Posts Tagged Bellingham

Community Co-op Connection building – materials to live on

coop connections bldg salvage collage

On Feb. 16th The RE Store salvage crew pulled materials from the former Community Food Co-op Connections building at the south end of the Forest Street Co-op’s parking lot. The whole building is currently being deconstructed by Bellingham-based Reuse Consulting – all to make way for more parking and a bike structure for the Co-op. There was some strong interest in moving the beloved mid-century building as a whole, but some aspect of that plan did not work out with the City of Bellingham planning department, and thus the Co-op set out with the goal to have 95% of the materials be reused. Some materials will stay on site to create the new bike structure, while others will be used to create an event center off-site.

The building was designed by Bellingham architect Jim Zervas, who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and was a distinguished NW architect and planner for more than 50 years in the Bellingham and Whatcom County community.

In the words of our out-going Communications Director, Peter Frazier:

One of the finest examples of PNW mid-century architecture is being deconstructed to make way for the Food Co-op’s enlarged parking lot. James Zervas’ early ’60s Western Optical Building looked gorgeous from every angle, featured impeccable lines, and divine proportions. It was a lovely human-scale building that, like the best PNW architecture, brings the outside in, establishing a two-way relationship with the environment.

It’s been in my life for a half century. I first noticed it when I was about four years old because it looked remarkably like my house on Chuckanut (the house I still live in) but was improbably placed in the middle of the city. I’ve had the pleasure of shopping for glasses there as a boy, leading a strategic planning session there for KCLT about ten years ago, and most recently, inspecting the original hand drawn plans at Dominique Zervas’ Bellingham law office.

It was one of those classic PNW things, like a Salish Sea cobble beach, a Skagit Valley landscape painting, a crab feed with garlic butter, a Boundary Bay IPA, a live edge table by Smith + Vallee, a kayak in the rain, or a smoke-filled Waterfront Tavern.

It will be missed.

The RE Store salvage crew removed fir trim, windows, doors and stainless counters – all of which are in the store now. Come get a piece of this unique landmark for yourself!

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Revision Division planters help define a community gathering space

As many of you know, Community Food Co-op has opened their eagerly-awaited new storefront for their deli on the corner of Holly Street and Forest in downtown Bellingham. The Co-op asked if our Revision Division could donate and build some planter boxes to help define their large, south-facing patio outside dining area – and we were happy to help our long-time partners!

Community Co-op planters

Our designer/builders built two planters of salvaged materials: 5 feet wide, 4 feet deep, 3 feet high, with strong castor wheels for moving. Cloud Mt. Farm Center sponsored the plants for the containers. Mercantile Head Assistant, Jade Flores remarked “They have really helped turn the patio into a welcoming place for our community to spend time, congregate, and eat healthy food together.” We are proud to have played a small part in helping them define a space for gathering around good food. Check them out at the deli’s Grand Re-opening this Friday, December 4th, 5:30-10pm in coordination with the December Art Walk. More specifics about the event can be found on the Co-op’s Facebook page. See you there!

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Salvaging a Dream

Mehrtens O'Donnell Family

Owners of Gypsy and Ginger Snaps, Lydia Mehrtens & Tim O’Donnell, with their two children, Avery and Saylor – in front of the espresso counter made entirely of materials  from The RE Store 

In fall of 2013, Lydia Mehrtens and her husband, The RE Store’s own Tim O’Donnell, acquired downtown Bellingham bakery La Vie En Rose, renamed it Gypsies and Ginger Snaps – a Charming Shop & Bakery, and reopened the next day. For Mehrtens and O’Donnell, Gypsies and Ginger Snaps is the resurrection of a dream. The couple had previously owned a bakery in LaConnor, WA that closed its doors in 2008 after the collapse of the tourist economy there.

Mehrtens, a dynamo of positive energy, was undaunted by that closure. Baking professionally since she was 15, she held on to her bakery dreams, while also running a shop at a local flea market collecting and selling jewelry, clothing, and upcycled furniture.  In 2011 she started baking again with a coffee cart attached to a small vintage store in Fairhaven. The café and the shop were brought together as one, and O’Donnell constructed the mobile coffee cart with materials primarily sourced at The RE Store.

coffee cart

The original coffee cart, O’Donnell built out of all salvaged materials.

Two years and two moves later they found themselves at the current location at 111 W. Holly St. In addition to repurposing several pieces of restaurant equipment for the new café, such as stainless steel sinks and pre-rinse sprayers for commercial dishwashers, O’Donnell, employed at The RE Store since 2010, uses his woodworking skills to create and refurbish tables, chairs and other pieces of furniture to use and sell in the shop. “I can’t imagine accomplishing so many projects and simple day-to-day maintenance at the bakery without the help of The RE Store” says O’Donnell. The espresso machine is the one piece of equipment Mehrtens and O’Donnell kept from the La Connor bakery – it is still in use today. Gypsies and Ginger Snaps is a lesson in how to salvage not only furniture and equipment, but one’s own dreams.

retail dressing room

Salvage-inspired retail fixtures at Gypsy and Ginger Snaps, including pine bleacher board shelving and galvanized pipe flange clothing racks (left). And the dressing rooms (right) are made from 3 solid panel doors, misc lumber + trim, curtain rod, mirror, recycled paint – all from The RE Store.

Gypsies and Ginger Snaps is open daily 9am – 6pm and can be found on Facebook here.  For catering inquiries, contact Lydia Mehrtens via email at: gypsiesandgignersnaps [at] gmail.com.

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people

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Volunteers Re-purpose in the RE Patch

Beth Linkinholder is our volunteer RE Patch Coordinator this year, (for those not in the know, the RE Patch is our working garden out behind the warehouse of our Bellingham store). Beth has been a wonderful addition to our RE-team – at first glance of our RE Patch  she noticed that our two monstrous compost piles needed to be processed and rebuilt. She took it on herself to recruit Five Whatcom Community College environmental science students that needed community service for their class requirements and two of her personal friends to come and take on this project.  They re-purposed wooden pallets to create the new-to-us compost bin (in photos below).  We wish we had some ‘before’ photos to show just how much this was needed – but suffice it to say, we are excited for the new order in the RE Patch. Beth will be planning other RE Patch gardening work parties throughout the summer – contact our volunteer coordinator, Ben Lewis, if you are interested in joining in on the FUN!

RE Patch compost bin RE Do

Thanks so much to the compost bin volunteer team: Jeff Hill, Jewell Hamilton, Rosa Posas, Sarah Bock, Micah Evangelista, and John & Stacy Crampton

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Benches Make Good Readers

village books childrens section benchFor a few days only the Revision Division showroom at The RE Store in Bellingham will exhibit a bench that soon will be installed at Village Books in Fairhaven.

It will serve as the reading bench in the alcove of the children’s book section.

Made from the head board of a queen size bed as back and with more bed, table and stair parts for the seat and understructure it forms the base for imaginative mind travel for readers of all ages.

Vintage lettering, numbers, cut-outs, building blocks and surveyor’s measuring poles make up the detailing.  It was custom ordered by Paul & Kelly of Village Books and will celebrate the partnership between our two organizations. An article and picture in the spring issue of the Chuckanut Reader will follow.

Come, check it out at The RE Store in Bellingham, or see it at Village Books after it is installed there early February.  Be a reader, be a re-reader – read it on a re-purposed bench!

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