3 Bellingham Businesses You Didn’t Know Existed
Bellingham is known for being a pretty quirky place, and our local businesses are no exception. Entrepreneurial spirit, fueled by plenty of coffee, has led to the creation of many local businesses that show off our unique Pacific Northwest culture. Some, such as Woods Coffee or Mallard Ice Cream, are familiar household names. Others fly below the radar, waiting to be discovered. We wanted to show off a few of the latter type, so here’s list of three Bellingham businesses you probably didn’t know about, but definitely should check out.
Meet Doha, one of Bellingham’s finest two-humped camels.
That’s right: Bellingham is home to its very own Camel Safari company. Operating out of Beldar Haven Farm, a fully functional agricultural operation, the Camel Safari company offers locals a chance to interact with creatures not usually found anywhere near these parts.
Camel Safari offers a variety of camel-centered packages for visitors to choose from. A standard camel interaction ticket will net you the opportunity to learn in-depth about the anatomy and history of Dromedary (one-hump) and Bactrian (two-hump) camels, as well as feeding and petting the farm’s local group. Camel rides are an option as well, of course, led by an experienced guide who will show you around the farm’s 40-acre property. Premium versions of both packages include a professional photo of you with your new humped friend.
The company has also recently branched out into Segway tours as well, and even offers a combined camel-Segway package to get the most out of your visit. The farm owns 25 camels, both Dromedary and Bactrian, all of whom are cared for by the owner, Guy Seeklus. Seeklus discovered a fascination for camels in 2010 which eventually led him to open the business so that others might learn about and interact with the animals as well.
Tickets range from $25 per person for the standard camel interaction to $175 for the premium combined segway-camel package. Reservations can be made online, and the farm is open seven days a week in any weather. Camel Safari is located at 5435 Sand Rd, Bellingham.
NautiGirl is the brainchild of Christine Palmerton, a local entrepreneur and business personality. Before starting NautiGirl Palmerton co-founded a Yacht Charter Company in 2003 with only a little knowledge of the industry, but a lot of passion and energy. While attending the Seattle Boat Show in 2006, she discovered a noticeable lack of boating-themed apparel or accessories on display. Seeking to fill an industry void, Palmerton founded NautiGirl in 2009, and was so successful she sold the charter company in 2011 to focus on her new brand.
In 2013, Palmerton received a cease-and-desist letter from the clothing giant Nautica claiming that her brand conflicted with their logo. Whereas most small business typically submit to this kind of bullying from industry giants, Palmerton chose to take the case to court, arguing that because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had granted her the NautiGirl trademark in 2008, she was legally entitled to continue utilizing it. More details can be found in the Bellingham Herald article on the case.
Despite the legal adversity, Palmerton continues to sell her NautiGirl products. She has also started two new lines under the names NautiBoy and NautiBaby, rounding out the entire family of clothes and accessories. Products can be purchased from the NautiGirl website, and include a full line of shirts, hoodies, hats, and accessories. True in spirit to the logo, which pictures a fashionably dressed woman clutching a ship’s wheel in one hand and a martini in the other, NautiGirl also offers cocktail accessories, beer cozies, and wine glasses.
Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center
Ok, so you may well have heard of this non-profit organization. I’m taking a bit of liberty here because the Dispute Resolution Center is certainly one of the most unusual local businesses, and it captures the Bellingham spirit. The WDRC has been around for a while, and it continues to make an impact on the lives of the local community.
The WDRC’s goal is to offer “conflict prevention and intervention services for businesses, organizations, individuals, and families.” Through training, mediation, youth services, and facilitation, the WDRC hopes to build conflict management skills in the community and prevent unproductive disputes. Their services include foreclosure mediation, family mediation, and professional mediation training. They also offer resources on their website, as well as a small library for tips on effective communication.
The fee structure for the mediation services is based on a sliding scale, and the WDRC never turns away someone for not being able to pay. Classes have one-time fixed fees. The WDRC is also supported by community donations and relies on volunteers for many positions. The Resolution Center itself is located in the heart of downtown Bellingham, at 13 Prospect Street, Suite 201. They are open Tuesday-Friday from 10am to 5pm, and have staff fluent in Spanish available.
These are just three of the many unique businesses Bellingham is home to. If you have your own local business that you want everyone to know about, unusual or not, please let us know in the comments below.