Archive for November, 2010
Bistro on Magnolia Street now has its liquor license approved and is serving cocktails and wine. The restaurant opened last month and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in the former Nona Rosa’s Ristorante space near the Magnolia Street and Railroad Avenue intersection.
For the latest restaurant in a retail center along Northwest Avenue, it’s very much about family.
In November Fernando Lopez opened El Amigo Mexican Restaurant at 3040 Northwest Ave., in the shopping center across from Yeager’s Sporting Goods. In getting it opened and operating, he’s had help from several family members, including his wife Guillermina Lopez, his brother Apuleyo and his sister-in-law, Natalia. The Lopez family spent more than three months remodeling the space, formerly home to Cinco De Mayo Restaurant, installing tiles, hand-made booths and repainting the interior areas, said Natalia Lopez.
“(The remodel) was more than we expected, but we’re excited about getting open,” Natalia Lopez said.
When Icicle Seafoods closed its Bellingham facility earlier this year, effectively laying Fernando Lopez off from that position, he decided to put the money he had saved into the restaurant. The restaurant’s name is also Fernando Lopez’s nickname.
Natalia has worked at a variety of Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood, including Gloria’s when it was in the retail center. When the space was Gloria’s, she said the neighborhood was very supportive, so when Fernando was looking for a place to open a restaurant, she recommended that center.
El Amigo represents the third restaurant opening in that retail center in the past year, the others being Stone Pot and Super Mario’s. Combined with longtime restaurants La Patisserie and Village Inn Pub & Eatery, the center is now dominated by restaurants.
“It’s good to see things are coming back,” Natalia Lopez said. “There are already a lot of people in this neighborhood that come into this restaurant regularly.”
Lunches are generally in the $6 to $8 range, while dinners are in the $7 to $15 range. It is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For further details, call 360-733-3116 or click this (link) .
Further details will be posted on the main page later tonight and in tomorrow’s paper, but here are some of the basics:
Joe Lallas and Emily Mallahan have teamed up to start Mayberry Sporting Goods & Fountain at 1827 Cornwall Ave., in the former Sunshine Liquidators space near Bellingham High School. Remodeling of the 11,000-square-foot space is getting under way and they plan to have it opened on Tuesday, Feb. 1.
Lallas describes it as a community store carrying a wide-range of carrying products, including fishing, hunting, camping, athletic equipment, toys, work clothes, work shoes as well as rustic and country décor. There will also be fountain deli area, serving lunch and dessert items, including sandwiches, old-fashion milkshakes and smoothies. In the back area will be community rooms for seminars and meetings. They are also looking for someone to operate an old-fashioned barber shop inside the building.
“We want to do things like the way it used to be,” said Lallas, who will be the store’s general manager, while Mallahan is the owner. “We want to do things like introduce kids to a good old-fashioned banana split or a hot fudge sundae.”
Lallas said they want fishing to be a big part of the retail store, one people can rely on to find a variety of products. They also plan to host seminars about local fishing and other outdoor sports. The store won’t be selling firearms, but will be selling other hunting supplies and offering firearm safety classes.
Whatcom County’s foreclosure rate hit a new high in September while the delinquency rate leveled off, according to a new national report.
The rate of foreclosures among outstanding Whatcom County mortgages was 1.3 percent last month, up from 1.13 percent in August and the high-est monthly total since at least January 2009, according to CoreLogic, a real estate data and analytics company. In January 2009, the earliest available monthly information from CoreLogic, Whatcom’s foreclosure rate was 0.68 percent.
While continuing to trend higher, Whatcom’s foreclosure rate remains below the state and national average, which were 2 percent and 3.29 percent respectively in September.
The number of mortgages more than 90 days delinquent in Whatcom County was 3.89 percent in September, down from 3.9 percent in August. Washington’s delinquency rate for the same period was 5.82 percent, while the national rate was 7.84 percent.
The percentage of loans not sold at auction and returned to the lender in September was 0.24 percent in Whatcom County, the highest monthly rate since at least January 2009. The state real estate owned rate was 0.4 percent, while the national rate was 0.7 percent.
With its midnight openings on Black Friday, Whatcom County appeared to have more people out-and-about on Nov. 26, a trend reflected across the U.S. Here’s a press release from the National Retail Federation giving some details about the shopping event:
I ventured out with hundreds of other people to see how the earlier starts of Black Friday (some stores opened at 12:01 a.m.; usually openings don’t start until 4 a.m.) went over with shoppers. Below is the story I filed, which will be posted on the main news page later this morning. A few other random thoughts not included in the article:
– The main demographic I saw in the midnight openings were people in their teens, 20s and early 30s. It seemed the gender split was about 50/50.
– Maybe it was just by chance, but I ended up talking to a lot of first-timers to the Black Friday experience. Many of them were Whatcom residents who decided this was the year they would check it out.
– With the midnight openings, it seemed like there was a lot of browsing at the mall, while the majority of Wal-Mart shoppers seemed to know exactly what they wanted got in check-out lines quickly.
– Roads were in good shape; temperatures rose just in time to turn the ice into slush.
Here’s the rest of the story….
Don’t have all the details yet, but here’s some from the state liquor license application:
A new liquor license application has been submitted to the state for a restaurant at the former Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits building at 207 N. Samish Way. The restaurant’s name is El Agave and applicant is Marin Tirado.
For those not into the frenzied atmosphere of early-morning Black Friday shopping, there are other options for those who still want to get an early start on the holiday list.
Fairhaven will have its annual Holiday Walk About on 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27.
More than 20 retailers will be offering artist demonstrations, live music contests and treats, said Annette Bagley of the Old Fairhaven Association. An official holiday lighting event will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26.
“Shopping and dining in Fairhaven on Black Friday is all about having a leisurely and heartwarming experience at an enjoyable pace,” she said.
One of the artists featured at this event is Ben Mann, who will be working on a painting at A Lot of Flowers on Nov. 26.
“Having the artists explain how they do their work is a fun opportunity for people; it’s become a very popular event,” Bagley said.
Downtown Bellingham retailers will focus its holiday event at the art walk event, held 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3. Called the Winter Win-dow Walk, businesses will put together special window displays and hosting other events. Holiday brochures showing participants and activities will be available next week at participating businesses, at the downtown visitor center at 1304 Cornwall Ave. or at downtownbellingham.com.
Throughout downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven it’ll also be Buy Local Week, with more than 200 businesses offering deals to raise the awareness of independent businesses. Buy Local Week, put on by Sustainable Connections, runs from Nov. 26 to Dec. 5.
Here are some interesting things I found in the Bellingham building permits:
– The sandwich shop Subway has had its tenant improvement building permit approved for a new store at 21 Bellwether Way, in the new building where CH2M Hill resides.
– A sign permit has been approved for Brinderson, an engineering firm that is at 905 Squalicum Parkway (in the business park near the sports fields). The company focuses on oil and gas production projects.
– The Children’s Place, a children’s clothing store that has outlets in malls south of Whatcom County, has applied for a tenant improvement permit to move into Bellis Fair. Here’s the (link) to the company website. According to the building permit, it’s going into the Macy’s wing.
– At Bakerview Square, there’s a tenant improvement permit application for a company called Power Fitness.
Here’s a blurb directly from the National Retail Federation, which came out with its latest survey about Black Friday:
Talk of discounted toys, e-readers, appliances and even HDTVs has millions of Americans already mapping out their Black Friday plans and filling out their wish lists. According to a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey, conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGresearch, up to 138 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), higher than the 134 million people who planned to do so last year. According to the survey, approximately 60 million people say they will definitely hit the stores while another 78 million are waiting to see if the bargains are worth braving the cold and the crowds.
“The rules for Black Friday have changed significantly,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Instead of waiting until Thanksgiving Day to announce their promotions, many retailers are getting shoppers excited about Black Friday by offering sneak peeks of deals in advance, using social media to create buzz, or teasing upcoming deals on their websites.”