Recent Decisions Severely Impact Property Owners

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By: Jim McKinney, Executive Director, Common Threads Northwest

The WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL moratoriums on Cherry Point industrial growth and drilling previously exempt home-use wells have a dramatic impact on our economy and tax base.  They cost businesses and individual property owners hundreds of millions of dollars.  Because of the Council decisions, our quality of life is at risk.

Petrogas Energy Inc. requested to reduce Cherry Point property values from $262M to $42M, a $220M loss, due to Council imposed regulations.  Ironically, the County Assessor had to ask the Council for $150,000 of taxpayer funds to fight the request.  Other Cherry Point industries are preparing similar requests. These devaluations create a massive tax revenue shortfall.

The value of property without access to existing water service is drastically reduced with the moratorium on domestic well-drilling.  Taxes must be reduced to reflect the lower values.  The County Assessor estimates between 1,000 and 1,500 properties are immediately affected. Over 5,000 properties may be impacted over 3 years – with 75% devaluations or greater.

The Assessor is forced to redistribute the revenue losses. Tax needs are fixed, or services are reduced – County property owners WILL PAY MORE IN TAXES to offset the devaluations.

By a significant margin, the County’s largest tax contributors and top paying employers are Cherry Point heavy industries.  Their taxes provide the highest percentage for schools, roads, services and safety in our community.  Those same revenues protect our precious environment, parks and trails.

Our primary industries, rural property owners and our tax base are under attack.  Life savings, long held investments and dreams of building in the country are ruined.  New businesses don’t move to over-regulated and anti-growth communities.  No new business, no new revenues.  No new revenues, bankruptcy often follows.

How will local government pay for inevitable inflation and deteriorating infrastructure – raise taxes, again?  The math doesn’t work.  No-growth may be idealistically appealing, but it is economically ruinous.

Whatcom County Council decisions are unfairly punishing all our citizens and undermining our economic future.  We cherish our unique environment, but the Council must protect our economy too.  Hold elected officials accountable – we elect them to work for us, not against us.

Emergency Reporting Moves to Barkley Area of Bellingham

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Fast Company Growth Means Larger Space Requirements

Emergency Reporting, a leading provider of Fire & EMS records management software headquartered in Bellingham, WA, is pleased to announce it has moved to 2200 Rimland Drive, Suite 305, Bellingham, WA 98226.

“The growth in our customer base and desire to produce more advanced solutions for our Fire and EMS customers meant we had to hire developers and other staff at a very fast pace, resulting in a 122% increase in employees in just 15 months,” said executive director Ed O’Neill. “That also meant we outgrew our space,” he said.

“Now that we have 71 employees we can more easily continue our push to take over the Fire & EMS Cloud-based records management market on a global basis,” he continued.

About Emergency Reporting

Emergency Reporting is a privately held Washington State corporation specializing in secure, Cloud-based records and reporting management software solutions for Fire/Rescue and EMS agencies of all sizes, DoD/military branches worldwide, and large entities with self-contained Fire & EMS services like NASA, nuclear power plants, hospitals and oil refineries. With more than 100,000 users around the globe, Emergency Reporting is considered the most trusted provider of Fire & EMS records and reporting management software. For more information, see www.emergencyreporting.com.

Step Up Update

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Take Action to Support Cherry Point

The saga continues! The Cherry Point Amendment to the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan is being introduced to the full Council on Tuesday, March 21st with the anticipated vote scheduled for Tuesday, April 4th. The language moving forward continues to concern the Cherry Point businesses:

  • the Council plans to fund a $150,000 study to find legal ways of limiting exports from Cherry Point which will have a significant impact on the Cherry Point industries’ ability to do business.  Impacting that ability threatens the jobs of those who work there.
  • the Council is calling for the elimination of the 4th pier option from the Comprehensive Plan altogether. The deep water access at Cherry Point is a unique and highly valuable economic asset for Whatcom County.
  • Removing the option for a pier on that property slashes the taxable value of the property which has tremendous consequences for the overall budget that supports County infrastructure and school district budgeting.

Send a comment to the Whatcom County Council from our website www.preservecherrypoint.com. Follow us on Twitter @WBAStepUp.

Lahar Inundation Zone

Just when you thought it was safe…After a very positive interaction in the Fall that resulted in proposed “common sense” language for the Critical Areas section of the Comp Plan, the County staff is pushing back and proposes new changes to the lahar section of the Plan. You can read here the staff recommendation for Option 3 that is a combination of the existing lahar regulations with allowance for some activities such as single family homes and duplexes, but places additional restrictions and requirements on any land uses of greater intensity or density. The Critical Areas Update 2016: Best Available Science Review was used as the basis for the 2016 Critical Areas update.

The County Council will be reviewing the Staff proposed option at a SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

Fortiphi-HR Awards Women In Business Scholarship

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Mount Vernon, WA.  Fortiphi-HR, a Human Resources and Benefits Management Company with offices in Mount Vernon and Blaine, Washington, announces the name of the recipient of their first Women in Business Scholarship.

Heidi DeBauge, who has recently been accepted into the nursing program at Everett Community College, was thrilled to accept the $500 Scholarship in late February. Ms. DeBauge graduated from  Stanwood High School in 2013 with some college courses already in hand, thanks to the Running Start Program, and is excited about the prospect of becoming a nurse.

“As a child I spent a lot of time in Children’s Hospital due to a heart problem and I remember thinking that the nurses were such superheroes,” she said. She plans to continue her education and pursue a Master’s degree in nursing, with an ultimate goal of becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

Heidi’s story was especially meaningful to Fortiphi-HR Co-founder Jay Ebert, who lost his daughter, Chelsey Rae Ebert, to cancer while she was still in high school. Chelsey was much-beloved by her family, friends, and the community, and they have since founded the Chelsey Rae Ebert Trust to raise money for scholarships and charities. Today, with more than 60 scholarships awarded, her positive influence on others lives on.

Inspired by the mission of the Chelsey Rae Ebert Trust, and because they support the advancement of young women in business and related fields, Fortiphi-HR decided to offer a $500 scholarship to young women in Washington state who are interested in pursuing studies focused on Business, Management, Entrepreneurship, and related fields.

“We are really excited to continue this scholarship,” said Ebert. “Heidi’s story was very inspiring to all of us at Fortiphi-HR, and we look forward to being able to help more motivated and enthusiastic students like her.”

Applications for next year’s scholarship are now being accepted at fortiphi-hr.com. The deadline for application is December 31, 2017.

What Cherry Point taxes mean to Local Schools

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A significant portion of income for Whatcom County public school districts comes from:

  1. Maintenance and operations (M&O) levies, which help fund the ongoing costs of running the school, and
  2. Bonds, which typically are used to fund larger school renovations, new construction, and other capital projects.

In the Ferndale School District, for example, which has successfully floated M&O levies since 1977, the M&O levy funds about 25 percent of the total budget, according to information on the district’s website. Among the items funded by the levy: the salaries of one in four teachers, and two in three classified staff, in addition to athletic, music, technology, and safety programs for students.

In 2016, according to the annual tax book published by Whatcom County, the Ferndale School District had in its budget an M&O levy that brought in roughly $14 million and a bond that brought in approximately $3.3 million. The Blaine School District had an M&O levy of roughly $6.6 million and a bond of approximately $3.9 million.

Both bonds and levies are funded by the property taxes paid by property owners in each district. A large portion of the budgets of the Ferndale and Blaine school districts come from BP Cherry Point Refinery, Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery, and Alcoa Intalco Works.

For the 2016 tax year, here’s the breakdown (source: Whatcom County Assessor’s Office):

Phillips 66: The company’s most valuable parcel of land in the area, the refinery on Unick Road in Ferndale, had a taxable value of $415.8 million. The total assessed value of all properties in Whatcom County owned by Phillips 66 Company was roughly $479.8 million.

On its refinery parcel alone, the company paid roughly $1.5 million toward the Ferndale School District’s M&O levy and $376,509 toward its bond levy. That’s 10.7 percent of the M&O levy and 11.4 percent of the bond levy.

Alcoa: The company’s most valuable parcel of land, its smelter on Mountain View Road in Ferndale, had a taxable value of roughly $58.6 million in 2016. The total assessed value of all properties in Whatcom County owned by Alumet in 2016 was roughly $63.2 million.

On its smelter property the company paid $211,534, or another 1.5 percent of the Ferndale School District’s M&O levy and $53,101, or another 1.6 percent of its bond levy. A small number of properties throughout the county are listed as being owned by Intalco Aluminum Co., but they are not included in these totals.

BP: BP West Coast Products Inc. is listed as owning 68 parcels in the Whatcom County. The company’s most valuable parcel, its refinery on Grandview Road in Blaine, had a taxable value of roughly $890.4 million. The total assessed value of all of the company’s properties in the county was roughly $934.8 million in 2016.

On its refinery property alone BP paid roughly $1.5 million, or 22 percent of the Blaine School District’s M&O levy and $761,690, 19.8 percent of the district’s bond levy.

All of these numbers are generally consistent with a 2014 study of the economic impacts of Cherry Point Industrial Zone. Hart Hodges of Western Washington University and Bill Beyers of the University of Washington estimated that BP, Phillips 66, and Alcoa, the three big companies in the Cherry Point area, paid a total of $14.7 million in property taxes.

Of that amount, the authors deduced, roughly $2.6 million went to the Ferndale School District and $2.1 million to the Blaine School District. That report, titled Employment at Cherry Point, was commissioned by the Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) and published in October 2014.

The report estimated the various companies in the Cherry Point Industrial Zone pay more than $200 million annually in total taxes. In addition to property taxes, the businesses also pay business and occupation (B&O) taxes, hazardous substance taxes, oil-spill response taxes, payroll taxes, and sales and use taxes.

Colleen Fiega, who works in communications at Phillips 66, said that her company accounts for roughly $45million to $50 million – upward to one-fourth – of that approximated $200 million total each year. And while a lot of those taxes go outside the county, much of it stays home.

The cleanup of Bellingham Bay, to name one example cited by the report, is largely funded by hazardous substance taxes paid by the oil refineries and aluminum smelter. Those taxes go to the state Department of Ecology to help clean up and manage solid and hazardous waste.

For more info about the impacts of business growth in the Cherry Point area of Whatcom County, please visit http://cherrypointgrowth.com/.

Business Person of the Year Finalist – Doug Thomas

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Innovation and caring

The directions Doug Thomas has taken Bellingham Cold Storage

By Sherri Huleatt

Founded by Archibald Talbot in 1946, Bellingham Cold Storage (BCS) got its start as a single warehouse and icehouse. Today, BCS is the largest portside cold storage facility on the West Coast—spanning more than 80 acres across two facilities and employing 175, all of whom live in Whatcom County.

Over the last 70 years BCS has grown into a full-service facility that handles more than 2 billion pounds of frozen and chilled food every year. They’ve expanded their original facility from 30,000 square feet to more than 1 million square feet, and their facilities include 12 on-site food processing customers and 16 cold storage warehouses, with a capacity of 120 million pounds.

And last year BCS experienced one of their best-performing years yet—in large part attributable to the leadership of Doug Thomas, its president and CEO.

Thomas joined the BCS team in 1992 as vice president and chief operating officer, and just seven years later took over for his father—Stew Thomas—and became a second-generation president/CEO.

According to Gene Knutson, a Bellingham City Councilman and 42-year veteran at BCS, Thomas had “tough shoes to fill….Doug picked up the torch and has led us to a bright future. Over my 42 years with the company I’ve been blessed to work with great people, and Doug is one of the best. He’s not only a great leader, but a great human being.”

Knutson referred to personal situations as illustrative of Thomas’s personal-touch methods. “I have had several back surgeries, and every time I’ve been in the hospital one of the first people to visit me were Doug and (his wife) Sandy. He does that with all our employees, no matter what their title.”

Thomas has spearheaded some unique and effective corporate culture initiatives that helped BCS earn the title of “Premier Employer” by the Northwest Food Processors Association in 2014.

For example, this year BCS will kick off a new “Charity House” home-buying incentive program that encourages employee home ownership. Later this year the company will complete construction of a state-of-the-art employee Training and Technology Center that seats 200. BCS is building a new employee lunch room, locker rooms, offices, food safety, and engineering offices.

Thomas also helped increase company efficiencies about 55 percent by establishing “Balanced Scorecard” key performance indicators.

According to Thomas, the most significant improvement over the last few years has been BCS’s MiCare Clinic—a free health clinic for employees and their families. “This was a major leap for us, and it’s paid off in two significant ways,” Thomas said. “Our employees now have a primary care physician, if they didn’t have one before, and it’s free of charge to them if they decide to utilize the clinic for a number of general practitioner services and most non-narcotic prescription pharmacy needs.

“This resulted in a significant cost savings for our valued employees and their families, while also producing savings to the company.”

The BCS MiCare Clinic has helped foster happier employees and families, lowered employee turnover, and created more efficient and cost-effective medical care for the entire BCS family, Thomas said.

Community philanthropy has always been baked into the BCS culture. It donates to more than 70 charities a year, with a special focus on youth charities. “Our primary focus has always been ‘kids first,” Thomas said. Whether it’s the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County, YMCA, FFA, and several others, BCS under Thomas’s guiding principles considers it best to invest in kids while they’re young, instead of trying to catch up to them as young adults who might have suffered from not getting enough attention or engagement as kids.

According to Knutson, Thomas is involved throughout the city, county, state, and nation. “He is a champion for all businesses,” Knutson said. “I have seen him grow into a true leader, not only here at BCS but throughout the community.” A primary example of that is Thomas’s involvement for five years on the board of directors since the inception of the Whatcom Business Alliance, and spearheading its business advocacy mission. He’s active in Port of Bellingham and Port Commissioners business, issues in the state legislature, and he travels extensively on behalf of his industry’s policy-making organizations.

Thomas credits much of his success to surrounding himself with good people. “They’re not necessarily the rocket scientists, but just really good people who have become very skilled, supportive, and outstanding leaders,” Thomas said. “And then there’s the philosophy that my dad gave me that the harder and smarter you work, the luckier you tend to be. Be thoughtful and kind, and put things back in better shape than you found them. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ make friends, and smile a lot.”

Thomas gives much credit to his wife, Sandy – considering her as his “biggest supporter” – his parents, Washington State University (his alma mater), and the Talbot family for leading and growing BCS.

Start Up Business of the Year Finalist – Augusta Lawn Care Services

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Mowing magnate

Andes then added landscaping and product delivery

By Dave Brumbaugh

Mike Andes is far from a conventional entrepreneur. Few have started a business at age 11 to earn money for college, where he enrolled at 13.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that his main current business, Augusta Lawn Care Services, takes a different approach from competitors in its sector. Andes oversees three divisions: lawn-care services, landscaping services, and bulk materials delivery (soil, gravel, and mulch).

“We offer a unique combination of products and services – a one-stop shop for all things landscaping-related,” Andes said, “for the DIY folks and service clients, as well.

Blaine-based Augusta Lawn Care Services launched in 2014 and took off like a rocket. Revenues totaled a modest $30,000 in its initial year, but quickly grew to $200,000 in 2015 and $550,000 in 2016, aided by the acquisition of Kenny’s Materials and Paradise Lawn Care. Andes projected sales to reach $1 million this year, and the opening of a second retail location Bellingham by early 2018.

“We plan to continue building more shops down the I-5 corridor,” he added.

Life as the owner of a lawn-care company strayed from the Andes’ original plan. “Originally I was going to go into the medical field,” he said. “I completed my bachelor’s degree and had applied to a medical school, then I went to Africa for a medical volunteer trip. Discouraged by the American medical system and insurance system, I opted to make a career in business.”

Andes already had a start in business, having created Andes Lawn Care with his brother in 2008. After founding Augusta Lawn Care Services, he bought out Andes Lawn Care and didn’t stop there.

He also is host of BusinessBootcampPodcast.com, founder of LandscapeBusinessCourse.com, and author of the book Millennial Millionaire: The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Breaking Out of the Middle Class. Further, he hires out as a consultant with other companies and conducts workshops.

Andes believes that communication sets his company apart from competitors. “We have created systems and procedures that allow us to respond to clients quicker than any of our competitors,” he said. “Within a couple hours, we can have an estimator visit a client in person, complete a detailed line-item estimate and have a contract proposal in the hands of a potential customer.

“Most companies in our industry take days, if not weeks, to do this.”

Despite his youth and his company’s rapid growth, Andes said the lessons he’s learned include a long-term perspective.

“Be patient – life is a marathon, not a sprint,” Andes said. “Be self-aware and know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t ignore your weaknesses, but spend 90 percent of your time on your strengths.”

The guiding philosophy for the owner of Augusta Lawn Care Services, he said, is based on his employees, currently totaling nine.

“Leaders eat last,” Andes said, citing a book title by Simon Sidek. “People are the greatest asset of any organization.”

Start Up Business of the Year – Trayvax

Made To Last

Innovative wallet – King’s 3rd invention – takes off from crowdfunding start

By Dave Brumbaugh

Trayvax Enterprises has a distinctly specific recipe for success: an innovative product, solid values proven over time, and a modern financing technique.

Founder Mark King is a good business chef – his Bellingham company has sold approximately a half-million unique, metallic wallets to outdoor recreation, industrial, and military customers around the world since the company launched.

Unlike the proverbial mousetrap, King didn’t set out to build a better wallet.

In fact, the wallet wasn’t his first invention. That was an electric car. He designed and built in as a teenager growing up on Bainbridge Island. “I created it to drive to school,” he said.

His first dip into entrepreneurial ventures came when he was a student at Bellingham Technical College pursuing a degree in machining, after he had started and dropped out of Western Washington University. He developed an organilectic (food texture) analyzer. “It would analyze the ingredients in a granola bar,” he said. “I sold it to General Mills and it paid for my schooling. Then I dropped out at BTC, too.”

His next dip was literal – a snorkeling outing in the waters of Hawaii. “I saw plastic bags floating around under water, and got the idea to make something that could be reused and not thrown away as often…a product to replace the use of plastic bags,” King said. “I ended up designing a wallet that carries things securely and sleekly.”

It wasn’t that easy. He moved to Bellingham at age 20 – six years ago – and he described how he spent half a year building his first office after first working out of his apartment. “At first I kept developing prototype after prototype, and I would forget them (when going out). I knew I wouldn’t forget my wallet.

“People kept telling me it wouldn’t sell, it was not a good idea. But I was dedicated to making it work. I finally came out with a metal wallet with spikes on the side that made a bottle opener. With a huge stroke of luck it sold a lot on the internet.”

A wide variety of extraordinary wallet styles evolved from there. “We sell innovative metal/leather wallets to people who are sick of their wallets falling apart.”

Designed to withstand the toughest conditions – and offer the most utility of any wallet, metal or otherwise, on the market – Trayvax wallets are built from the highest quality materials and assembled by hand in their Irongate light-industrial area facility. Their metal enclosures also offer radio frequency identification, or RFID resistance for credit and debit cards.

“I want our products to be handed down through generations and to last long enough to take on the stories, adventures, and sentimentality that make a product worth hanging on to,” King said. “In an age where products are made to fail, we are making products that are guaranteed to last at least 65 years.”

Like with many startup businesses, financing was a huge challenge for Trayvax Enterprises. However, King succeeded without taking a single loan or incurring any debt – and he still hasn’t.

“I spent my last $80 on launching an online, crowdfunding campaign,” he said. Until then he was machining every Trayvax wallet by hand and powder-coating the aluminum faceplates with a small counter-top oven.

“I turned my studio apartment into a manufacturing line, hired four people, and put my bed in my loft. After seven months, we were able to move into a larger facility.”

Now, 32 employees work in two buildings assembling, packaging, and shipping several hundred wallets a day. In developing a cutting-edge product, King said those 32 employees are the most important part of Trayvax Enterprises.

“We are a culture-centric company that is only as good as the people that we hire,” he said. “We take good care of our teams.” He cited the provision of healthcare, snacks, a paid book program, camping once a year, a pay-to-quit program, “…and many other perks. Our teams are the company, and it’s very important to me that they are taken care of.”

Like its signature wallets, King believes Trayvax Enterprises will operate for many years to come. The company currently offers five different wallets, plus accessories. King said they have a variety of camping innovations, outdoor gear, and industrial gear in developmental stages to expand the product line.

“The company isn’t about you – it’s about the people that work there,” he said.

“As an entrepreneur, you are assigning yourself to a life of serving and it won’t be easy. Find high-level mentors who understand you very well and listen to their guidance.”

“I’ve always wanted to help make the world a better place through technology, and I love the outdoors. I’m grateful that I can put the two together.”

Trayvax has drawn attention as widely as an article in The New York Times and a TED Talk. His themes consistently lean to his philosophy about entrepreneurship. “It is about philanthropic endeavors as much as it is about innovating,” he said. “Satisfaction comes from doing for others and creating change that’s bigger than you.”

Business Person of the Year Finalist – Karen Bellingar

Business with Heart

Karen Bellingar started in ’78 from the back of her ’71 Pinto

By Sherri Huleatt

For Karen Bellingar, owner of Sunset Beauty Supply and Bellingar Storage, beauty supply stores aren’t just retailers offering fancy tubes of mascara, and storage units aren’t just empty metal boxes used for hoarding old household items.

Instead, her three-employee beauty supply store—the largest supplier of wigs in Northwest Washington—is a source of empowerment and care, particularly for women going through chemotherapy. “Our goal is to always support and encourage them on this journey with quality products to make them look and feel beautiful,” Bellingar said.

Likewise, her storage units—which she co-owns with her husband, David – double as incubators for startups and small businesses looking to grow. “Seeing many businesses that have rented from us go on to larger spaces and greater success is incredibly rewarding,” Bellingar said.

Bellingar took two straightforward businesses and turned them into sources of community support over a 39-year period. What makes it even better? It all started out of the back of her 1971 Ford Pinto.

“In 1978 we purchased a bare chunk of land without water, sewer, streets, or even an idea of what we were going to use it for,” Bellingar said. Without a clear plan and with payments piling up, Bellingar turned the property into a storage unit, hoping to convert it one day into a warehouse.

“With no office I rented out units from the back of our ’71 Pinto with our three young sons riding shotgun,” Bellingar said. “We continued to fill out the property until 1991 when we built the last six buildings and an office.” Because of Bellingar Storage’s eventual success, David Bellingar was able to retire 13 years ago. They have two full-time employees.

Sunset Beauty Supply has a different story. Bellingar told how she purchased the store in 2010 for two reasons:

One was to keep it from closing, which would have required women to drive to Seattle to purchase high-quality wigs. The second was to save a dear friend from losing her job after 20 years of empowering and supporting women.

“The talent she and the rest of the staff share each day is often miraculous to those dealing with hair loss,” Bellingar said. “The rewards are calculated in the heartwarming stories and beautiful ‘before and after’ pictures.”

Whether they’re renting out a new storage unit or helping someone find the perfect shade of ruby lipstick, Bellingar’s business creed stays the same: “To always give exceptional customer service. It doesn’t have to be big or earth-shaking, but do something to make it a better day for someone else.”

With the onslaught of online competition, the fluctuating Canadian exchange rate, and increasing business costs, maintaining a successful brick-and-mortar retail store has become more and more difficult, she said. The next big hurdle she faces is simply surviving the year.

Between five grandchildren, family deaths, and caregiving, Bellingar already has her hands full. “It’s difficult to create a balance while managing ones’ businesses, personal, and spiritual life,” she said. “I am blessed with a wonderful family and exceptional employees who are always supportive and helpful to share the load.”

In addition to her own personal business concerns Bellingar also worries about the community’s overall business climate. “We started out with no money or rich uncles. We were encouraged and supported by the banking community and the government entities that provided the permits.

“Today, it takes months to get through any loan process and much longer than that to get permits for any project, large or small. We have hope because there are still strong organizations, such as the Whatcom Business Alliance and its members, who go to work every day to make this county and the world a better place for us all.”

In addition to being a wife, grandmother, and business owner twice over, Bellingar also is involved with Love INC, Northwest Business Club, Republican Women of Whatcom County, Whatcom County Farm Forestry, Women Marine Association, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Cub Scouts, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, and Chuckanut Community Baptist Church.

The Bellingars have housed Love INC for more than two decades in their storage office. They’ve also supported the Welding Rodeo at the Bellingham Technical College, Relay for Life, OSLC, and CCBC, and have contributed to local grassroots organizations like Faces NW, Rebound of Whatcom County, Interfaith Coalition, Lighthouse Mission, Salvation Army, and the Whatcom County Pregnancy Clinic.

Karen Bellingar gives most of the credit to others for how she got where she is today: “…Through the Grace of God, blind luck, the support of a wonderful husband and great kids – daughters-in-law and grandbabies included,” she said. “That, and a strong work ethic that has kept us diligent in our vision to create not only a pleasant work environment, but also an enjoyable place for customers to bring their business.”