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Craft distilleries hope to find a place among top-shelf liquors BY EVAN MARCZYNSKI

Backwoods tech today Smith said by mid-February his self-designed stills will start producing 80-proof vodka and a 100proof legal version of moonshine. Though moonshine is notorious for its high-alcohol content and its popularity among bootleggers, a few licensed distilleries in the U.S. have recently begun producing the once-illicit liquor. Smith’s concoction uses a corn mash, which produces what is essentially a raw, unaged whiskey.

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Business calls on state to stop cuts BY EVAN MARCZYNSKI


hree 15-gallon stills fashioned out of repurposed beer kegs line a wall in the future distilling room at Mount Baker Distillery. The silver kegs, a few with small dents and discolorations, would be unassuming if not for the large copper cylinders sticking out of their tops. “We’re kind of like extreme home brewers,� distillery co-owner Troy Smith said. “Everything we do is handmade completely.� Mount Baker Distillery, located in Suite D2 of the Haskell Business Center at 1305 Fraser St. in Bellingham, is one of three new facilities that will bring Washington state’s expanding craft distillery industry to Whatcom County in 2012. The other two are Chuckanut Bay Distillery at 1115 Railroad Ave., and a distillery in the building being constructed at BelleWood Acres farm on Guide Meridian Road just north of Bellingham.



tillery with its do-it-yourself character and its use of locally made ingredients.

Mount Baker Distillery co-owner Troy Smith stands with a beer keg that will be repuprosed as a still for producing either vodka or legal moonshine. All products will be produced by hand. BRIAN COREY PHOTO.

The decision to produce moonshine was made to not only be unique, Smith said, but also to have an immediate product available for customers. “That’s the great thing about moonshine, we can bottle it right

Industry in transition

away, which for a small producer is important,� Smith said. “We can’t sit around for a few years waiting for a product to come out.� Smith said he plans to attract customers to Mount Baker Dis-

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The passage of Initiative 1183 last November, which will close state-run liquor stores and allow private retailers to sell spirits instead, has prompted the liquor board to modify craft-distillery laws. Four years after the state first began issuing craft distillery licenses in 2008, 40 distilleries have been approved, and 17 applications for new producers are currently pending, according

As state lawmakers enter the year with another partisan budget battle, the Main Street Alliance of Washington is bucking the cliche that every small business owner wants lower taxes and less government spending. “Washington is a great place to live, work and run a business,� Joshua Welter, the alliance’s director, said. “We want to keep it that way and make it better, not see how quickly we can race to the bottom.� In January, the alliance sent an open letter to Gov. Gregoire and the state Legislature. It called for an end to further budget cuts, and a renewed investment in health care, infrastructure and education. Such investment would help rebuild the state’s economy by allowing small businesses to grow and create jobs, according to the alliance. The Main Street Alliance is a public policy advocate that supports and promotes small business owners. Lawmakers opened the 2012 legislative session facing a familiar scene: a state budget still deep



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NONPROFIT ‘SCHMOOZEFEST’ The Whatcom Council of Nonprofits will holds its next “SchmoozeFest� event Feb. 9, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Blue Horse Gallery will host at 301 W. Holly Street in Bellingham. All are invited to “network and schmooze� with other nonprofit professionals and volunteers. Information: Paula Berg,

WINTER CAREER FAIR Job seekers looking for ways to connect directly with employers are invited to attend Western Washington University’s Winter Career Fair, which will take place Thursday, Feb. 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Viking Union Multi-purpose Room. Admission is free. Sponsored by WWU’s Career Services Center, the Winter Career Fair is a major recruiting event that allows students and the general public to meet with hiring managers from a wide range of employers, including private-sector companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies. This event provides opportunities for students and alumni of all majors to discuss internship and employment possibilities with participating organizations. For those who may be uncertain about their career goals or options, the Winter Career Fair is a resource for conducting job market research. Participating employers include: Aerotek, Birch Equipment Co., Campus Point, Dynacraft, Enterprise Holdings, Fred Meyer, Heath Tecna, Insight Global, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Logos Bible Software, Microsoft, Puget Sound Energy, SPIE, Target, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Vitech Business Group, Zones, Inc., and more. Job seekers should research participating companies in advance, dress in professional attire, and bring plenty of resumes. A career fair preparation workshop covering necessary skills for successfully approaching employers will be offered Monday, Feb. 6 at noon in Old Main 280K. Information:, stop by the Career Services Center offices in Old Main 280, or call (360) 6503240.

WOMEN IN AG The Washington State University Mount Vernon Research Center, 16650 State Route 536 in Mount Vernon, is one of 16 locations statewide that will host the Feb. 11 Women in Agriculture conference. The event will provide educational resources to women farmers. Two main speakers, Lyn Garling of Over the Moon Farm and author Rita Emmett, will be broadcast to all conference locations. Local speakers will also offer advice on how to improve farm and financial management, as well as how to keep current on market trends and the latest production methods While the conference is geared toward women, it is open to all producers including supporting spouses and aspiring farmers, as well as agriculture

students and farm interns. Details and online registration are available at

TECHNOLOGY & THE FUTURE Noted speaker and technologist Mark Anderson will present his top 10 predictions for technology and the economy in 2012 on Feb. 17 at the Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington’s eighth annual Predictions Luncheon. The event runs noon to 1 p.m. in Whatcom Community College’s Syre Auditorium at 237 W. Kellogg Road. Pre-registration is required. Anderson is the founder and publisher of the Strategic News Service, a long-running online newsletter that covers the computing and communications industry. Info:

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REVENUE | FROM 4 in the hole, even after billions in cuts. In her State of the State address, Gregoire called for a 10-year, $3.6 billion transportation infrastructure package, a sales tax increase and a new fee on in-state oil production to provide new revenue. State Republicans chided the proposal. Rep. Jason Overstreet, a Blaine Republican who represents the 42nd district, has said Democratic lawmakers refuse to accept economic reality, citing unsustainable spending between 2005 and 2008 as cause for the current situation. He has called for government reform and prioritizing economic growth through lower taxes and less spending. Alliance member Gretchen Bjork, who owns DIGS showroom and Left Right Left Shoes in Bellingham, said by email that she would prefer a small sales tax increase over further state budget cuts. Bjork said a modest increase would be less noticeable to her businesses than job losses due to cuts in state services. “I agree that we need to live within our means, but think that our state lawmakers need to explore all options and consider the ripple effect that occurs when jobs are lost,� she said. “Someone who is unemployed, or takes a pay cut, will cut back on their spending, which directly affects small businesses.� Ken Oplinger, president and CEO of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said cuts to infrastructure spending, including funds for roads and public utilities, have a drastic impact on small businesses. If the state wants to

help business owners, supporting infrastructure is key, he said. Oplinger said lawmakers on all sides of the political spectrum should seek compromises as they move forward in 2012. “Any time you see things that affect the community, business is going to be affected as well,� he said. “Everything needs to still be on the table at this point.� Welter agreed that all potential revenue options need to be a part of the state’s budgetary equation. He cited a January report from the Economic Opportunity Institute that found if lawmakers had balanced budget cuts since 2008 with equal amounts of tax increases, about 27,000 public and private sector jobs could have been saved. The institute is an independent nonprofit policy center that advocates for middleclass workers and families. Welter said tax increases are not the only option to draw in more dollars for the state. The alliance also wants lawmakers to consider closing tax loopholes for Wall Street banks, particularly ones involving mortgage sales that fail to pump money back into the state economy. “While we haven’t closed the door to any revenue options, revenue needs to be part of the discussion,� Welter said. The next step for the alliance will be convincing lawmakers and taxpayers that more revenue to the government can have positive benefit. Walter said the stability of small businesses is directly tied to support for public investment in the communities they serve. “There’s a ripple effect through the economy,� he said. “When folks don’t have money in their pockets, they’re not going to spend it in local businesses.�


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February 2012

BBJPEOPLE Who’s news in Bellingham & Whatcom business Krzysiek new partner at Zervas Andrew Krzysiek has been named a partner at Zervas Group Architects in Bellingham. Krzysiek has worked most of the last 12 years at Zervas Group Architects as a project manager/architect, performing all phases of design, plus construction administration. He spearheaded design of two of the first Andrew LEED Gold-certified Krzysiek buildings in Whatcom County: the Whatcom Educational Credit Union Loan Center in Bellingham and the WECU Ferndale branch. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a “green building� certification system. Krzysiek also designed the new Lynden City Hall and currently is working with the

Jansen Foundation on its adaptive reuse of the former Lynden City Hall as a center for the arts. He holds a bachelor of architecture degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich.

Baumgartner joins Baron Telecom Jill Baumgartner has joined Baron Telecommunications as accounting manager. Baumgartner brings 20 years of accounting and management experience to the position. Her specialties include financial statements and analysis. Baumgartner and her husband enjoy raising their two teenage daughters and “experiencing the beautiful Northwest Jill Baumgartner sunsets with a good glass of wine.�





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Jager honored for life’s work Duane Jager, executive director of the nonprofit ReUse Works, received a lifetime acheivement award from Sustainable Connections at the organization’s annual All Members Meeting and Potluck on Jan. 12. Community Food Co-op, North Fork Brewery, Assembly Plus and Chuckanut Builders also received sustainability awards for being leaders in areas of promoting strong community, healthy environment, meaningful employment and buying local first, respectively. “We are thrilled about the outstanding leadership of these businesses,� said Abby Hade Terpstra, membership assistant at Sustainable Connections, in a

PEOPLE | FROM 4 Briggmin joins tourism bureau Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism has hired Tony Briggmin, an award-winning sportswriter and newspaper designer, as its new marketing coordinator. Briggman takes over after leaving his position as assistant

Tony Briggmin

press release. “It is a pleasure to share their success stories and they are most deserving of this recognition.� Jager, who previously served on the board of directors for Sustainable Connections, was credited for his commitment and service to his community through involvement in many different events and projects.

sports editor at The Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho. “I look forward to utilizing Tony’s exceptional writing, graphic design and marketing skills in our tourism promotion activities,� said Loni Rahm, president and CEO of the tourism agency, in a Jan. 12 press release. Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Briggmin graduated from Kent State University. He first moved to Whatcom County in 1997. Before working in Boise, he spent 13 years with The Bellingham Herald and Whatcom Magazine.

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Dorie Belisle, BelleWood Acres co-owner, stands with Jake Fowler, who will be the the new distillery’s manager. The site, still under construction, is projected to open by Memorial Day. The distillery is located on the BelleWood Acres apple farm and will produce spirits using the apples grown on location. Vodka, gin and whiskey are all set to be produced at the distillery, Fowler said. The location will also feature, among other amenities, a deli and a bakery.

to the state Liquor Control Board. The board defines a craft distillery as one that produces less than 20,000 gallons of spirits annually and gets at least half of its ingredients from Washington-based producers. Before the state was voted out of the liquor business, craft distillers sold their products to state-run stores. In December, the


February 2012 board began allowing distillers to sell their products in small amounts directly to customers. However, distillers will not be able to sell large volumes to licensed retailers until March 1. Coupled with the loss of business from state stores no longer purchasing craft products as they prepare to close by next summer, the distribution models of larger craft distilleries in the state are in jeopardy. Whatcom County’s

distilleries may avoid the turmoil, since none of the three will open before March. Each of them also plans to operate tasting rooms and sell directly to customers before branching out and potentially selling to restaurants and other retailers. Smith said while he didn’t think the authors of I-1183 understood how the measure could impact craft distillers, the changes will likely not affect Mount Baker Distillery. “We have the benefit of starting fresh with new laws,� Smith said.

Chuckanut Bay’s local connection

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Kelly Andrews and Matt Howell, co-owners of Chuckanut Bay Distillery, were not sure how the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s liquor laws would eventually work out. Howell, who will manage Chuckanut Bayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s production, said he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worried about the initiativeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s effect on his ability to produce spirits for both customers and large retailers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be an interesting learning process,â&#x20AC;? Howell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Parts of the law seem ambiguous or just kind of convoluted, so weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll just have to figure it out.â&#x20AC;? The projected opening date for Chuckanut Bay Distillery is set for mid-tolate March, Howell said. The distillery will produce vodka, gin and eventually whiskey, all of which will be sold in a tasting room adjacent to the distilling facility in the alley behind Railroad Avenue next to the Boundary Bay Breweryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beer garden. Howell said they are installing a 150-gallon pot still, which was designed in Canada. Andrews said theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to add versions of spirits with seasonal ingredients from local farmers in their future product line. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the advantages of being small is youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re more nimble to create limited runs of things, to do some experimentation,â&#x20AC;? Andrews said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We hope to do that.â&#x20AC;? Sustainable production is a major component of the distillery. Howell and Andrews said they are working with the Cascade Community Wind Company to eventually make Chuckanut Bay Distillery completely wind powered. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If we can just create something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sustainable, utilizing the things we have here, that kind of speak of Northwest â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

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February 2012

DISTILL | FROM 6 Bellingham specifically – then it’s great,” Howell said. Andrews said the distillery was designed to have to a strong Bellingham connection. They hope to eventually sell to local restaurants and be active in community events.

At BelleWood Acres In the 12,000-square-foot building under construction at BelleWood Acres, the farm’s distillery will eventually produce apple-based spirits including vodka, brandy and gin. Jake Fowler, who will manage the distillery’s operation, said his focus is to create spirits rich in flavor that are





7 easy to drink on their own. “We don’t want to give our customers firewater,” Fowler said. “We want drinks that are special.” Fowler said the distillery, along with the rest of the building that will include retail space, a deli and bakery and community rooms that can be rented out or used for classes, will hopefully open by Memorial Day in May. The distillery will include an attached tasting room with a window allowing customers to drink and watch the distillation process as it happens. BelleWood will utilize one 250-gallon still mainly for vodka and a second 150-gallon still for specialty spirits fused with various flavors. Both

stills are manufactured in Kentucky. Dorie Belisle, who owns BelleWood along with her husband John Belisle, said they have been thinking about opening a distillery for about six years. The farm is well known for its apples and apple cider, and also grows produce including pumpkins, pears and squash. Producing spirits will give BelleWood unique products with stable shelf lives that can be sold to customers during any time of the year, Belisle said. “We’ve always liked the idea of having people on our farm year-round,” Belisle said. “We’re actually hoping this will be a real community distillery and farm. We’re excited about the whole possibility.”


Chuckanut Bay Distillery owners Kelly Andrews (left) and Matt Howell stand outside their new distillery located at 1115 Railroad Ave. They hope to open by the end of March and will produce vodka, gin and whiskey.

Reader’s Choice Awards 2012 Ballot The Bellingham Business Journal

Best new business: Best customer service: Best place for a latté: Best place to take your significant other for dinner: Best place to workout: Most community-minded company:

Lisa Janicki, Chief Financial Officer Janicki Industries, Sedro-Woolley

Best real estate agent: Most environmentally responsible business: Best place for a quick business lunch: 2011 Business Person of the Year:

Our State’s Business Climate is Tough.

Best business sign or logo:

But you can do something about it.

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All across Washington state, employers and business owners are adjusting to the new economy, eagerly anticipating a recovery. They’re doing their fair share by cutting costs, innovating — even retooling — to retain and create jobs.

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Any hope of a sustained recovery rests with private sector job growth — a critical piece to solving our state’s significant, recurring budget woes.

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Lawmakers must take particular care not to jeopardize a restart of our economy by piling additional tax and regulatory costs on employers. Policymakers should instead be considering incentives that will help retain and recruit employers and jobs.

If you had $1,000,000 to give to a local nonprofit, which organization would you choose?

That’s why AWB is encouraging members to contribute to a media campaign that will build greater support for employers, and job creation, across the state. We can’t control the ups and downs of our economy. But we can promote a more business-friendly climate in Washington state. Your contribution will help ensure your voice is heard clearly in Olympia.

Your Name:



To help ensure your voice is heard in Olympia, visit and click on “We Mean Business.”

Ballots must be received by Friday, February 17. Results will be published in the March issue of The Bellingham Business Journal.


MAIL OR DROP OFF YOUR ENTRY: The Bellingham Business Journal 1321 King St., Ste. 4, Bellingham, WA 98229 OR FAX TO: (360) 647-0502 OR EMAIL TO:


PO Box 658, Olympia, WA 98507-0658



February 2012



With the completion of The Habitat Storeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new warehouse, staff and volunteers are hoping to attract customers looking to not just furnish their homes, but also to remodel or even build them from the ground up. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;man caveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; next door,â&#x20AC;? Habitatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s volunteer coordinator Jaime Arnett said. The 6,000-square-foot warehouse, located right beside the store at 1385 Admiral Place in Ferndale, opened Jan. 28. It sells donated building and home-remodeling materials including tiles, toilets, sinks, flooring and windows. The Habitat Store, which opened September 2009, is operated by Habitat for Humanity Whatcom County. John P.C. Moon, Habitatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s executive director, said the organization receives regular offers for building-material donations, but the donations donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always suit the needs of Habitatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house-building projects. The warehouse provides people with another opportunity to support the organization, Moon said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a way to accept the gifts and keep the donors connected to our mission,â&#x20AC;? he said. The nonprofit, which is affiliated with Habitat for Humanity International but

The Habitat Store accepts a wide array of donations including appliances no more than 10 years old, cabinets, counter tops, home decor items, desks, dishes, doors, electronics, flooring, hardware, roofing materials, shutters and windows. Donations should be in good working order and require no repairs. The store is located at 1385 Admiral Place in Ferndale. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A full list of accepted donations and information on volunteer opportunities can be found at operates independently, has built 32 homes for families in need since its founding in 1987. It plans to build between two and four more by 2013, Moon said. Moon said the eventual goal is to have the proceeds from store sales cover the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s overhead costs. Arnett said the store operates with a sixperson volunteer staff. The nonprofit also employs five full-time positions. Furniture, particularly couches, recliners


Habitatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s volunteer coordinator Jaime Arnett shows off the storeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new warehouse with John P.C. Moon, Habitatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s executive director. The building, located beside the original store at 1385 Admiral Place in Ferndale, was described by Arnett as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;man cave.â&#x20AC;? and end tables, is the storeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest seller, she said. Volunteer Tyla Reeves, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been on the staff since June 2011, said the store is a great place to find used furniture, especially for people starting out in a new home or apartment. Reeves said she handles a variety of tasks as a volunteer, including helping with furniture pickups, handling sales and pricing items. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a fun environment,â&#x20AC;? Reeves said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like meeting the families that come in.â&#x20AC;? The Habitat Store prices donated items at about 50 percent retail value. Arnett said prices on unsold items are marked down every six weeks they remain on the showroom floor. On the final Saturday of each month, the store holds a major discount sale. The sales are very popular with local bargain hunters, Arnett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We literally have people waiting at the door at 9 a.m. to get their prizes,â&#x20AC;? she said. Moon said Habitatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main purpose is to try to alleviate poverty by providing stable housing. The organization does not give away homes. Instead, Habitat homes are sold to families at cost and financed with zeropercent mortgages. Families make $500 down payments, put 500 hours of labor toward their homes and

make monthly mortgage payments, according to the nonprofitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even though it works one family at a time, it really does work to bring that family out of poverty,â&#x20AC;? Moon said. Families are selected by the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s board of directors based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to make mortgage payments. The international Habitat for Humanity organization was founded as a Christian housing ministry in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Although it is a Christian ministry, Habitat builds homes for families of all faiths and accepts volunteers of all beliefs and backgrounds, according to groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website. Arnett said there are many opportunities for volunteers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People come to volunteer for so many different reasons,â&#x20AC;? Arnett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever been out to a build site, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just magical.â&#x20AC;? Emily Wagnitz, Habitatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s publicist, said the experience is positive for both the families and volunteers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Working with a small group of people doing a really big thing, you really get to see what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing,â&#x20AC;? Wagnitz said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We get to know these families that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re helping.â&#x20AC;? Moon agreed, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It just creates a lot of warm, fuzzy moments.â&#x20AC;?

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February 2012

FINDING VALUE 8PSLFSTMFBSOJOHOFXTLJMMTBU"QQMJBODF%FQPU BY EVAN MARCZYNSKI Donations to Appliance Depot have dropped significantly in recent months, so new director Thoren Rogers has actually started telling people: Stop recycling. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is risky,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But it grabs the attention.â&#x20AC;? Rogers took over the director position in January after joining the depot as a job coach and operations manager in 2007. Appliance Depot opened in September 2005 as a project of ReUse Works, a nonprofit organization that promotes job training and business development for low-income people. The depot, located at 802 Marine Drive in Bellingham, salvages, repairs and sells used appliances. Through partnerships with community agencies such as the Opportunity Council and WorkSource, it also provides part-time job training to about 40 people each year. Rogers said his biggest task as he starts 2012 is finding more sources for used appliances. Duane Jager, ReUse Works executive director, said many local retailers offer customers free pickup and recycling of old

appliances, which gives people less incentive to donate used washing machines, dryers and ranges. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re having to convince consumers to take that extra step to call us,â&#x20AC;? Jager said. Rogers said Appliance Depot teaches people both â&#x20AC;&#x153;softâ&#x20AC;? job skills, including coming to work on time, dressing appropriately, staying on task and accurately maintaining time cards, as well as â&#x20AC;&#x153;hardâ&#x20AC;? skills such as customer service, working with tools and stripping parts out of appliances. Trainees come from all walks-of-life, Rogers said. The depot works with teenagers who support families, single moms, people with learning disabilities and unemployed workers seeking new skills. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re one of the only places locally that does labor-oriented training,â&#x20AC;? Rogers said. Jager said Appliance Depot provides trainees with recent work history and a job reference, both vital for unemployed people searching for jobs. Depot technician Steve Ellis said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rewarding to see trainees develop new skills and experience they can use to better their careers and provide for their families. He also likes the fact that Appliance


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Above: ReUse Works executive director Duane Jager stands with Appliance Depotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new director Thoren Rogers in the depotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s receiving and maintenence area on Jan. 24. Left: Technician Steve Ellis hangs parts while working on repairing a donated washing machine. Depot can offer refurbished appliances, which are expensive to purchase brand new, to customers at low prices. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I feel like weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re actually saving people money,â&#x20AC;? Ellis said. Kelli Carter, the depotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office and sales manager, started out as a trainee three years ago cleaning out donated appliances. She said she has managed to work her way up with help from the training program. One of her favorite jobs is helping local artists track down used parts for sculptures and various art projects. The depot is a creative and friendly place to work, she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the first business thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s given me a chance to learn new job skills,â&#x20AC;? Carter said.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a headache to come to work.â&#x20AC;? Artwork built out of used appliances and appliance parts dots the store and parking lot. As customers pull into the depot, they are welcomed by a large pink metal hippo and a multicolored, vaguely humanoid robot with crazy-looking eyes and a blue bow tie. The showroom looks much like any appliance showroom, with refurbished washers and dryers lined in rows and a sales counter near the back. The workshop is a maze of gutted appliances and machinery. Various parts, tools,


February 2012


APPLIANCES | FROM 10 pipes and rubber hoses hang from ceilings or sit on tall blue shelves. Yellow lines mark walkways, and workbenches are situated on the room’s outer edges. Appliance Depot celebrates its quirky nature with the Appliance Art Revival, an annual fundraiser typically held the first weekend in June. Teams build derby carts out of used appliance parts and race them down the streets of downtown Bellingham. The depot also holds an appliance art auction. As the new director, Rogers will take over the event’s coordination. He said artwork was a great way to promote the style of creative reuse that Appliance Depot thrives on. Rogers, a lifelong Whatcom County resident, graduated from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University in 2003 with a degree in sociology and media studies. He has worked in job training and community service for 13 years. Jager, who was also the depot’s previous director, said Rogers’ experience at the store made him an easy pick to take over. “He pretty much demonstrated he was running the show,” Jager said. “He was obviously the heir apparent.” The job comes with many challenges. Jager said they would really like to work with local dealers to refurbish used appliances rather then send them to recycling centers. Appliance Depot will never rival the sales of retail stores, Rogers said, so he needs to convince dealers the depot is not competition. Funding cuts to jobtraining placement agencies also impact the depot. The agencies pay the wages of trainees, who work anywhere from one to 30 hours per week. Jager said this helps Appliance Depot keep its operating costs low. However, more cuts means a smaller pool of money to pay trainees’ wages. Rogers said with high unemployment, community job-training programs are vital to get people back to work. “There’s no shortage of folks who need to be in a program like this,” Rogers said. “There’s just a shortage of places for them to go.”

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BBJDATA Business information in the public record BUSINESS LICENSES Little One’s Beverage, Vesla A. Kazimer, 4808 Mosquito Lake Rd., Deming, WA 98244

NRC Environmental Services, NRC Environmental Services Inc, 9520 10th Ave S #150, Seattle, WA 98108

Oshkosh Truck Corporation, Oshkosh Truck Corporation, 2307 Oregon St., Oshkosk, WI 54903

Pacific Utility Contractors, Pacific Utility Contractors Inc., 1914 64th St. W, Fircrest, WA 98466 Look at the Land, Look at the Land Inc., 1201 Raymond St., Bellingham, WA 98229 Elana A. English, Elana A. English, 2535 Crescent St., Ferndale, WA 98248 Craft T 1’s, Jones & Young, 3616 Home Rd., Bellingham, WA 98225 State Street Bar, Beaver Inc., 1315 N State St., Bellingham, WA 98225 Potts Law, Timothy C. Potts 220 W Champion St.#260, Bellingham, WA 98225

Horizon Homes NW, Horizon Homes NW Inc. 2029 Mercedes Dr., Lynden, WA 98264

Throne Room Pedals, Throne Room Pedals LLC 877 E McLeod Rd, Bellingham, WA 98226

Deborah M. Benz MD, Deborah M. Benz, 4280 Meridian St. #120, Bellingham, WA 98226

Caldera Archaelogy, Caldera Archaelogy LLC, 1155 N State St. #428, Bellingham, WA 98225 Kulshan Farm, Kulshan Farms LLC, 2892 E Smith Rd., Bellingham, WA 98226

American Medicinal Arts, American Medicinal Arts LLC, 3209 Pinewood Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225 Toby A. Everhart, Toby A. Everhart, 1229 Cornwall Ave. #209, Bellingham, WA 98225 Haven Arborists, Charles

R. Crouch, 1316 23rd St., Bellingham, WA 98225 J J’s In & Out, Sajjan Inc. 107 E Holly St., Bellingham, WA 98225

Forging Designs, Timothy W. Alexander3968 Bancroft Rd., Bellingham, WA 98225

Michelle D. Losie Attorney at Law, Michelle

Dynamic Restoration Physical Therapy, Dynamic

D. Losie 911 36th St., Bellingham, WA 98229

Restoration Physical Therapy 3011 Kulshan St., Bellingham, WA 98225

Happy Hour Social Media, Terence P. Klein, 504 Darby Dr. #310, Bellingham, WA 98226

Body Waves Massage,

Sustainable Solutions,

Sheryl D. Correll, 115 Unity St. #202, Bellingham, WA 98225 Audio Visions, Audio Visions Inc., 1 Bellis Fair Pkwy, Bellingham, WA 98226

Daniel V. Pike, 506 Cypress Rd., Bellingham, WA 98225 Right Foot PC, Ryan T. Shupe, 2335 Vining St., Bellingham, WA 98229

North Sound Energy & Remodel, North Sound

Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance, Brown & Brown of

Energy Remodel LLC, 112 Ohio St. #214, Bellingham, WA 98225

Washington Inc. 2115 Barkley Blvd #201, Bellingham, WA 98226

Foresight Consulting,

Birchwood Automotive Center, Boogey’s Automotive

Foresight Consulting Inc., 509 Clark Rd., Bellingham, WA 98225 Wizard Electric, Wizard Electric Inc., 1850 13th Ave. NE #1, Bellevue, WA 98005

Wild Hare Drum School, Ryan D. Hare, 1012 W Holly St., Bellingham, WA 98225 Laws of Music, The, Westley T. Laws, 2105 F St. #103, Bellingham, WA 98225

Greenberry Industrial, Greenberry Industrial LLC, 2 Centerpointe Dr. #580, Lake Oswego, OR 97035 Living Earth Herbs, Living Earth Herbs LP, 1530 Cornwall Ave. #102, Bellingham, WA 98225

Bare Advanced Speed Waxing & Skincare, Jessica D. Benson, 112 Grand Ave. #E, Bellingham, WA 98225 Ron Cubellis CPA, Ronald A. Cubellis, 2324 Grant St., Bellingham, WA 98225

Center for Vibrant Life, The, The Center for Vibrant Life LLC1337 Lincoln St. #3, Bellingham, WA 98229 Dashtronix, Dashtronix LLC, 3637 Mandarin Ct., Bellingham, WA 98226 Dream Clean Team, Marilyn A. Gill, 306 Willow Ct. N, Bellingham, WA 98225

Inc., 1601 Birchwood Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225

Blue Ribbon Steel Buildings, Blue Ribbon Steel Buildings Inc., 335 E Blackburn Rd., Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Whatcom Pedicab Authority, Michael P. Geerts , 60345 State Route 20, Marblemount, WA 98267

Puget Sound Utility Services, Puget Sound Utility Services Inc., 690 Reanna Pl., Burlington, WA 98233

Muse Design Studio, Desirae L. Hill,1119 N State St. #301, Bellingham, WA 98225 Sacred Time, Totally Divine Video Editing,103 E Holly St. #407, Bellingham, WA 98225

LIQUOR LICENSES NEW APPLICATIONS Fred Meyer, Fred Meyer Stores, Inc., applied to sell spirits at 800 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA 98225. Filed Jan. 24.

Old Fairhaven Wines, Baetz LLC, April N., Chris F. and Sean P. Baetz applied to sell beer/wine at 1106 Harris Ave Ste. 4, Bellingham, WA 98225. Filed Jan. 13 Homeskillet, 107Below Inc., Kirby and Tina White applied

to serve beer/wine at 521 Kentucky St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Filed Jan. 11. Liberty #914, Davis Ind., Michael J., Nathan M. and Steffi L. Davis applied to sell beer/ wine at 5927 Guide Meridian, Bellingham, WA 98226. Filed Jan. 6. The Green Frog, Green Frog Cafe LLC, Nathen E. Carlson, James L. Hardesty and Thomas L. Morisset applied to serve beer/wine/spirits at 1015 N. Ntate St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Filed Dec. 29. JJ’s In and Out, Sajjan Inc., and Sanjay Chanan applied to sell beer/wine at at 107 E. Holly St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Filed Dec 29.

City Grill, Futian Wang and Xiuyan Lu applied to serve beer/wine at 1319 Cornwall Ave Ste 102, Bellingham, WA 98225. Filed Dec. 28.

RECENTLY APPROVED Bluefin Sushi #2 at 102 S Samish Way, Ste 105, Bellingham, WA 98225 has been approved to serve beer/ wine. Approved Jan. 12.

Hong Kong Garden Restaurant at 2527 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA 98225 has been approved to serve beer/wine. Approved Dec. 28.

DISCONTINUED Welcome Grocery Store at 5565 Mt. Baker Hwy,

Deming, WA 98224 has been discontinued as a direct shipment receiver. Discontinued Jan. 5.

The Preserve Tea Lounge & Spa at 4220 Meridian St, Ste 104, Bellingham, WA 98226 has been discontinued as a beer/wine server. Discontinued Jan. 4.

For more public notices, see the Bellingham Business Journal online at


February 2012

DIVING IN /FX5VCCT5BWFSOPQFOT XJUIPVUQSFUFOTF BY EVAN MARCZYNSKI â&#x20AC;&#x153;Revive the dive.â&#x20AC;? Some bartenders might get upset seeing this phrase scribbled on their freshly painted bathroom walls. But at Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tavern, when staff noticed a customer had left this three-word message behind, they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take offense. They put it on T-shirts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We wanted to make a dump,â&#x20AC;? owner Dave Campbell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The great American dive bar is something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going out the door.â&#x20AC;? Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, located at 118 W. Holly St., opened in December. Campbell chose the spot, which used to be home to the Three Trees Coffeehouse, in order to bridge the gap left by a downtown Bellingham bar scene situated on opposite ends of Holly Street. Jessika Bowman, the barâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beer tender, described Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as simply a dark hole to drink beer in. She said the staff has already been getting to know regulars two months after opening. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really homey. Everyone that comes in, we talk to them and we know them,â&#x20AC;?

Bowman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a cozy, clean dive.â&#x20AC;? Inside, beer posters and neon signs fill Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s burnt orange walls. An air hockey table is tucked inside a small alcove near the front and a Big Buck Hunter pinball machine sits right at the entrance. Booths and tables against both walls lead to an L-shaped bar in the back. Customer Nate Justice said he prefers places like Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s over more upscale bars and dance clubs. The new bar is a perfect fit for downtown Bellingham, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like these little dives where you can just chill and have beer with your buddies,â&#x20AC;? Justice said. His friend Dennis Hayes agreed. The bar has a relaxed atmosphere and great selection of beers, Hayes said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It suits our rock-n-roll lifestyle,â&#x20AC;? he said. Beer variety is a major component to Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Campbell said. A genuine love for beer was a main reason Campbell decided to open the bar in the first place. Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s has close to 40 different selections, both bottled and on tap. Along with beers such as Miller High Life and Pabst, it also serves a wide selection of Northwest microbrews including the


Above: Beer tender Jessika Bowman pours a Rainer beer, one of many beers available to customers at the new Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tavern. Left: Patrons, from left, Nate Justice, 21, Dennis Hayes, 23 and Dylan Gillies, 21, each said they enjoy the new locationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;diveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; atmosphere. Pike Brewing Company, Ninkasi Brewing Company and Georgetown Brewing Company, makers of Mannyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pale Ale. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re really active for introducing beers,â&#x20AC;? Campbell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When a keg blows, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not going to be back for awhile.â&#x20AC;? Campbell said he has plans to possibly offer other types of alcohol, such as whiskey, in the future. For now, he and his staff are happy settling in and getting to know the people who come in for a drink. The bar holds a karaoke night every Wednesday, and the staff is considering organizing future trivia nights. But aside from the beer and the customeroriented attitude, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the laid-back character

that makes the bar unique, Campbell said. Dive bars, which Campbell said have been a part of American culture for generations, provide a simple, easygoing atmosphere welcoming to everyone. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that exact atmosphere he wants Tubbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to bring out, from its dark-lit interior and always-revolving beer offerings all the way down to the slogan, fittingly provided by a passing customer: Revive the dive. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want everybody to feel comfortable,â&#x20AC;? Campbell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to wear a miniskirt, you can wear sweat pants and Pumas and everyone will think youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re awesome.â&#x20AC;? Additional reporting by BBJ intern Brian Corey

A turning of the petals at Bellinghamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Belle Flora +BOJDF0CFSH#BSSFUUSFĂ˝FDUTPOZFBSTBTPXOFS BY EVAN MARCZYNSKI Janice Oberg-Barrett has been surrounded by flowers her entire life. Now, after 42 years as the owner of Belle Flora, a flower and home decor shop at 1201 N. State St. in Bellingham, the Whatcom County florist is retiring. Oberg-Barrett, 63, sold her business in November 2011 to new owner Starlene Cook-Stockmann of Camano Island. Belle Flora will still be the same store customers have known for more than four decades, Cook-Stockmann said. All the designers will remain, and business should continue as usual, she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The designers here are awesome,â&#x20AC;? CookStockmann said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They know what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing, and they know their customers.â&#x20AC;? In her long career, Oberg-Barrett has overseen major changes in her store and has adapted to shifting trends and demands in the floral industry. She said she always enjoyed the variety of her day-to-day work schedule, but simply working with flowers was her biggest joy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You cannot duplicate the smell of a

flower shop. That Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll miss,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In one day you could be doing three or four major events in peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lives, you never knew when you went through that door. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why I loved it.â&#x20AC;? Oberg-Barrettt bought the shop in 1970 from her parents, Alex and Pearl Gitts. At that time, the business was located in Ferndale and known as Red Top Floral and Nursery. Oberg-Barrett said she inherited her love of flowers from her parents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just grew up rolling ribbons into mud puddles and running through greenhouses,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was my life then.â&#x20AC;? Taking on the family business at 21 years old was difficult enough, she said, but establishing herself as a young female business owner in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;70s was a bigger uphill battle. She said banks wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give her a credit card due to her age and gender. Her father had to co-sign the $7,500 loan she used to buy the shop from him and her mother. She struggled to be taken seriously in an era when small-business ownership was dominated by men, she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had my business, but it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter because I was a woman,â&#x20AC;? Oberg-Barrett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That bothered me.â&#x20AC;?


Belle Floraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new owner Starlene Cook-Stockmann (left) stands with previous owner Janice Oberg-Barrett (center) and store manager Tatum Brown. Cook-Stockmann bought the store in November 2011, and says customers will see business as usual. She found success as a florist, establishing renown as a talented designer with heed for personal service and quality products. Oberg-Barrett said keeping her customers happy was the key to her success. As a florist, it was vital to design arrangements that catered to each person individually, she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you have one person unhappy, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll tell 10 people,â&#x20AC;? Oberg-Barrett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It can really hurt your reputation.â&#x20AC;?

In 1986, she moved the store from Ferndale into a building on Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, which was formerly used as a fast-food restaurant. The unusual setting served a useful purpose. Oberg-Barrett was able to sell both flowers and coffee to customers through the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drive-up window. She moved the shop to its current location


February 2012


Data-Link West Bella Flora store manager Tatum Brown puts together a bouquet on Jan. 16. The store can be an outlet for artistic talent, she said. BRIAN COREY PHOTO

BELLE FLORA | FROM 14 on the ground floor of the Daylight Building on State Street in 2000. The new spot gave the store more space and a more positive ambiance, Oberg-Barrett said. The move also brought a name change. Red Top had always referenced the Ferndale intersection her parents’ original store was once located on. Oberg-Barrett said she just couldn’t picture the same name on a store in downtown Bellingham. With help from her longtime store manager Lois Woolcock, she decided on Belle Flora: belle, a French word for beautiful, and flora, Italian for flowers. The store sits in the corner of the Daylight Building, with large glass windows facing State and Chestnut streets. On bright hardwood floors, various tables laid with home decor items fit into the front end, with a flora design and packaging work area situated in the rear. Cook-Stockmann said she was enamored with the store when she first toured it in August 2011. “I love it. I want it. This store is me,” CookStockmann said. “That is what I was thinking.” As a former bookkeeper and partial-owner of Bristol Bay Contractors in King Salmon, Alaska, CookStockmann said she wanted to return to the floral business. She previously owned the now-closed Huckleberry House floral shop in Long Beach, Wash., which she sold 10 years ago. Cook-Stockmann said Oberg-Barrett had a great mix of charm, energy and business sense. “She’s very vivacious and active and bright and sparkly,” she said. “But at the same time, she’s a strong business woman.” Oberg-Barrett said her



experienced staff deserve a lot of credit for the shop’s success. Knowing the people who work for you, learning to delegate and being willing to devote as much as your own time and energy as possible are keys to owning a small business, she said. Store manager Tatum Brown said Oberg-Barrett maintained close friendships with her employees. Brown said the day-today work flow at Belle Flora has given her many opportunities to be creative.

“There’s always something different,” Brown said. “It allows for an artistic outlet.” Oberg-Barrett said the future was bright for local floral shops. Even with increasing competition from discount floral sections in large grocery stores, Oberg-Barrett said she thinks there will always be demand for stores such as Belle Flora. “People are always going to want a local florist,” she said. “They want quality.”

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February 2012

Bellingham Business Journal, February 05, 2012  

February 05, 2012 edition of the Bellingham Business Journal

Bellingham Business Journal, February 05, 2012  

February 05, 2012 edition of the Bellingham Business Journal