Bellingham’s Columbia Neighborhood gets a blast from the past with new business

This neighborhood market is reborn in Bellingham

The Elm Street Market is reopening on Elm Street in Bellingham. There has been a local store on the site at least since the 1930s, says new owner Manny Sidhu.
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The Elm Street Market is reopening on Elm Street in Bellingham. There has been a local store on the site at least since the 1930s, says new owner Manny Sidhu.

The Columbia neighborhood has a building that’s sat empty for nearly three years. Manny Sidhu decided it was time to bring back a neighborhood store.

On Feb. 7 Sidhu opened Elm Street Market at 2404 Elm St. The property has had a store over the decades, including Goddard’s Market in 1941, according to photos that Sidhu has hung inside the store. Most recently it was home to Gifford’s Market, which served as an example of neighbors helping neighbors after a shooting during an attempted robbery in 2004.

Sidhu kept that in mind as he was setting up the business. He said he tries to stock the store with a little bit of everything, including grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items, beer, and some cooking staples as well as local products. The remodel of the building was done by Agate Counters in Bellingham, with the painting done by Bellingham’s S&A Painting.

In about six months Sidhu plans on having a cafe in a different part of the building, offering a lunch menu and staying open into the evening.

“I want it to be a nice place for people to hang out,” said Sidhu, who also operates the Silver Beach grocery store near Lake Whatcom.

Charles Townsend buys a beer from owner Manny Sidhu at the new Elm St. Market in Bellingham, Monday, Feb.12, 2018. Philip A. Dwyer pdwyer@bhamherald.com

At one time small, neighborhood stores were common on Elm Street. Colin Stewart, who operates Stewart’s Cash Registers in Skagit County, said he remembers five stores along the street when he was growing up in the neighborhood in the 1950s.

“I remember this store with its wood floors,” said Stewart, who was programming the Elm Street Market cash register last week. “It was a full grocery store, with a meat department in the back.”

Part of the reason Sidhu sees an opportunity for bringing back a convenience store was the work that’s been done nearby. Converting the old Lion’s Inn into the Heliotrope hotel last year and the remodel of nearby apartments has made a big difference, and he wanted to continue the remaking of Elm Street.

The market is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.


A new store in Fairhaven is creating a fusion of art and clothing.

Seasons opened last month in Finnegan’s Alley, near Lovitt Restaurant. It offers a variety of women’s clothing for casual, office and vacation. The store also has purses, wallets and other accessories.

Owner Pandora Grover also wants to offer art, and her first selection comes from the artist known as Valentina V (Valentina Vidette Davoli-Raab) – a Bellingham artist and the owner of Casa Valentina Bed and Breakfast in Fairhaven. Valentina works in acrylics and said she usually doesn’t plan her artwork ahead of time. So when she brought her work into the store to show, she was surprised to find that much of it happened to match the clothing Grover was selling.

A look inside Seasons, which recently opened in Finnegan’s Alley in Fairhaven, near Lovitt Restaurant. Dave Gallagher dgallagher@bhamherald.com

“I didn’t intend to do it that way, but it turned out great,” said Valentina, who has also shown her work in Sweden and Italy.

For details about the store, call 360-671-1744.


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