300 attend Bite of Blaine, Goff family honored
It a was a sold-out packed house Monday evening as 300 people filled the ballrooms at Semiahmoo Resort for the fourth annual Bite of Blaine.
The event, which is the main fundraising source for the annual Fourth of July fireworks and festivities, featured foods from 16 local restaurants and businesses. In addition, the Goff family was honored for their many years in business and service in the Blaine community. Murray Goff, who accepted a plaque on behalf of the family, said his father first moved to the region in the early 1900s and started Fullers Dry Goods in Blaine. In 1946, as Murray was fresh out of the Air Force, he was hired under the GI Bill to work in Bellingham and was trained by �a little Russian jewish tailor who sat cross-legged on the table.� Following his training, he borrowed $5,000 from his father in 1953 and started Goff�s Department Store. In 1972, Murray�s son Greg came to the business working full-time.
Since then, much of the company�s business has been from locals and federal workers, mostly immigration and customs workers, who could purchase their uniforms from the Goffs as well. �When their wives come in to buy them something, I knew their size,� Murray said, laughing.
Currently, the Goff family is seeing a boom in their business, as their latest sewing venture involves ripping off old U.S. Customs and Immigration patches and replacing them with new federal officer patches - a uniform change resulting from the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, implemented last year. �As of last week, we�ve sewn on 2,000 patches. We will not stop until our border friends are properly patched,� he said, noting the business is serving federal officers from Blaine, Point Roberts, Lynden, Sumas, Bellingham and Anacortes. �My wife likes to say we�re hanging on by a thread,� he said. The business, now operating for 50 years, features a working 1909 cash register used for each purchase, as well as many copies of the Blaine Journal newspaper from 1906 to 1928.
Outgoing chamber of commerce president Ron Leach presented an award to Kimberly Akre for her help with the benefit. Akre is the daughter of the incoming president Pam Christianson, who served as president before Leach. �We sincerely thank you for your support,� she told the crowd, noting her thanks to local business for being involved in the annual event.