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VOL. 43 | NO. 4 PUBLISHER | Tony Larson

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER | Melissa Vail Coffman EDITOR | Mike McKenzie LIFESTYLE EDITOR | Danielle Larson COPY EDITOR | Larry Coffman CONTRIBUTING WRITERS | Dave Brumbaugh, Larry Coffman, Sherri Huleatt, Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy, Mike McKenzie GUEST COLUMNIST | Pete Granger ART DIRECTOR | Scott Book PHOTOGRAPHY | Scott Book, Tiffany Brooks SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE | Jon Strong ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE | Ashley Butenschoen AD TRAFFIC | Maggie Stafford SUBSCRIPTIONS | Amanda May ADMINISTRATION | Danielle Larson

— WBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS — BOARD CHAIR | Doug Thomas, CEO, Bellingham Cold Storage EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE | Jane Carten, President/Director, Saturna Capital; Pam Brady, Director NW Government & Public Affairs, BP Cherry Point; John Huntley, President/CEO, Mills Electric; Doug Thomas, President/CEO, Bellingham Cold Storage; Josh Turrell, Partner, Larson Gross PLLC BOARD OF DIRECTORS | Ken Bell, President, Best Recycling; Janelle Bruland, President/CEO, MSNW; Tyler Byrd, Founder/ President, Red Rokk Interactive; Jeremy Carroll, Vice President, Dawson Construction; Andy Enfield, Vice President, Enfield Farms; Guy Jansen, Director, Lynden Transport; Sandy Keathley, Founder, K & K Industries; Tom Kenney, NW Regional President, Washington Federal; Ben Kinney, Operating Principal/Founder, Keller Williams, NVNTD; Tony Larson, President, Whatcom Business Alliance; Lynn Murphy, Sr. Government Affairs Rep, Puget Sound Energy; Laura McKinney, NW Regional Government & Public Affairs, Alcoa Intalco Works; Becky Raney, Co-owner, Print & Copy Factory; Sarah Rothenbuhler, Owner/CEO, Birch Equipment; Billy VanZanten, President, Western Refinery Services, Josh Wright, VP/Broker, Bell-Anderson Insurance For editorial comments and suggestions, write editor@ businesspulse.com. Business Pulse magazine is the publication of the Whatcom Business Alliance. The magazine is published bi monthly at 2423 E. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham, WA 98226. 360.746.0418. The yearly subscription rate is $30 (U.S.). For a free digital subscription, visit businesspulse.com. Entire contents copyrighted © 2018 Business Pulse. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER Send address changes to Business Pulse, 2423 E. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham, WA 98226.

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DEPARTMENTS QA

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What’s the best strategy in today’s market? BLISS: It’s been a seller’s market, And if you are selling a home, you can’t just plop a “For Sale” sign on your lawn and expect it to sell, especially for top dollar. If you want a high price, never list it at a high price. Even in this hot market, a house can just sit.

How did you form the business together? DAN: We had been investing in real estate since the ’80s, and five years ago we decided, “Let’s do it.” We made a good choice to go with Windermere in Whatcom County. Each real estate agency has a different tone and personality, and the level of professionalism at Windermere fits us.

How do you set yourself apart from others? BLISS: We operate on a basic philosophy of, “We’ll do 1% more on everything.” We like to win and that’s how we do it—that extra step. Our track record reflects more than 90% of our buyers’ offers win in multiple offer situations and our listings sell in under a week, typically for over-asking.”

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Talbot cited the Green Corporation’s “impressive values, vision, and optimism.” The sale included BCS’s Squalicum Harbor and Orchard Place facilities that employ about 150. Everybody, from President/ CEO Doug Thomas to the newest employee, remains in place. Stanley McCammon, Joshua Green’s President/CEO, said of the seamless transaction: “We recognize the important role (we) play in the life of the employees and in the community.” Thomas echoed that premise: “This is good for our employees, our customers, and (local) economic growth.” Regarding a possible fourth-generation of Talbot leadership, Stowe said that his three children and his sister’s child are too young for consideration now. “But, in 15-20 years, if the interest is there, they still could take part,” he said. “In planning for continued growth, it was logical to bring in investors with deeper pockets than ours. I plan to stay involved in the operation for the long term. Fortunately, our first choice for the transition was a good fit, and everything lined up.” JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 11

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AFTER HOURS

Photo: Scott Book

By Mike McKenzie The sale of epochal Bellingham Cold Storage (BCS), a giant on the local business scene under one family’s banner for 72 years, became the recent “Shot Heard ‘Round the Waterfront”—and beyond. Far beyond. BCS is the largest portside cold-storage facility on the West Coast and conducts international commerce. Owners Stowe and Jane Talbot—children of the late Jim Talbot, whose father, Archibald, founded the company in 1946—recently sold majority ownership to Joshua Green Corp., a Seattle investment firm. By phone from his office in Barkley Village, where he operates as Chairman of the Board of BCS (and also CEO of the family’s real-estate firm, Barkley Company), Stowe Talbot said, “We wanted a partner who aligned with our values and mission. Jane and I have thought about this for a long time. Last year, after a series of years with very good financial results, we started looking for the just-right opportunity.” Joshua Green Corp., privately held since the 1890s, invests with strategic longevity in private companies, commercial real estate, and publicly traded equities. In a joint news release, Stowe

he Goldsteins are a creative and charismatic couple who have been wildly successful agents for Windermere Real Estate in Bellingham for the past five years. Bliss, the wifely half of the dynamic duo, said: “We’re fun. We’re effective. And we’re bonded. There is no Bliss OR Dan. Ours is the way of the ampersand.”

Photo courtesy of Mayor’s Office

NEWSMAKERS • NUMBERS • OUT AND ABOUT • BUSINESS OF RECREATION ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP • PHILANTHROPY • GUEST COLUMNS

Sale of Bellingham Cold Storage Ends 72 Years of Talbot-Only Ownership

PULSE

Take Some Real Estate Marketing Tips That Rate as Good as Gold(steins)

Interview by Mike McKenzie

Photo by: Scott Book

inside

PULSE

Craig Serbousek and Valerie Markus co-owners of Saltine

BOOKS + MORE

By Sherri Huleatt Much like its namesake cracker, Saltine—a new downtown Bellingham restaurant—is satisfying, universally liked, and unpretentious. Branded as “New American,” this eatery opened downtown in May under the husband-and-wife duo of chef Craig Serbousek and sommelier Valerie Markus. Valerie, usually the one greeting you at the door, has 25 years’ experience in the international wine business, while Craig (who you’ll most likely see cooking and serving tables) has more than 40 years’ experience as a chef. Together, they’ve opened four restaurants—Crow, Stumbling Goat, and Betty in Seattle, and now Saltine across the street from the landmark, red Old City Hall Whatcom Museum building on Prospect. Valerie said they wanted to get away from city life in Seattle and move to a place where they could join a close-knit community and “make a difference….it feels like we’ve found our place in the universe.” Their passion (and impeccable palates, obvious by their menu selections and the tastes I experienced) have helped pack Saltine nearly every night since the opening. “We’re busy as hell,” Valerie said. Perfect for happy hour, date nights, and dinner with friends, Saltine offers a small menu with big portions. Their best-seller is prosciutto-wrapped chicken. (After tasting it myself, I can see why). Other menu items spring from inspiration by cuisines around the world, including Italian risotto mozzarella balls with tangy tomato sauce, French bouillabaisse simmered with local seafood, Middle Eastern-Levantine quinoa fattoush salad, and the arancini that my companion and I enjoyed. For this quality of food and drinks, you could easily expect a heftier tab. Items on a short-list menu range from $8-$9 for soup du jour or Saltine salad, $11-$12.50 for creative presentations of vegetables (fried green olives, smoked salmon carpaccio, e.g.), up to $16-$24 on the main-dish side. “We wanted a restaurant affordable for the community,” Valerie said. Likewise, she hand-picks a rotating list of about 20 international wines—all available for $60 or less. Saltine’s artfully crafted cocktails (we sipped a Negroni and an Old Fashioned, both on tap) come spiked with exotic liquors, such as Yellow Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino Liquor, and Yzaguiire Sweet Vermouth (no, I don’t know how to pronounce that last one, either). And if the food, wine, and fresh cocktails haven’t sold you—go for the Old Fashioned on Tap. You’ll thank me later.

JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 57

Your jumping-off point for the Who, the What, and the Where in Whatcom County’s business world

54

The wildly successful (and very entertaining) Goldstein duo chats about their unique approach to the real estate market.

57

Eat, drink, and be clothed! The new restaurant Saltine, home mixology, and clothing that will tame the wilderness

FEATURES TOP

PRIVATE

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50

COMPANIES Some staggering increases in gross revenues were the most remarkable trend that leapt off the pages as we compiled this year’s Top 100 Privately Owned Companies in Whatcom County. Most notable among them: Brim Tractor in Lynden, Dan Brim’s company that has operated for more than 50 years. After adding a complete line of construction equipment, Brim’s six stores that spread from Canada to Oregon increased sales last year by a stunning 160%! Other shining examples: Tiger Construction with a nearly 85% rise; Emergency Reporting, G.K. Knutson, and Vital Choice at about 50%; Morse Distribution, Kam-Way, and Pro Pack at around 45%; Western Refinery Services 40%, and Hardware Sales at more than 35%. Altogether, sales totaled in excess of (X number) among the Top 100 leaders, and they account for (X number) of jobs in Whatcom County and (X number) overall.

BY MIKE MCKENZIE

By Mike McKenzie Photos Scott Book

the sweet TASTE of success Chuckanut Bay Foods expands sizes, flavors into all 50 states, and now into new space

By Mike McKenzie Photos Scott Book

“We love having a good, wholesome product and a company that saves and creates jobs.” David Loeppky, Co-Owner, Chuckanut Bay Foods

T

hree-thousand percent growth! That’s not a gross exaggeration; it’s the gross gain in revenues over the last 10 years at Chuckanut Bay Foods in Ferndale, a purveyor of cheesecakes. This former Business Pulse/Whatcom Business Alliance Small Business of the Year Award winner (2012) has continued its explosive growth under the ownership group that purchased it in 2008. Sales last year exceeded $12 million and are on pace toward a 40% gain this year. Chuckanut Bay Foods sprouted from a former single proprietorship—then called Chuckanut Cheesecakes, with a loyal local customer base consisting mainly of some 20 Haggen stores—to a point where about 40,000 products go out the warehouse door daily, for distribution in all 50 states. That production from a relatively small boutique bakery (6,000 square feet) led to a land purchase last year in Blaine. The company soon will move into new digs there with about twice its current space on Hovander Road in Ferndale, with room to triple in size to 18,500 square feet when necessary. Lean operations enabled efficiency in the same kitchen, storage, and shipping space, even as production increased dramatically, though they eventually leased additional warehouse space. David Loeppky, Matt Roth, and a silent partner bought out the founder and established a broad-based wholesale model built around a popular American dessert, using regional, all-natural ingredients. That model has propelled the company from two employees to 85 full-time workers (and more than 100 in peak seasons). “We’re proud to have a company that saves and creates jobs.” Loeppky said. “It’s in our mission statement that we want to be an employer of choice.”

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Loeppky’s education and background were in the oil and gas industry, taking him from Canada to Texas. Then he and his wife started and sold two businesses, one producing compact discs (“when CDs were all the rage,” he said) and one in publishing (school planners, a company they sold to Franklin Covey and that continues to operate in Bellingham). At Chuckanut Bay Foods, he oversees operations. Roth earned a degree in business and finance from the University of Colorado, and he previously excelled in marketing in the franchise-restaurant industry, and then locally at a chocolate company in Whatcom County. He handles the business development side of the company. “We also wouldn’t have made it where we are today without my wife, Julie,” Roth said. “She’s been a very active owner-operator behind closed doors. Julie has been our chief financial officer, led marketing and product development, and worn a million hats wherever we’ve needed her to—even working in the kitchen.” At the time of their award in 2012, they were producing more than $2 million in sales, with 20-plus employees, and most sales were in the Washington-Oregon region. Six years later, they’re still largely in core West Coast markets, Canada, and Colorado. But they also have made inroads into Canada and as far as the East Coast—including New York City, the cheesecake Mecca— and Texas and Florida. “We’re now an in-and-out, rotating product in Costco stores,” Roth said. (That’s a product that appears periodically, rather than constantly.) The Chuckanut Bay Foods website displays nearly 50 grocery and specialty stores that carry a wide variety of cheesecakes, and Roth estimated that their desserts have shelf space in more JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 47

Demand has Chuckanut Bay Foods’ ovens working overtime BY MIKE MCKENZIE

Local mountain biking: A look at the industry’s financial pedal power

LOCAL MOUNTAIN BIKING is GOING

46

Our annual look into the strength of Whatcom’s privately owned businesses

big! By Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy

Photo: Courtesy of Transition Bikes

Transition Bikes co-owners, Kevin Menard and Kyle Young out doing a bit of R & D.

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JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 51

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publisher’s note

The Top 100 Free-Market Companies Paint a Bigger Picture TONY LARSON n this edition of Business Pulse, we highlight our annual list of the Top 100 Private Companies in Whatcom County. They are ranked based on gross sales from 2017, and must be privately owned, with their corporate office in Whatcom County. For the first time ever in our listing, its economic impact exceeded $5 billion in annual revenues. And, it supports more than 18,000 jobs. Having published this Business Pulse list for nearly 30 of our 43-year existence, we’ve found it to be a wonderful way to bring real names, personalities, and stories to the economic data. Juxtaposed against the employment numbers, economic growth data, business confidence surveys, and even the economic health of local nonprofits, this list tells a story. We believe business success is a key driver of community prosperity. When companies remain strong and vibrant, they hire, pay well, and provide benefits—all of which support local families. The businesses, large or small, pay taxes that support necessary public services and give back through philanthropic efforts and employee volunteerism. While 100 companies make the list (the threshold to make it this year was $8 million), hundreds more keep working hard to get there. We hope the companies listed strive to serve as an example for those aspiring to make the list by operating with integrity, by treating employees well, and by giving

back to the community. We’ve listed a number of companies that we at Business Pulse believe meet the qualifying criteria and threshold, even though, despite several attempts, we couldn’t confirm their numbers by

We believe business success is a key driver of community prosperity. When companies remain strong and vibrant, they hire, pay well, and provide benefits—all of which support local families.

I

President, Whatcom Business Alliance

print deadline. We list those online as part of our Pulse Plus feature. We also understand that we’ve likely missed some. Let us know if we missed you, and you want us to include you next year. We’ll make it happen. We realize that our list is just part of a much larger picture. A number of significant economic contributors operate out there under public ownership or do not have their corporate office in Whatcom County. The companies at Cherry

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Point are a good example. Alcoa’s Intalco Works hired more than 260 new workers in 2017, but does not appear on the list. Many of the Top 100 companies are significant subcontractors of BP’s Cherry Point Refinery, the Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery, and Alcoa. PeaceHealth and Western Washington University also are among the largest county employers, but don’t meet our requirement of private ownership. Also, you may note the absence of real estate companies. We choose to exclude them because the average sale price of their products would likely put every real estate company on the list. In addition to the Top 100 list, we’ve provided brief profiles of a few of the companies in order for you to become more familiar with who they are and what they do—including a new profile this year of a company to watch. It’s people who operate these businesses. Those people are our neighbors, friends, and family. Their quality of life depends on the success of their company. By looking at the industry segments, where companies rank relative to previous years, and by listening to the stories associated with the successes and concerns of local business, we gain great insight into how we can facilitate their success and make Whatcom County an even better place to live, work, and play. Enjoy reading the issue! Tony Larson


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leading edge

Sale of Bellingham Cold Storage Ends 72 Years of Talbot-Only Ownership By Mike McKenzie The sale of epochal Bellingham Cold Storage (BCS), a giant on the local business scene under one family’s banner for 72 years, became the recent “Shot Heard ‘Round the Waterfront”—and beyond. Far beyond. BCS is the largest portside cold-storage facility on the West Coast and conducts international commerce. Owners Stowe and Jane Talbot—children of the late Jim Talbot, whose father, Archibald, founded the company in 1946—recently sold majority ownership to Joshua Green Corp., a Seattle investment firm. By phone from his office in Barkley Village, where he operates as Chairman of the Board of BCS (and also CEO of the family’s real-estate firm, Barkley Company), Stowe Talbot said, “We wanted a partner who aligned with our values and mission. Jane and I have thought about this for a long time. Last year, after a series of years with very good financial results, we started looking for the just-right opportunity.” Joshua Green Corp., privately held since the 1890s, invests with strategic longevity in private companies, commercial real estate, and publicly traded equities. In a joint news release, Stowe

Talbot cited the Green Corporation’s “impressive values, vision, and optimism.” The sale included BCS’s Squalicum Harbor and Orchard Place facilities that employ about 150. Everybody, from President/ CEO Doug Thomas to the newest employee, remains in place. Stanley McCammon, Joshua Green’s President/CEO, said of the seamless transaction: “We recognize the important role (we) play in the life of the employees and in the community.” Thomas echoed that premise: “This is good for our employees, our customers, and (local) economic growth.” Regarding a possible fourth-generation of Talbot leadership, Stowe said that his three children and his sister’s child are too young for consideration now. “But, in 15-20 years, if the interest is there, they still could take part,” he said. “In planning for continued growth, it was logical to bring in investors with deeper pockets than ours. I plan to stay involved in the operation for the long term. Fortunately, our first choice for the transition was a good fit, and everything lined up.” JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 11

Photo courtesy of Mayor’s Office

NEWSMAKERS • NUMBERS • OUT AND ABOUT • BUSINESS OF RECREATION ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP • PHILANTHROPY • GUEST COLUMN


leading edge NEWSMAKERS 2018 Essence of Medicare-Focused Insurance Agency VibrantUSA Opens Lynden Office Bellingham Winners

and refreshments, featuring poffertjes from the Lynden Dutch Bakery. Chief Executive Officer Russell Solberg said, “Because we’re independent, our only mission is to help customers find the insurance coverage that best fits their needs, preferences, and budgets. Thousands of Whatcom County residents trust us because they know we’re in their corner and here to help them.”

This entry titled “Broadway Park” by Lauren McClanahan won Best of Show (BOS)-1st Place in the 13th Annual Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition, co-sponsored by the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom Museum. More than 250 submissions were entered. Other winners were, “Highline” by Colby Mesick, BOS-2nd Place; and “Racing on the Bay” by Patricia Hochreiter, BOS-3rd Place. A four-member jury selected winners based on (1) how well they captured the essence of Bellingham, and (2) the quality of the photograph. All winning entries, along with 103 Best of Class and Honorable Mention photos, were displayed at a City Hall reception on June 1, and all entries will be added to the Whatcom Museum photo archives.

near Bellingham International Airport. Both hotels are tied for most hotel rooms in the city with 132 apiece. Fox Hall at Hotel Bellingham offers more than 3,700

square feet of meeting and event space, with a 250-person capacity. For information or reservations visit www.hotelbell ingham.com or call 360.676.7700.

From left: Gary Vis, Executive Director of the Lynden Chamber of Commerce; Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis, and Marsha Neal, Renee Marr, Darlene DeBoer, Kailie Roosma and CEO Russell Solberg, all of VibrantUSA. DeBoer and Roosma will staff the Lynden office.

VibrantUSA, an independent insurance agency focused on Medicare and health insurance, has opened an office in downtown Lynden. Founded in Bellingham in 2003, the agency also has offices in Everett; Vancouver, Washington, and Bulverde, Texas. The fifth and newest office is at 504 Front St. and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. A grand opening was held June 14 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony,

New Owners for Hotel Bellingham Hotel Bellingham has been acquired by Today’s VI, also owners of the Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center that it purchased in 2004. Providence Hospitality Partners of Denver is the manager of both properties. David Storm, Providence Hospitality President, announced that Dana Weber, Assistant General Manager at Four Points the past five years, has been promoted to General Manager of Hotel Bellingham. “This is in keeping with our corporate culture of developing and promoting our performing associates,” Storm said. “Dana has been with Providence Hospitality in positions of increased responsibility for the past 12 years.” Hotel Bellingham is located at 3985 Bennett Drive, just off of I-5 Exit 258,

12 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018


MORE NEWSMAKERS

Business Gets Added Voice

Businesses soon will have a seat at the table when it comes to issues impacting the economic well-being of the community. The Whatcom County Council voted to establish a Business and Commerce Advisory Committee. Under the ordinance, 11 for-profit business people will be appointed from diverse industries to advise the council on “…issues, including regulations and policies that could impact local businesses, industry, or economic development.” The vote was unanimous. The committee makeup will consist of business owners or designated managers and/or employees. There will be nine representatives from specific industries: Internet Technology, Manufacturing, Food Processing, Recreation, Retail, Marine Trades, Commercial Real Estate, Energy, and Agriculture. Two additional appointments will be made, with applicants coming from any industry. In addition to the 11 business members, there will be seven non-voting members on the committee, consisting of five local government representatives. There also will be two members from higher education.

WHERE YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE BEGINS

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ALTN Grand Opening Any Lab Test Now (ALTN) will hold a grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 11 at its newest location in the Sunset Square Shopping Center in Bellingham. With more than 160 facilities around the U.S., ALTN offers a variety of affordable and confidential labs tests to consumers and businesses. Founded in 1992, the company provides confidential lab tests, with most results typically available in 24-48 hours. Most customers are in and out in 15 minutes and are in full control of their test results. The new Bellingham store offers standard clinical-lab tests, drug tests, paternity test (including prenatal paternity and gender-reveal tests), men’s and women’s wellness, STD and HIV testing, GPS Origin DNA, allergy, intolerance testing and more. The store has been open since June 1 at 1225 East Sunset Drive, Suite 155. Call 360.684.1800 for information or service. P+ JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 13


leading edge NUMBERS

IMPACT OF THE FISHING INDUSTRY ON THE WHATCOM COUNTY ECONOMY

number of registered commercial fishermen at Lummi Nation1

2013 tax revenue to county and local governments from commercial fishing fleet activities2

amount of purchases by the fishing fleet at Squalicum Harbor and Blaine Port facilities in 20132

number of direct and indirect jobs in commercial fishing and processing at Squalicum Harbor and Blaine Port facilities2

ranking of Whatcom County compared to all U.S. counties in fishing- and processingrelated businesses3 Source: presentation by Cliff Cultee, former chair, Lummi Nation Business Council, May 10, 2018.

1

Source: Economic Impacts of Commercial Fishing Fleet at the Port of Bellingham, Port of Bellingham study, Dec. 2014.

2

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce survey, 2016.

3

Also see related story on Page 22

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Handbags for Housing raises thousands for Lydia Place 1. Lydia Place Executive Director Emily O’Connor, left, and Handbags for Housing MC, and Financial Planner Shannon Day conduct the FUND A NEED that raised over $14,000. 2. Lydia Place supporter Cori Curran, left, of City Mac, and Handbags Committee Member Courtney Reid enjoy a cocktail. 3. Danielle Starr, Handbags for Housing Fashion Show Co-Coordinator, smiles before the models begin to take the stage for the Handbags for Housing “Alice in Wonderland”-themed showcase. 4. Over 600 gently used and new purses were for sale at the Handbag Bazaar. All purses in the bazaar were donated. 5. Elizabeth Herseth gets into the “Alice in Wonderland” event theme with her ears perked up in support of Lydia Place and the new event venue. 6. Becki Talyor of Windermere Real Estate holds up a stud or (“dud?”) in the Handbag Bazaar.

16 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018


What marks the dawning of a new era? The forerunners. Those who take the lead must always keep on going. Here’s the proof: the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. This highpowered hybrid derives its potential from a power-dense 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine and an electric machine that speaks a clear language: performance. Porsche. There is no substitute.

The new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

Porsche Bellingham 2200 Iowa Street Bellingham, WA 98229 Tel: (360) 734-5230 www.porschebellingham.com European model shown. Some options may not be available in the U.S. Š2018 Porsche Cars North America, Inc. Porsche recommends seat belt usage and observance of traffic laws at all times.


Back To The Future of Local Salmon

Photo John Meloy

leading edge ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

“Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s take the best-in-class practices from Alaska and try them here in Whatcom Creek. Everyone seems in favor of it. We’re all trying to bring back the fish population.” Doug Thomas, Chair, Whatcom Creek Hatchery Improvement Committee By Sherri Huleatt

Experts mark 1985 as Whatcom County’s last great fishing season. Stakeholders from business, government, the Lummi Nation, higher education, and more have joined forces to raise the region’s fish population to 1985 levels. Doug Thomas, President and CEO of Bellingham Cold Storage, chairs the new Whatcom Creek Hatchery Improvement Committee. He brought stakeholders together in 2016 to discuss solutions for increasing fish population in an environmentally sustainable way. After meeting once a month for two years, this group is advocating for a new Whatcom Creek hatchery. It would serve as a state pilot project, patterned after the Douglas Island Pink and Chum (DIPAC) hatchery in Juneau, Alaska—one of the most successful hatcheries in the world. “Why reinvent the wheel?” Thomas said. “Let’s take the best-in-class practices from Alaska and try them here in Whatcom Creek. Everyone seems in 18 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

favor of it. We’re all trying to bring back the fish population.” That achievement would have a major trickle-down effect on the local economy, impacting commercial fisheries, sport fishermen, packaging and storage companies, whale-watching tours, boating repair and storage, and more. Thomas said that the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, local governments, and the Lummi Nation support the project. Owner Mark Riedesel at Barlean’s Fishery said, “We’ve seen our working waterfront shrink bit-by-bit every year. A new hatchery releasing up to 17 million salmon smolts yearly would create a true bright spot in our fishing-related community.” Riedesel serves as president of Bellingham Puget Sound Anglers, sits on the Hatchery Committee, and is an advisor to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Puget Sound Recreational Fisheries Enhancement Committee. “A hatchery


of this magnitude,” he said, “has the potential to create more jobs within the commercial sector of the fishing industry and to benefit the recreational business. It’s a true win for all user groups.” The new hatchery could be a major boon for tourism, too. Hatchery committee member Sandy Ward, President and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, said the hatchery could provide a great educational opportunity about the life cycle of salmon. “Couple this with the chance to enjoy fresh seafood at some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the Pacific Northwest,” Ward said, “and we have the recipe that will get visitors to spend an extra day or night in Bellingham and Whatcom County and generate additional visitor spending.” Hatchery Committee member Brittany Palm-Flawd, BTC’s Hatchery Manager and an instructor, said the hatchery could provide a new hands-on training facility for students, and employment opportunities for graduate students. The hatchery plan is in line with Governor Jay Inslee’s initiative to restore Washington’s dwindling orca population, since salmon are orcas’ primary food source. “By assisting in efforts to save the whales, hatchery jobs also help the tourism and conservation sectors,” Palm-Flawd said. A cost-recovery program would fund the hatchery’s ongoing operations by requiring fishermen to pay a percentage of their catch’s value and thereby decrease government spending on the project. The next step in the process: obtain financing to conduct a feasibility study. Once the hatchery is built (still several years out), Thomas said, it will take several years to see results as stronger fish populations slowly increase. “But even a small increase would make a huge impact,” he said. If 10 million fish were released into the water with a 1.5% survival rate, then just 150,000 would return. If survival increased to Alaska levels (about 3%), that would double the fish population. While the increase might sound small, it could make a huge difference to the local economy. “This much-needed hatchery can make a difference and point us in a positive direction,” Riedesel said.  “Whales, commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, business owners, and many others will benefit.”

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Photos by C9 Photograpy courtesy of Birch Equipment

leading edge PHILANTHROPY

Clockwise from top left: Team Birch Equipment (with Jake Locker, far left); Some of Carole Garguile’s team of volunteers with Sarah Rothenbuhler, far left; 2017 winning team Dunkin & Bush; Team/sponsor Mills Electric (with Ryan Stiles, 2nd from right).

Birch Golf Classic Tees Up Community Caring By Dave Brumbaugh

When does writing a check with a few zeroes at the end make you smile? Perhaps when it: • Goes to truly deserving nonprofits that make a difference with people facing heart-breaking challenges. • Gives you the opportunity to golf at one of Northwest Washington’s top courses. • Connects you with an amazing array of local people in business, education, entertainment, law enforcement, and sports. That’s the recipe for the Birch Golf Classic set for Sept. 6 at the Bellingham Golf & Country Club. For the last three years Birch Equipment in Bellingham has orchestrated the Birch Pro-Am, teaming up with local businesses to raise more than $750,000 for Whatcom Hospice. The event has a new twist this year. Birch CEO/Owner Sarah Rothenbuhler restructured the format, working in 20 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

concert with former NFL quarterback Jake Locker, Paul Twedt with Northwestern Mutual, and Jessie Evenson, who is Birch Equipment’s Director of Employee and Customer Programs. They transitioned from the previous pro-amateur format to a “community-amateur” event. Instead of teams pairing only with a pro golfer (several still will participate), the teams will select a “celebrity” from the local region. Some have marquee names—like Locker and former NFL kicker Michael Koenen, and internationally-known comedian Ryan Stiles (Uptown Theater owner and star of “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?”)—and others include entrepreneurs, politicians, and executives from the area. “We’re all so busy with life and work, and the tournament will provide a great day for meeting and connecting incredible people whose paths don’t always cross, but they should,” Rothenbuhler


said. “You really get to know people when you spend a day golfing and having an early dinner together. “True admiration and friendships have developed with people, businesses, and services we only have had time to read about. So this year a spin on the pro-am platform will shine a light on 30 people doing amazing community work through their careers and community involvement.” The teams will select what’s called a “Duo”—their 5th player from the community list, plus an enticing prize package put together by a variety of sponsors (e.g., entertainment packages like a Rod Stewart concert, Seattle pro sports events, wine and dining experiences, golf clubs, etc.). “A lot of time and energy is going into this,” Locker said, “because we believe in people truly coming together for their community. Not just for the prize benefits, but because they actually care about people. That’s what’s been happening with this tourney, and we’re now bringing it to another level.” Beneficiaries this year: Northwest Youth Services (NWYS) and Engedi Refuge. Northwest Youth Services impacts more than 1,000 youths every year in Whatcom and Skagit Counties, providing a safe home for more than 200 young people between ages 13-24 who have run away, been displaced, or experience homelessness due to trauma, neglect, abuse, or exploitation. Engedi Refuge is a restorative program for women who have survived sex trafficking and prostitution. The refuge provides relief from poverty, addictions, abuse, and complex trauma often associated with sex trafficking. “The Northwest is in a homeless epidemic, and our I-5 corridor is one of the busiest sex-trafficking areas in North America,” Rothenbuhler said. “This tournament connects community businesses who want to shine a light of awareness and financial support on services that make a difference in transitioning our kids and those trapped in human trafficking to a network of better options.” At press time the Birch Golf Classic lineup had not filled out completely. For updated information on players, prizes, and getting involved, visit BirchGolf Classic. com or check its Facebook page. P+

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JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 21


leading edge GUEST COLUMN | MARITIME

Locals Fish Alaska but Bring the Bounty Home

D

PETE GRANGER

id you know that Whatcom County has a thriving commercial-fishing industry? Many people don’t. The Port of Bellingham estimates that commercial fishing and processing companies in Whatcom County employ more than 2,700 on Port premises. The maritime industry in general employs more than 6,000 Whatcom County residents. And did you know that many of the county-resident fishermen spend a good portion of their fishing efforts in Alaskan waters? They also bring 10s of millions of dollars in income back to the county with them. Many of the bigger boats in Squalicum and Blaine harbors travel to Southeast Alaska each spring to fish for pink and other salmon species. These are the 58-foot-long purse seiners. Alaskan law prohibits salmon seiners from being any longer than 58 feet. And Bristol Bay gillnetters can be no longer than 32 feet. 22 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

Smaller vessels, such as gillnetters and trollers, go to Southeast Alaska as well. Some boats travel as far as the southwest tip of the Alaska Peninsula. Other Alaska locales include Kodiak, Cordova and Prince William Sound, and Cook Inlet. Bellingham and Blaine also have a fleet of tenders that travels to all these areas each season. These are larger vessels that take the fresh catch from the fishermen and deliver it to the seafood plants for processing. Besides salmon, county fishermen target halibut, sablefish (black cod), roe herring, Dungeness crab, and Pacific cod. Whatcom County also is home to many boat owners, skippers, and crewmembers who fish in the fabled Bristol Bay sockeye fishery. Their 32-foot gillnet boats stay the winter in boat yards around the Bay. Crews fly up in early June for two months of intensive fishing; the 2018 sockeye run is predicted to be a nearrecord 50 million fish! (Also see Page 14 graphic.)


Anecdote: Resident Alaskans view fishermen from the “Lower 48” with some disdain. But they have come to accept their out-of-state cousins in the sometimes intense competition for fish! Anecdote: Did you know that in Alaska, many fishermen refer to sockeye as “reds,” and chum salmon as “dogs,” and pink salmon as “humpies” and coho salmon as “silvers,” and chinook salmon as “kings”? On any given day in the Summer in Whatcom County, you’ll see seafood products that were caught in Alaska, and chances are it was caught by local fishermen. For example, fresh Copper River sockeye are first in the marketplace in mid-May. By late June, they’ve been supplanted by sockeye from Kodiak and Southeast Alaska. July features fresh Bristol Bay sockeye. Trolled silvers will appear shortly after sockeye as well as Southeast Alaska pinks and chums in August. Winter months will feature these species that were flash frozen. From mid-November to mid-March, fresh halibut from Southeast Alaska is available. There are a number of salmon fishermen living in the county who sell their catch directly to local consumers. Entrepreneurs, such as Desire Fish, Fall Line Fisheries, Sea to Shore Seafood, and Nerka Sea-Frozen Salmon offer high-quality frozen salmon in the Fall, Winter and Spring. A majority of the Alaska catches gets returned to processors in Whatcom County, including American-Canadian Fisheries, Bornstein Seafoods, Dana Besecker Co., Homeport Seafoods, Icy Strait Seafoods, Q Sea Specialty Services, Seafood Producers Cooperative, Sound Pacific Seafood, Trans Ocean Products, Trident Seafoods, and Vital Choice Seafoods. Much of the product goes through the Bellingham Cold Storage complex—the largest portside cold storage on the West Coast, handling millions of pounds of Alaska product. Alaskan waters draw the fisheries and fill the boats, but the hauls return to fill the Whatcom County tills. P+

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Pete Granger retired from 45 years of working in the maritime and commercial fishing industry (and remains an active reef-net -fishing operator off of Lummi Island). Pete also serves as president of the Whatcom County Working Waterfront Coalition. JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 23


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TOP

PRIVATE COMPANIES Some staggering increases in gross revenues were the most remarkable trend that leapt off the pages as we compiled this year’s Top 100 Privately Owned Companies in Whatcom County. Most notable among them: Brim Tractor in Lynden, Dan Brim’s company that has operated for more than 50 years. After adding a complete line of construction equipment, Brim’s six stores that spread from Canada to Oregon increased sales last year by a stunning 160%! Other shining examples: Tiger Construction with a nearly 85% rise; Emergency Reporting, G.K. Knutson, and Vital Choice at about 50%; Morse Distribution, Kam-Way, and Pro Pack at around 45%; Western Refinery Services 40%, and Hardware Sales at more than 35%. Altogether, sales totaled in excess of $5.14 billion among the Top 100 leaders, and they account for over 10,100 jobs in Whatcom County and more than 18,000 jobs overall. P+

By Mike McKenzie Photos Scott Book


TOP 2018 Rank

2017 Rank

Employees Region Total

Top Executive(S)

SALES

1 Power solutions for broadband, telecommunications, and renewable-energy sectors

The Alpha Group 1

Bellingham

1976

500+

2,000+

Grace Borsari/ Fred Kaiser

$800M+

Haggen 2 2 Supermarkets and pharmacies

Bellingham

1933

754

1,963

John Clougher

$450M+

Exxel Pacific Bellingham 3 3 Integrated design and construction general contractor

1989

145

180

Kevin DeVries

Dawson Construction 4 4 Large-scale construction

Bellingham

1967

150

250

Pete Dawson

Grizzly Industrial 5 5

Bellingham

1983

83

214

Shiraz Balolia

110

610

Jason Jansen

7 7 Energy, agronomy, and retail

CHS Northwest

Lynden

1941

150

270

Don Eucker

Samson Rope Technologies 9 8 Synthetic-rope manufacturer

Ferndale

1878

200

324

Andrea Sturm

Hempler’s Foods Group Ferndale 1934 133 190 17 9 Meat processing and wholesale distribution

Richard Hempler/ Stephen Bates

Bornstein Seafoods 16 10 Seafood sourcing, sales, and distribution

Bellingham

1934

100

350

Colin Bornstein

Rice Insurance 18 11 Full-service insurance agency

Bellingham

1946

100

100

James Fritts

The Markets 10 12 The Markets, Cost Cutter, and Food Pavilion

Bellingham

2008

300

475

Kevin Weatherill

IMCO General Construction 6 13

Bellingham

1978

91

277

Frank Imhof/ Tyler Kimberley

Diamond B Constructors 12 14

Bellingham

1909

225

375

Pete Chapman

Anvil Corporation 13 15 Engineering and procurement solutions

Bellingham

1971

325

465

Gordy Lindell

McEvoy Oil nl 16 Oil and gas supplier

Bellingham

1932

32

32

Tim McEvoy

Smith Gardens Bellingham 1901 20 17 Wholesale producer of garden plants, nursery, and garden-center supplies

185

1200

Eric Smith

EPL Feed 19 18

2011

47

62

Dennis Elenbaas

Healthy Pet Bellingham 1985 23 19 Pet litter, bedding and food, spill cleanup, and industrial products

84

158

Ted Mischaikov

Tiger Construction Everson 36 20 Excavating and commercial building contractor

75

100

Scott Isenhart

Heavy construction Commercial and industrial contractor

Sumas

Ag feed and nutrition

26 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

1974

$125–$130M $100–$115M

1906

$90–$95M

LTI Lynden 8 6 Transport of dry and liquid bulk commodities

$85–$90M

Manufactures and sells woodworking and metalworking machinery

$325M+

$75–$85M

Founded

$65–$70M

Location

$60–$65M

Company


ASPHALT PAVING • Grading • Parking Lots • Patching/Repairs • Recycled Asphalt • Porous Asphalt • Driveways/Roads

 CIVIL CONSTRUCTION • Scraping/Land Leveling • Underground Utilities • Structural Concrete

• Site Prep/Clearing • Environmental Cleanup • Excavation/Demolition

2380 Grandview Rd., Ferndale, WA 98248 360.366.3303 www.wrsweb.com


2017 Rank

Company

Location

Founded

Hardware Sales 29 21

Bellingham

1962

Alaskan Leader Fisheries nl 22

Lynden

Brim Tractor 56 23 Farm and garden machinery

Lynden

Kam-Way Transportation 34 24 Full-service transportation brokerage Hollander Hospitality 24 25

Employees Region Total

Top Executive(S)

SALES

140

140

Jerry McClellan

$60.5M

8

50

Rob Wurm

$60M

1966

60

60

Dan Brim

$60M

Blaine

2008

45

45

Kam Sihota

$58M

Bellingham

1996

30

500

Mark Hollander

$57.5M

General hardware, B-to-B industrial sales, equipment rentals and service. Bering Sea longline fleet for catch and sales of Wild Alaska Cod

Hotel and commercial-property development and management

$60–$65M

2018 Rank

$55–$60M

TOP

$56M

SPIE Bellingham 1955 28 27 International society advancing the science and application of light

164

166

Kent Rochford

$55.1M

Mt. Baker Products Bellingham 27 28 Manufacturer of plywood veneer, lumber, and plywood

1993

135

135

Steven King

$55M

Barlean’s Organic Oils Ferndale 1989 21 29 Creates/distributes flaxseed, Omega 3, and other supplements

155

165

Bruce Barlean

$53M

Roger Jobs Motors nl 30

62

62

Roger Jobs

$52.7M

Bellingham

Automotive sales and service

28 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

1985

$45–$55M

Faithlife Bellingham 1992 288 335 Bob Pritchett 26 26 Bible-content software, apps and scholastic videos, online community groups, and building cloud-based presentations


20

#

TIGER CONSTRUCTION

This 44-year Everson fixture went “back to school” in 2017, and that’s how it experienced an exceptional 77% surge in revenues over the previous year—closing the books at more than $60 million. “Our largest contract last year, which we actually procured with a 2015 bid, was Lynden Middle School,” said Co-Owner and President Scott Isenhart. The $31 million school will open on Line Road in September. Among their other prime projects in 2017: the $21 million Options High School (the new alternativeeducation school located behind Bellingham High), and an elementary school in Skagit County. In previous years, Tiger completed many other school projects, including Mount Vernon and Meridian HS, Happy Valley Elementary, Marysville HS Food Commons, and special buildings at Whatcom Community College and Skagit Valley College. Tiger has a division that works in civil and heavy highway projects on which they utilize only their own employees (about 100) and equipment, such as a fleet of earthmovers, cranes, and personnel lifts. They also have a division for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings, contracting for the architectural phases. Ken Isenhart and his wife Marsha started Tiger in 1974. Ken’s brother, Steve, became a partner in 1985. Ken’s sons, Scott and Nick, and Steve’s son, Derek (VP of operations/equipment), bought Tiger in 2015 from their fathers. The company name stems from Ken Isenhart’s nickname when he was a wrestler at Colorado School of Mines. President Scott Isenhart and Operator Nick Isenhart JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 29


2018 Rank

2017 Rank

Company

Location

Founded

Keith Oil 38 31

Ferndale

1959

Mills Electric 33 32

Bellingham

Employees Region Total 7

10

Wholesale petroleum bulk station

Top Executive(S)

SALES

Sam Boulos/ Yanolla Boulos

$50M $45–$55M

TOP

200

250

John Huntley

$45.5M

Superfeet Ferndale 30 33 Premium insole design, manufacture, and wholesale

1977

88

144

John Rauvola

$45M

Family Care Network Bellingham 31 34 Family practice, clinics, community connections

1999

400

456

Dr. Marcy Hipskind

$43.8M

Seafood Producers Co-Op Bellingham 1944 25 35 Processor and marketer of premium NW and West Coast seafood

11

250

Joe Morelli

$43.8M

Axiom Construction & Consulting 32 36

Lynden

2002

120

218

Timothy Koetje

$41M

Strider Construction 35 37 Heavy civic construction

Bellingham

1988

100

130

James A. Gebhardt

$40M

Western Refinery Services 46 38 Industrial maintenance and construction

Ferndale

1990

210

240

Billy VanZanten

$40M

Faber Construction 44 39 General contractor

Lynden

1987

106

106

Rick Faber

$36M

Cowden Gravel & Ready Mix 39 40 Construction materials and trucking

Bellingham

1945

130

130

Brent Cowden

$34M

Farmers Equipment Company Lynden 40 41 Berry harvesters, farm and construction equipment

1935

40

72

Kevin Pawlowski

$34M

Saturna Capital 37 42 Mutual funds manager and investor

1989

65

80

Jane Carten

$33M

Cascade Dafo Ferndale 1982 47 43 Design and manufacture of dynamic ankle foot orthoses (DAFOs)

287

290

Don Buethorn

$32.2M

Blythe Plumbing & Heating nl 44

1904

85

85

David C. Morse III

$32M

Scholten’s Equipment Lynden 53 45 Agriculture and construction equipment sales

1979

35

52

Duane Scholten

$30M

Brooks Manufacturing Bellingham 49 46 Distribution crossarms and transmission-framing components

1917

50

50

John Ferlin

$29M

Sound Beverage Distributors Bellingham 1950 43 47 Wholesale beer, wine, and distilled beverages, and bottled water supplier

85

90

Dean Shintaffer

$29M

Vital Choice Wild Seafood Ferndale 61 48 Web-based wild-caught seafood and organic food products

2001

37

37

Randy Hartnell

$29M

DeWaard and Bode Bellingham 50 49 Applicance, mattress and furniture sales and service

1946

80

85

Jerry Roorda

$28.6M

Specified Fittings 48 50 HDPE and PVC pipe-fitting manufacturer

1996

90

180

Tom Franzen

$28M

Architectural sheet-metal contractor

Bellingham

Bellingham

$30–$40M

$40–$45M

1911

Electrical contractor

Bellingham

30 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

$25–$30M

Mechanical contractor


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TOP 2018 Rank

2017 Rank

Employees Region Total

SALES

150

Todd Kunzman

$27M

175

175

Doug Thomas

$25M

1990

51

61

Dave DeWaard

$23.5M

1981

66

72

Mike Hoagland

$23M

Anderson Paper & Packaging Ferndale 1992 57 55 Paper, boxes, supply chain, packaging solutions, and paper manufacturer

40

73

Rick Anderson

$22.3M

Diehl Ford 59 56 New and used car sales, parts, and service

1908

63

63

Bob & Mike Diehl

$22M

Morse Steel Service Center Bellingham 1884 72 57 Rebar fabricator and statewide flatbed fleet steel and rebar distribution

47

47

Mike Morse

$22M

Roosendaal-Honcoop Construction Bellingham 1979 40 62 58 Full-service general contractor providing construction and pre-construction services

40

Gary Honcoop

$22M

Bramble Berry 70 59 Soap-making supplies and training

Bellingham

1998

80

80

Anne-Marie Faiola

$20M

G.K. Knutson 78 60 Drywall, cold formed metal framing

Bellingham

1997

20

95

Greg Knutson

$20M

Founded

Andgar Corporation 52 51

Ferndale

1973

Bellingham Cold Storage 54 52

Bellingham

1946

Daritech 45 53 Farm-equipment supplier

Lynden

142

Residential heating/AC, metal fabrication, architectural metal, and biogas-digester technology Public refrigerated warehousing

Hoagland Pharmacy Bellingham 58 54 Retail pharmacy, medical equipment, and respiratory services

Bellingham

32 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

$20–$25M

Location

$25–$30M

Top Executive(S)

Company


22

#

Alaskan leader fisheries Twenty-seven years ago, six families of fishers in Kodiak, Alaska, pooled their resources to buy a catcher/ processor long-line vessel and formed Alaskan Leader Fisheries. It specializes in wild-caught Alaskan cod harvested in the Bering Sea and now has four American-made vessels. Last year, with an increase of about 15% in sales, Alaskan Leader topped $60 million in a cooperative arrangement that now has seven families in the ownership group and partnership with Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation. Most of the 50 employees of Alaskan Leader work out of Seattle. CEO and Co-Founder Rod Wurm leads the management group from an office in Lynden. Utilizing freezer long-line methods—“one hook, one fish,” as Wurm described it—the company produces for a wholesale market that covers fine-dining restaurants and large national grocery suppliers, like Whole Foods, WinCo, Publix, and Costco. Beyond that, their co-op sources the commodity market worldwide. “That strong worldwide market pricing of whitefish was part of why last year was possibly our best year ever,” Wurm said, citing delivery to Europe, Japan, China, and the domestic commodity market that includes ray wings, roe, and pollock among product offerings along with the several prepared cod. “Demand is strong,” Rod said. Speaking to 2017 and current successes, he added, “We continue to develop our value-added sales program—filets, portions, marinaded cod, etc. And, we cut costs with more efficient operations.” Casting long lines in the water, the co-op clearly has created a long line at the door demanding its products.

Robert J. Wurm President/CEO


76

#

TRIVAN When Business Pulse first visited TriVan Truck Body six years ago on the outskirts of Ferndale, our description of their customized work began with “…warm quarters for half-frozen oil-field workers in northern Alaska….” Today, that niche ranks as one of the major business boosters for TriVan, now in its 15th year. “We’ve had an enormous run on oil-field cabins since last year,” said Co-Owner/President Cason Van Driel of the company’s roughly 12% spike in sales in 2017 over the year before. “It reflects a glimmer of hope for the oil industry and a resurgence for the energy sector, which is great for the national economy and for Whatcom County.” TriVan—named for the three founding partners, brothers Cason and Marty Van Driel, and Eren Van Dyke—also landed some large ongoing contracts with national entities, Cason said. “Last year was a fun, exciting year.” The company employs 80, all in the Ferndale facility, after closing a small satellite shop in another state. Since 2003 TriVan has created about 3,400 units, Cason said. These include remote units for beef processors, warfare decontamination and command centers, SWAT teams, and dressing rooms for TV and movie sets. The leadership team has evolved with two major changes: Original co-founder Van Dyke retired and his son-in-law, Jan Kottelenberg, replaced him; a third Van Driel brother, Ryan, has since joined the partnership.

Clockwise from top left: Marty VanDriel, General Manager; Jan Kottelenberg, VP Research & Development; Cason VanDriel, President, and Ryan VanDriel, Marketing Manager. 34 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018



TOP 2018 Rank

2017 Rank

Company

Location

Founded

Mt. Baker Imaging 60 61

Bellingham

1965

Moncrieff Construction 55 62

Lynden

ProPack 65 63

Employees Region Total

Top Executive(S)

SALES

160

Dr. Matthew Studley

$20M

1992

10

60

Sam Moncrieff III

$20M

Blaine

1991

75

100

Alex Synder

$19.8M

Western Forest Products 75 64 Commercial distributor of lumber products

Bellingham

1981

21

31

Terry Dawn

$19M

Allsop nl 65 Consumer Electronics

Bellingham

1964

23

30

Ryan/Jim Allsop

Woodstock International 63 66

Bellingham

1989

13

26

Shiraz Balolia

Granite Precast 68 67 Producer of precast-concrete products

Bellingham

1985

91

95

Matthew Vaughn

$18.5M

Birch Equipment Rental & Sales Bellingham 69 68 Equipment and tool rental and sales for industry and home

1972

54

80

Sarah Rothenbuhler

$18.3M

Barron Heating & Air Conditioning Ferndale 67 69 Heating, air conditioning, and ventilation sales and service

1972

120

125

John Barron

$18M

50

95

Troy Curran

$18M

Concrete construction

$20–$25M

160

Radiology, image interpretation, and imaging during low-invasive surgery

Wholesale supplier of woodworking and metalworking machinery, parts, and shop materials

CityMac Bellingham 1992 66 70 Official Apple partner for products and service and Verizon reseller

ONE LOAD AT TIME...73 YEARS AND COUNTING 36 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

$18–$20M

Supply chain management


85

#

INFUSION SOLUTIONS

Owner Rowena Birnel 38 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

A spike in pharmacy closings, referrals, and an increase in daily service all helped send this award-winning Bellingham healthcare business soaring into 2018. Infusion Solutions’ gross revenues topped $11 million in 2017—a 51% gain over the prior year. Rowena Birnel’s company was the Business Pulse Startup Business of the Year in 2011. Infusion Solutions has nearly doubled its revenues over the last two years. In 2017 the company provided patients with specialty medication care in their homes at the average rate of 372 a day—up from 256 the previous year. The nearly 1,000 referrals last year rose 67% from the total of 609 in 2016. “We continue to grow by hiring extraordinary employees who take great care of our patients,” Birnel said of her 35-person staff. “We feel strongly about administering health care locally, and better than some of the big players with big names.” A local Walgreen’s pharmacy and a pharmacy on Whidbey Island closed, both boosting business. Additionally, Birnel expanded service into Spokane, taking on patients from a pharmacy that closed. New revenue also came from handling oncology needs for a regional hospital while it underwent remodeling. “Referrals still remain the core of our business,” Birnel said, “and we’re driven by high patient satisfaction. Our strength is that we’re local, we can get authorization for medications within one-to-three days, and patients don’t encounter a phone queue where they have to wait 15-to30 minutes on hold. We love seeing them in their homes. It’s not a matter of saying, ‘You need us.’ We want to be their choice.”


TOP 2018 Rank

2017 Rank

Company

Express Electric nl 71

Location

Founded

Ferndale

1992

Employees Region Total

Top Executive(S)

SALES

51

Roger Anderson

$18M

MSNW Ferndale 1995 71 72 Facility management, maintenance, janitorial, and landscaping services

132

413

Janelle Bruland

$17.3M

The Woods Coffee 77 73 Coffee shops and bakeries

Lynden

2002

125

171

Wes Herman

$15.5M

Seeking Health 73 74

Bellingham

2010

21

24

Dr. Ben Lynch

$15.3M

Louws Truss nl 75 Wood-roof and floor-truss manufacturer

Ferndale

1952

7

120

BJ Louws

$14.5M

TriVan Truck Body Ferndale 2003 80 80 79 76 Manufacturer of custom-designed, commercial-use truck bodies, trailers, and other specialty units

Marty & Cason VanDriel

$13.5M

ALRT Corporation 76 77 Logging and road construction

$17–$20M

43

Commercial, industrial, and residential electrical contractor

Everson

$12–$15M

Nutrition and supplements supplier

1990

57

57

Bill Westergreen

$13.4M

Larson Gross Bellingham 80 78 Certified public accountants and consultants

1949

95

95

Aaron Brown

$13M

Bellingham Yachts Bellingham 81 79 Sales, brokerage, charter, and service of yachts

1984

13

16

Dean Ouilette

$12.6M

David Loeppky/ Matt Roth

$12.5M

Chuckanut Bay Foods Ferndale 2008 84 84 91 80 Gourmet boutique kitchen creating cheesecakes for wholesale distribution

Proudly Serving The Community for 70 Years

Traditional T raditional Service Ser vice M tii M d N d Meeting Modern Needs.

Lynden • Ferndale 360-354-4471

Proudly Serving Whatcom, Skagit, Island and Snohomish Counties

40 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

Mount Vernon 360-424-4471


ONE 2 WATCH

EXACT SCIENTIFIC

Owner/President Kent Oostra

Increased revenues of nearly 400% over the last five years have Exact Scientific’s microbiological testing lab on a fast track to the milestone $5 million mark in our annual listing of the Top 100 privately owned companies in Whatcom County. Owner/President and microbiologist Kent Oostra said 2017 was a banner year and that the Ferndale company is on pace for another 30% growth this year. The company has 32 employees, having more than doubled in number since 2013 when Exact Scientific hit $2 million in revenues for the first time. Although his business stretches across the U.S. and as far as Australia, Oostra’s team undertook a major local project last year: farmersponsored research in six county watershed districts to identify specific animal (or human) species that have caused fecal pollution in downstream shellfish beds. This goes to the heart of Exact Scientific’s business model of testing one sample at a time, rather than in groups, in its process of certifying internationally established standards (called ISO) for food, supplements, nutraceuticals, agricultural, environmental, dioxins, PCB, pesticides, metals, minerals, and DNA sequencing. Exact Scientific’s test results have been cited in several video segments on the popular “Dr. Oz Show.” One of Mehmet Oz’s features centered on “what’s inside a chicken” using DNA sequencing. CTV in Vancouver ran a feature on the company. Exact Scientific is one of just two APHISapproved private labs in the U.S. for testing plant pathogen, and the only lab to offer qPCR detection of pathogens in potato tubers.


TOP 2018 Rank

2017 Rank

Company

Location

Dickerson Distributors Bellingham 74 81 Wholesale distributors of beer, wine, and spirits

Founded

Top Executive(S)

SALES

56

Kevin Dickerson

$12.5M

150

146

Richard Johnson

$12.0M

All American Marine Bellingham 1987 64 76 85 83 Builder of high-speed aluminum catamarans, ferries, tour boats, survey craft, and research vessels

Matt Mullett

>$12M

Edaleen Diary Lynden 82 84 Processing and distributing milk and ice cream

1975

101

101

Mitch Moorlag

$11.6M

Infusion Solutions Bellingham 99 85 Private center and in-home infusion therapies provider

2010

35

35

Rowena Birnel

$11.3M

Northwest Health Care Linen 84 86 Healthcare laundry-management services

1992

106

110

James Hall

$11M

WesSpur Tree Equipment Bellingham 2004 86 87 International arborist supply and tree-equipment machinery sales

21

21

Ryan Aarstol

$10.7M

Barkley Company Bellingham 87 88 Developing and leasing commercial and residential properties

1990

10

10

Stowe Talbot

$10.1M

POS-X nl 89 Point-of-sale and data-capture solutions

Bellingham

2005

25

27

Dan Moseley

$10.1M

Emergency Reporting nl 90

Bellingham

2003

50

80

Dave Adams/ Adrian Mintz

$10M

Elenbaas Company 88 91 Fertilizer and horse feed supplier

Lynden

Bellair Charters & Airporter Shuttle Ferndale 1985 83 82 Bus transportation for airports, state ferries, and private charters

Bellingham

Software for fire and EMS records management

19

19

Dennis Elenbaas

$7.5-1

Lister Chain & Forge Blaine 1911 28 92 92 Manufacturer of ship-anchor chain, navigational-buoy chain, anchors, and fittings

28

Michael Stobbart

$9.2M

Skeers Construction 97 93 Master plan community home building

Bellingham

1985

17

17

Dick Skeers

$9.05M

Comphy Company 96 94 Home bedding, spa linen, and textiles

Ferndale

2003

35

35

Mia Richardson

$9M

Erin Baker’s Wholesome Baked Goods 89 95 Wholesale baker and distributor

Bellingham

1994

45

40

Erin Baker

$8-9M

Totally Chocolate 93 96

Blaine

1993

75

75

Ken Strong

$10.2M

American Canadian Fisheries Bellingham 1985 90 97 Salmon procurement, processing, shipping, and wholesale/retail sales

45

45

Andy Vitaljic

$10M

Lynden Sheet Metal 100 98 HVAC and plumbing service and repair

Lynden

1940

51

51

Bobbi Kreider

$8.9M

ecigExpress 94 99

Bellingham

2009

48

48

Timothy Furre

$8.8M

Whatcom Land Title 100 nl Title insurance, and escrow services

Bellingham

1982

70

70

Colleen Baldwin

$8M

$8–$10M

1941

$12–$15M

46

$10–$12M

1984

Employees Region Total

Manufacturer of custom-molded chocolate

Electronic-cigarette supplier

42 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018


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GRAPHIC DESIGN WEB DESIGN BANNERS & POSTERS

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ulations to all whatcom companies for their contributions to our community


the sweet TASTE of success Chuckanut Bay Foods expands sizes, flavors coast-to-coast, and now into new space

By Mike McKenzie Photos Scott Book

46 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018


“We love having a good, wholesome product and a company that saves and creates jobs.” David Loeppky, Co-Owner, Chuckanut Bay Foods

T

hree-thousand percent growth! That’s not a gross exaggeration; it’s the gross gain in revenues over the last 10 years at Chuckanut Bay Foods in Ferndale, a purveyor of cheesecakes. This former Business Pulse Small Business of the Year Award winner (2012) has continued its explosive growth under the ownership group that purchased it in 2008. Sales last year exceeded $12 million and are on pace toward a 20% gain this year. Chuckanut Bay Foods sprouted from a former single proprietorship—then called Chuckanut Cheesecakes, with a loyal local customer base consisting mainly of some 20 Haggen stores—to a point where about 40,000 products go out the warehouse door daily for distribution coast-to-coast. That production from a relatively small boutique bakery (6,000 square feet) led to a land purchase last year in Blaine. The company soon will move into new digs there with about twice its current space on Hovander Road in Ferndale, with room to triple in size to 18,500 square feet when necessary. Lean operations enabled efficiency in the same kitchen, storage, and shipping space, even as production increased dramatically, though they eventually leased additional warehouse space. David Loeppky, Matt Roth, and a silent partner bought out the founder. They established a broad-based wholesale model built around a popular American dessert, using regional, all-natural ingredients. That model has propelled the company from two employees to 85 full-time workers (and more than 100 in peak seasons). “We’re proud to have a company that saves and creates jobs.” Loeppky said. “It’s in our mission statement that we want to be an employer of choice.” Loeppky’s education and background were in the oil and gas

industry, taking him from Canada to Texas. Then he and his wife were part of starting and selling two businesses, one producing compact discs (“when CDs were all the rage,” he said) and one in publishing (school planners, which continues to operate in Bellingham). At Chuckanut Bay Foods, he oversees operations. Roth earned a degree in business and finance from the University of Colorado, and he previously excelled in marketing in the franchise-restaurant industry, and then locally at a chocolate company in Whatcom County. He handles the business development side of the company. “We also wouldn’t have made it where we are today without my wife, Julie,” Roth said. “She’s been a very active owner-operator behind closed doors. Julie has been our bookkeeper led marketing and product development, and worn a million hats wherever we’ve needed her to—even working in the kitchen.” At the time of their award in 2012, they were producing more than $2 million in sales, with 20-plus employees, and most sales were in the Washington-Oregon region. Six years later, they’re still largely in core West Coast markets, Canada, and Colorado. But they also have made inroads deeper into Canada and as far as the East Coast—including New York City, the cheesecake Mecca—and Texas and Florida. “We’re now an in-and-out, rotating product in Costco stores,” Roth said. (That’s a product that appears periodically, rather than constantly.) The Chuckanut Bay Foods website displays nearly 50 grocery and specialty stores that carry a wide variety of cheesecakes, and Roth estimated that their desserts have shelf space in more than 6,000 locations. “That counts convenience stores, and some places carry us seasonally, like two times a year in holiday JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 47


Photo Courtesy of Chuckanut Bay Foods

The Chuckanut Bay staff celebrate the groundbreaking of the new facility in Blaine.

periods. Our large accounts that people would recognize are Costco, Whole Foods, Kroger, Albertson’s, and large regional chains like Publix in Florida, and Haggen out here.”” The rapid growth has come from several sources:

Roth, who travels widely to open new market segments, said, “We have a lot of unique spreads. But the regular New York-style and chocolate cheesecakes still lead the way in popularity. The three-inch individual is our core product, and we’re selling a ton of chocolate-covered bites.” • Continual addition of new market segChuckanut Bay cheesecakes are handments and regions; crafted on an all-natural-ingredients model, • Creation of around 50 new flavors; mostly sourced in the Northwest. Some • Adding new products; dairy and berry suppliers are a stone’s throw away in Lynden, and others ship from as far • Offering more sizes; as Oregon. Eggs come from Washington • And the supply of private-label and and Abbotsford, B.C. vendors. co-branded specialties for about 10 All ingredients adhere to the Whole other companies. Foods Market standards, a widely ac“Originally we had three cheesecake cepted published list. Also, certificasizes,” Loeppky said, “and now we have tions include kosher, gluten-free, SQF five, plus the new one-ounce petite rolled David Loeppky and Matt Roth (safe quality food), and—as stated on in chocolate. Our premier line is the the website—“Inspected and authorized three-inch grab-and-go. We introduced that in our second year, to produce for branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.” In product when we were just trying to figure this business out.” development, Chuckanut Bay Foods advertises, “No artificial They’ve added layer-cakes in flavors like German Chocolate, coloring. No hydrogenated oils. RBGH-free cream cheese. NonRed Velvet, and Carrot, and also offer sheet cheesecakes for ca- GMO real cane sugar and flour. Made in small batches. Great tering. And, in the only departures from cheesecake, the product attention to consistency.” catalog contains tiramisu and fruitcake. The company recently settled on a marketing slogan: “Real. Some flavors are seasonal, driven by holidays or harvests, Good. Cheesecake.” Loeppky said, “The ‘Real’ part refers to our and many tease the taste buds with creative flavors like S’More, ingredients, as opposed to artificial additives. We love having a Chocolate Stout, Irish Cream, and Honey Bourbon. wholesome product.” 48 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018


LOCAL MOUNTAIN BIKING is GOING

big! By Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy

50 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018


Photo: Courtesy of Transition Bikes

Transition Bikes co-owners Kevin Menard and Kyle Young out doing a bit of R&D.

JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 51


H

Who’s riding, according to the survey? About 75% are local folks, and 25% visitors. More than half of those visitors ride here at least monthly and have annual incomes of $100,000-plus. Nearly all (97%) patronize local businesses while here, with 85% visiting a bike shop or other specialty retailer. More than half spend a minimum of $40 per visit at breweries, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and supermarkets. Menard said Whatcom County trails are comparable to those in British Columbia but B.C. just has more of them. “The B.C. government pays for trail building, because it recognizes the financial benefits of that investment. Our WMBC is a volunteer organization. (Menard is on the board.) We get some grants, but the majority of the money comes from people who donate because they love it,” he said. WMBC funding comes from some 70 entities that comprise individuals, clubs, events such as the Tour de Whatcom, and many local businesses, such as REI, Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery, Transition Bikes, Superfeet, and Fanatik Bike Co. WMBC maintains 45 miles of trails on Galbraith Mountain, plus an additional 20 miles of adjacent property. It organizes 25 maintenance workdays annually, some with as many as 70 volunteers. These volunteers logged some 7,000 hours in 2017, Eric Brown said, not including many more hours spent on ad hoc maintenance. “Our supporters take pride in stewarding the trails we build and maintain. There isn’t any need to cajole them to

Photo: Courtesy of Transition Bikes

ear that boom? Off in the woods, over on Galbraith Mountain? It’s the fast-growing mountain-biking industry in Whatcom County. This new engine in our economy is founded on our outstanding topography. Of the five top-ranked trails in Washington, four are in Bellingham. And mountain-bike trails here rank in the top 1% globally, according to Kevin Menard, co-owner with Kyle Young of Transition Bikes—a bike design-and-build company on Carolina Street in Bellingham’s Roosevelt area. Menard, is in a position to know because he rides on trails around the world,. “We have world-class trail systems here that you can access from town,” he said. “You don’t even need to get into your car. That’s what’s driving this growth.” Our trail network also helps businesses recruit and retain employees, said Eric Brown, who serves as trail director of the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC), a nonprofit that preserves and enhances non-motorized trail access in the county. According to a WMBC survey, 61% of respondents said easy access to mountain-biking trails was important in their decision to move here. And, 82% of longtime residents said it was very important in their decision to stay. Even casual conversation with local mountain bikers reveals a high percentage of riders who mention that they sought employment here because they could access trails from home.

52 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018


Photo: Courtesy of Transition Bikes

do trail work. It’s part of our ethos as a community,” said Brown, who has volunteered with the group since 2006. “Providing better trail access and building better bike infrastructure, like pump tracks (a circuit of banked turns), is a personal goal. I’m also proud of our youth programs, which get kids off the couch and into the woods, both riding bikes and maintaining trails.” [The group runs 13 after-school programs and puts on 17 elementary-school bike rodeos.] Jodie Beatty is a rider who relies on Bellingham’s easyaccess trails. “Life is so busy, with kids and work. Here, you can go out whenever you want and you don’t have to pay each time you go. It fits into our lifestyle very well,” she said.” Beatty and her husband also have introduced their sons, ages 8 and 5, to the sport. The tight-knit mountain-biking community also is a draw for the Beatty family. “We bring friends with their kids, too.” Jodie said. “You can make it what you want—an athletic event, or a picnic. We’ve had the kids go around loops and learn how to deal with obstacles, and then we rewarded them with ice cream bars out of the cooler.” How much does it cost? Beatty pegs the startup cost for a basic adult bike between $600 and $3,000. “But when you’re really into it, it gets more expensive,” she said. Her husband bikes two to three times a week and replaces his bike every five years. She rides once a week and replaces her bike every 10 years. Their sons grow into new bikes every two or three years. “Over time, it’s cost effective.

Compare it with the cost of a gym membership or soccer camps for kids,” she said. At Transition Bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes range from $3,000 to $6,000. A hard-tail “dirt jumper” bike is about $1,600, Menard said. Protective gear depends on what kind of riding you’re doing. You’ll need at least knee and elbow pads, gloves, helmet, bike-specific shoes, and padded shorts. A small backpack for food and water is helpful. A jersey isn’t essential, but it makes you look the part—though some rely on mud as the best outfit, Menard quipped. Whatcom’s topography, proximity to B.C., and mountain bike-centric culture make bike shops plentiful here. Besides Transition Bikes, there’s Fanatik, Fairhaven, Jack’s, Earl’s, Alleycat, Canfield, Trek (formerly Kulshan), and REI. And Kona USA, with its manufacturing headquartered in Ferndale for 30 years, opened its first retail store on State Street in Bellingham in 2015. All contribute to Whatcom County’s eighth-place ranking among counties in the state for overall recreational expenditures, according to Earth Economics for Recreation Northwest. The WMBC was founded 32 years ago, under the name WHIMPS, and has managed trails on Galbraith Mountain since its inception. The group was in favor of the 2017 sale of 2,240 acres on the mountain by Skagit-based Polygon Financial 05 to Galbraith Tree Farm. WMBC has an agreement with the Tree Farm that allows mountain bikers to co-exist within this commercial forest. JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 53


QA and

Take Some Real Estate Marketing Tips That Rate as Good as Gold(steins)

T

he Goldsteins are a creative and charismatic couple who have been wildly successful agents for Windermere Real Estate in Bellingham for the past five years. Bliss, the wifely half of the dynamic duo, said: “We’re fun. We’re effective. And we’re bonded. There is no Bliss OR Dan. Ours is the way of the ampersand.”

What’s the best strategy in today’s market? BLISS: It’s been a seller’s market, And if you are selling a home, you can’t just plop a “For Sale” sign on your lawn and expect it to sell, especially for top dollar. If you want a high price, never list it at a high price. Even in this hot market, a house can just sit.

How did you form the business together? DAN: We had been investing in real estate since the ’80s, and five years ago we decided, “Let’s do it.” We made a good choice to go with Windermere in Whatcom County. Each real estate agency has a different tone and personality, and the level of professionalism at Windermere fits us.

How do you set yourself apart from others? BLISS: We operate on a basic philosophy of, “We’ll do 1% more on everything.” We like to win and that’s how we do it—that extra step. Our track record reflects more than 90% of our buyers’ offers win in multiple offer situations and our listings sell in under a week, typically for over-asking.”

Photo: Scott Book

Interview by Mike McKenzie


What other trade secrets can you share? BLISS: One of the cornerstones of our success is that, before we get into a car with anybody they spend two hours with us in this (conference) room where we’re sitting right now. We ask things like, “Do you own a piano or a pool table? What do you like to do for recreation? Boating? Fishing? Hiking? Do you prefer a water view, or a mountain view?” DAN: We then give them a virtual tour of several homes on the big screen in this room and ask, “What do you like and what don’t you like about this home?” This way, we don’t waste our clients’ time looking at homes that don’t fit their preferences. BLISS: A recent example was a house we just closed. Other agents had been showing it for two years. It was the only one we showed our buyer; after his Buyer’s Consultation we knew what he wanted and that this was the perfect fit—and he bought it. Half the time, we sell the first house we actually show a buyer. Whatever everyone else is offering, we offer 1% more. Is the market crowded? BLISS: Sometimes it feels like a rugby scrum. Years ago we were able to encourage our buyers to sleep on it. There’s no sleeping in this market! If you see something you like, spring into action immediately. We often preempt multiple offers that way before the offer review date. Your slide show before movies at the Pickford Film Center is unique. How did that come about? DAN: We were watching a Michael Moore film at The Pickford on Valentine’s Day a while back. It was a full house and, at the end, everybody gave the show a standing ovation. I told Bliss right then, “We can relate to these people. Let’s promote to them, right here in the seats with them.” BLISS: That’s why all 12 of our slides that rotate before the movies show us seated in the audience and doing something with each other. In one, I’m spilling popcorn on Dan. In another, in order to showcase our staging in a fun way, Dan is wearing a lamp shade on his head. Q&A Continued on Page 63 JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 55


PULSE

HOURS AFTER BEVERAGES / CLOTHING /

Photo by: Scott Book

SAVORY FLAVORS MEET DOWN-TO-EARTH VIBES AT SALTINE

Craig Serbousek and Valerie Markus, Co-Owners of Saltine

BOOKS + MORE

By Sherri Huleatt Much like its namesake cracker, new downtown Bellingham restaurant Saltine is satisfying, universally liked, and unpretentious. Branded as “New American,” the eatery opened in May under the husband-and-wife duo of Chef Craig Serbousek and Sommelier Valerie Markus. Valerie, usually the one greeting you at the door, has 25 years’ experience in the international wine business, while Craig (who you’ll most likely see cooking and serving tables) has more than 40 years’ experience as a chef. Together, they’ve opened four restaurants—Crow, Stumbling Goat, and Betty in Seattle, and now Saltine across the street from the landmark Old City Hall Whatcom Museum on Prospect Steet. Valerie said they wanted to get away from city life in Seattle and move to a place where they could join a close-knit community and “make a difference….it feels like we’ve found our place in the universe.” Their passion (and impeccable palates, obvious by their menu selections and the tastes I experienced) have helped pack Saltine nearly every night since the opening. “We’re busy as hell,” Valerie said. Perfect for happy hour, date nights, and dinner with friends, Saltine offers a small menu with big portions. Their best-seller is prosciutto-wrapped chicken. (After tasting it myself, I can see why.) Other menu items spring from inspiration by cuisines around the world, including Italian risotto mozzarella balls with tangy tomato sauce, French bouillabaisse simmered with local seafood, Middle Eastern-Levantine quinoa fattoush salad, and the arancini that my husband and I enjoyed. For this quality of food and drinks, you could easily expect a heftier tab. Items on a short-list menu range from $8-$9 for soup du jour or Saltine salad, $11-$12.50 for creative presentations of vegetables (fried green olives, smoked salmon carpaccio, e.g.), up to $16-$24 on the main-dish side. “We wanted a restaurant affordable for the community,” Valerie said. Likewise, she hand-picks a rotating list of about 20 international wines—all available for $60 or less. Saltine’s artfully crafted cocktails (we sipped a Negroni and an Old Fashioned, both on tap) come spiked with exotic liquors, such as Yellow Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino Liquor, and Yzaguiire Sweet Vermouth (no, I don’t know how to pronounce that last one, either). And if the food, wine, and fresh cocktails haven’t sold you—go for the Old Fashioned on Tap. You’ll thank me later.

JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 57


looks PULSE AFTER HOURS

OUT-OF-OFFICE SUPPLY

It’s hard to believe anyone living in Whatcom County is a stranger to Yeager’s, the venerable out-of-doors emporium. Whether you fall into the ATV (or the Mall Terrain Vehicle) camp, you know that the knowledgable and patient staff has your back (and feet— and just about everything else you need covered in the wild frontier). After recently adding KÜHL and the legendary Filson line to its extensive clothing offerings, you’re sure to come out as the best dressed in your hiking party. Filson Oil Tin Cloth Vest, $130

Filson Oil Finish Wax, $10

KÜHL Response Short Sleeve Shirt, $70

Carhartt Force Tappen Cargo Pant, $60

Danner Mountain 600 4.5" Boot, $200

KÜHL Renegade Short, $70

Filson Short Sleeve Feather Cloth Shirt, $68 Filson Tin Packer Hat, $55 58 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018


Columbia Outerspaced III FZ, $50

Columbia Inner Luminosity II Hoodie, $45

Columbia Anytime Casual Skort, $40

North Face Aphrodite Ridge Short, $50

North Face Borealis Back Pack, $92

Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Plaid Long Sleeve, $55 Merrell All Out Blaze Vent Waterproof Shoe, $140

Special thanks

to Ashley and Andrew at Yeager’s for providing all the items shown here. JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 59

Photographer: Tiffany Brooks

Columbia Women’s Snap Back Hat, $25


PULSE AFTER HOURS DO TRY THIS AT HOME

PACKERS AT SEMIAHMOO

KEENAN’S AT THE PIER CHRYSALIS INN

B-TOWN KITCHEN AND RAW BAR FOUR POINTS

What began as a paean to locally distilled liquors slowly morphed into a simple test of the dexterity and creativity of local mixologists. Seizing the rare opportunity to drink in the out-of-doors, prior to the unofficial start of Summer (July 5th, if you’re new to the area), our intrepid Business Pulse taste testers went into action. It just so happened that each bar had a hotel attached to it (safety first!). The drinks ran the gamut from refreshingly crisp and dry to WOW, that’s funky, but delicious. Thanks to Business Pulse’s research and arm-twisting, we were able to pry these closely guarded recipes from local bartenders so you can make them in the safety of your own home. P+

Shiso Unusual

Backwoods

Take it Izze

2 oz. Shiso infused gin* 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice 1/2 oz. simple syrup Two dashes Scrappys Cardamom Bitters Splash of seltzer

4 large, fresh blackberries Fresh mint sprigs 2 oz. Woodinville Bourbon 3/4 oz. peach schnapps 1/4 oz. lemon juice

2 oz. BelleWood vodka 1/2 oz. triple sec 1/2 oz. simple syrup 1/2 oz. lemon juice 3/4 oz. Izze soda

Combine the gin, lime, syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Add fresh ice and top with seltzer. Garnish with a shiso leaf.

Combine ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist.

The name is an ode to Cyndi Lauper

Muddle blackberries and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, bourbon, schnapps, and lemon juice. Cover and shake well (about 10 to 20 seconds). Strain into a martini glass and garnish with mint.

Zone 8

Kumalade

High Tide

2 oz. spruce-infused gin 1/2 oz. green chartreuse 1/2 oz. simple syrup 1/2 oz. fresh egg white

2 oz. Kuma Turmeric Root Liqueur 6 oz. freshly squeezed lemonade 1-2 oz. float of brut champagne

1-1/2 oz. Koloa Rum 1-1/2 oz. Sun Rum 1-1/2 oz. orange juice 1/2 oz. lemon juice 1/3 oz. passion fruit juice 1/2 oz. grenadine

(foreground)

(background)

Combine the gin, lime juice, chartreuse, simple syrup and egg white in a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake HARD for 10 seconds. Then add ice to the mixture and shake again for another 10 seconds. Strain into an ice filled collins glass. Top with seltzer. Garnish with juniper berries and spruce.

(left)

(right)

Combine the liqueur and fresh squeezed lemonade over ice. Slowly top with champagne. Gently stir and garnish with mint and a sour cherry.

60 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

(background)

(foreground)

Combine ingredients over ice in your favorite rocks glass. Stir for 10 seconds. Garnish with an orange wedge and a maraschino cherry.


LIGHTHOUSE B&G AT HOTEL BELLWETHER

Northside Fizz (above)

Five mint leaves 2 oz. Granny Strong’s Vodka 1/4 oz. Orgeat syrup 1/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice Soda water Muddle mint in a shaker with ice, add vodka, orgeat, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously then strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with lemon and mint.

The Bee’s Knees (below)

2 oz. BelleWood Acres Gin 1/4 oz. honey simple syrup 1/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Whatcom Business Alliance Member since 2015 10% Off for WBA Members with promo code: WBAMEMBERS

Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Cover and shake for about 10 seconds. Strain into a sugar-rimmed glass.

On-The-Go & Full Service Catering

360.647.4325 www.marketstreetcatering.com

171211-09

JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 61


PULSE SUMMERreads AFTER HOURS The Word Is Murder Anthony Horowitz The New York Times bestselling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty, Anthony Horowitz, has yet again brilliantly reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes. One bright Spring morning in London, Diana Cowper—the wealthy mother of a famous actor—enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service. Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home. Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric investigator

who’s as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. Hawthorne needs a ghost writer to document his life—a Watson to his Holmes. He chooses Anthony Horowitz. Drawn in against his will, Horowitz soon finds himself at the center of a story he cannot control. The writer and the detective form an unusual partnership. At the same time, it soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own. (June 5, 2018 Harper) Hardcover from $27.99: Available at Village Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

There There Tommy Orange As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow— momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos. There will be glorious communion, a spectacle of sacred

tradition and pageantry, and there will be sacrifice, heroism, and loss. There There is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. It’s fierce, funny, suspenseful, thoroughly modern, and impossible to put down. It’s a stunning novel that grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide. (June 5, 2018 Knopf) Hardcover from $25.95: Available to order at Village Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer Michelle McNamara For more than 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated 10 sadistic murders. Then he disappeared. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece 62 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle’s dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer. (February 27, 2018 Harper) Hardcover from $27.99: Available at Village Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.


Q & A Continued from Page 55

DAN: Our son-in-law, Andrew Mitrak, who’s a professional photographer in Seattle, did the shots. We did the script and he brought a few props. It’s been a real success….generating a lot of leads. What’s the No. 1 thing to know when selling a home? DAN: The best thing a seller can do is price a property right. We see houses sitting awhile, and the main reason always is that they’re priced too high. You want buyers fighting with each other, not with the seller or real estate agent. How important are looks of a home for sale? BLISS: Extremely. Stage the home for showing it. Price totally fluctuates on the condition of the home. I have a staging credential. If your agent doesn’t, then hire a professional interior designer. Homes that are staged sell for 17% more than unstaged homes. DAN: Make sure you use a professional photographer, not photos shot with your cell phone. We’ve seen homes go for well under what they could have because the pictures were blurry or had reflections of the agent in a window. BLISS: Also, Dan place clever captions under our photos, where its commonplace among listings to have nothing. Or, something bland like, “Modern Dining Room.” DAN: Here’s a tip on staging: Things that are wonderful to you might not be to most others. A good example is a wall of books. You love it; many people wouldn’t. Listen to your stager. Homes also can be overstuffed, or over-empty. Each room has its own purpose; make It clear—is it a bedroom or an office? What do you recommend for the strongest marketing? DAN: The Internet. Strategic print. Our other unique marketing initiative—besides The Pickford—is the Bloggingham articles on our website. BLISS: Sellers and buyers alike should post on their social media. Not everybody does that. Sometimes we use a combination of print and social media. Q&A Continued on Page 64 JULY/AUGUST 2018 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | 63


Q & A Continued from Page 63

One recent great example was a wellknown location we created a video for in Fairhaven, including drone shots. Dan wrote a script, directed the shoot, and made the edits. He wrote brilliant content: “Life doesn’t get any more Fairhaven than this. Come home to its heart.” I love that line. We presented the video to the owners and they posted it on Facebook. A Bellingham Herald reporter saw it and a story ended up on the front page of the newspaper. We held an open house right after it hit the paper, and we had a packed turnout of about 200 people. How do you work as a team? DAN: I’m the advertising guy. But you know who the closer is! BLISS: It only works together. I call Dan my secret weapon.

Join us at the ballpark this summer!

Season runs until August 5th! Get your tickets today at BELLSTICKETS.COM! Summer Baseball, Lifetime Memories! www.bellinghambells.com • (360) 527-1035 64 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM JULY/AUGUST 2018

BLISS GOLDSTEIN NARRATES HOW SHE AND DAN DELIVER WITH PASSION: It’s not just about winning. The profound changes we have helped people make truly touch our hearts. Recently, a retirement-age lady living by herself in Seattle wanted to move here, but, frankly, was scared about getting her house of 20 years on the market, finding one here, and actually moving. I said to her, “I’m sure you have some adventure left in you!” She said for two years all she’d heard were negative reasons to leave Seattle. And so she sat in her condo, depressed.  When she heard me say the word “adventure,” she said her life shifted. That felt like holy orders to me. We found a condo for her, and she became fast friends with a gal I introduced her to who we’d also helped move here. Other memorable examples: Helping a family from East India find a home and getting invited to their house blessing. That was some great food! And, sitting at the final signing with a retired couple when the wife drew a pair of hand-knitted socks out of her bag as a thank-you. Her husband was a veteran and needed to be near the hospital. Their new home was just five minutes away. Yes, we like to win. But it’s the ineffable perks and deeper meaning that truly drive us. Oh, and of course, the socks!


Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow For 60 Years Skagit Bank has earned your trust, and we will continue to earn it. Together, every day, we build Genuine Lasting Relationships. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. We are Skagit Bank.

Genuine Lasting Relationships (800) 246-4402 | SKAGITBANK.COM


We are proud to announce Joel Smith has joined the Team as the Director of Mortgage Lending.

Welcome Joel! ourfirstfed.com | 800.800.1577 | #PeopleLoveUs

Business Pulse magazine July|August2018  

The PULSE of Whatcom County

Business Pulse magazine July|August2018  

The PULSE of Whatcom County