New Co-op bakery brings new look to downtown Bellingham

Now that the work is done, it’s hard to tell that the Community Food Co-op’s latest addition was once an auto parts store.

The new bakery, café and meeting room facility at 405 E. Holly St. had a soft opening on Monday, July 13, and is already leaving some of the employees impressed at what’s been done by the contractor and architect.

“They (Pearson Construction and RMC Architects) took a building that was probably going to be demolished and turned it into something I think will stand the test of time,” said Adrienne Renz, outreach manager at the co-op.

Creating more natural light with large windows, sticking with an open design and adding a large outdoor patio area could make it another popular hangout. Renz said they’ve already noticed downtown employees using it for work group meetings, adding that people can relax and chat there while enjoying coffee or baked goods or deli items.

While it is meant to be a casual place for the customer, the new building represents a crucial piece to the co-op’s business plan. The larger bakery will allow the grocer to expand its wholesale market, so more of what they make soon will be seen in restaurants and coffee places in other parts of the county. The co-op also plans to get into the gluten-free baked goods market, but first has to go through many tests to become certified as a dual bakery, Renz said.

Expanding its custom bakery business is also in the plan, doing more baking for specific events, from birthday cakes to office parties.

Along with the bakery, the new building has a new teaching kitchen and community meeting space.

The bakery is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. On Monday, July 20, the co-op will host a public behind-the-scenes tour at 5:30 p.m. Treats and beverages will be served for tour-goers, who will meet some of the people involved in redesigning the building.

Reach Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com.