April opening planned for Birch Bay store
By Jack Kintner
The long-planned grocery store at the Birch Bay Square shopping center at Birch Bay Lynden Road and Interstate 5 may be opening in a few months.
Kevin Weatherill, who recently took over from Craig Cole as CEO of the former Brown & Cole Stores, now called The Markets, is predicting an April opening if permits are secured in time for remodeling to be completed by then.
The 25,000 square foot store, a little over half the size of the Blaine Cost Cutter, was initially designed and built as a high-end small grocery similar to the Trader Joe’s chain. It also has a drive-up window where, for a charge, customers were to have picked up groceries after phoning or e-mailing in a list.
But that first tenant never materialized, nor did several more over the intervening years. Rumors had everyone from QFC to Safeway to Haggen taking over, but last year it turned out to be Brown & Cole who took over development of the site after deciding not to build a stand alone store at Blaine Road and Birch Bay-Lynden Road. The opening has been pushed back twice, from last fall to this winter and now into spring, as the permitting process has taken longer than expected.
Brown & Cole went through bankruptcy but found a financial partner in California and emerged from the process with a name change. The Blaine Cost Cutter is one of the company’s stores.
Weatherill said that opening the store is a priority and will happen before planned remodels at three other sites.