when they do come across a pair their children like and will wear.

In recent years the Hodgins have seen the impact online sales is having on retailers, but Janet thinks there is an opportunity for this type of store to thrive in Bellingham.

She said they wanted to go with a retirement sale rather than selling the business in order to have time to say goodbye to customers.

“We have loved being a part of Bellingham’s community for 25 years. This has been such a rich part of our lives and it’s this interaction we will miss,” the Hodgins said in their Facebook post.

The store will keep its regular hours during the retirement sale. Starting Thursday, hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday; and closed Sunday. For details, call the store at 360-676-6051 or visit kidsnorthwest.com.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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