Blaine Insurance expands, Little Red Caboose changes owners

Published on Wed, Jul 23, 2014
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Blaine Insurance purchases Locker & Ebert Insurance

Blaine Insurance has expanded, acquiring a new division with the purchase of Locker & Ebert Insurance of Ferndale.

Locker & Ebert Insurance was formed in 2012 under the direction of Scott Locker, father of NFL quarterback Jake Locker, and Michael Ebert. Their agency has been one of the fastest growing start-up property and casualty insurance companies in the

Rod Bring, principal of Blaine Insurance, said the purchase is good news for both companies.

“It gives us more strength in the commercial lines of insurance such as business, liability and product insurance, and it gives them access to our well-established markets in Blaine, Birch Bay, Point Roberts, Ferndale, Bellingham and Skagit and Snohomish counties,” Bring said. “It’s a win for both companies, and in terms of future growth, it’s like a new chapter.”

Locker & Ebert will maintain its name but operate out of the Blaine Insurance offices as a division of Blaine Insurance. The merger brings three new members to the Blaine Insurance team: Scott Locker, marketing director, Michael Ebert, personal lines director and Chris White, commercial lines director.

“We are very excited to gain more depth and expertise by bringing on the talented people of Locker & Ebert,” Bring said.

Blaine Insurance was founded in 1954 and has been a locally owned and operated company ever since. Its parent company, Employee Benefits Planning L.L.C., is also locally owned.

“We’re grateful that we’ve been able to thrive and grow with local ownership and without being bought out by a large, generic company,” Bring said.

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Little Red Caboose

Owner Holly Jarrett and chef Brenda Reid have teamed up to breathe new life into The Little Red Caboose on Peace Portal Drive.

The restaurant was re-opened under new management July 1, offering gourmet sandwiches, espresso, milkshakes and more in a setting as unique as any in Whatcom County. 

Housed in an authentic caboose, the restaurant still sits on rails. The interior has fresh accents but maintains the classic feel of an old dining car. Outside the caboose, customers can take in Drayton Harbor and Blaine Harbour on a spacious deck that overlooks the waterfront.

“You wouldn’t know it driving by, but we have a large deck in the back with plenty of seating,” Jarrett said. “It’s a nice and relaxing place to eat.”

Reid said the most popular items so far have been the turkey havarti panini and chicken ciabatta sandwich. All lunch entrees come with potato chips and a pickle spear.

Pick up a treat from the counter for dessert – cookies, Rice Krispies treats and muffins are on offer. Or, get an espresso or milkshake to go.

“We offer big variety in a small space,” Reid said. The kitchen is small, which can make busy lunch rushes a challenge, but Reid has made it work by using the space efficiently. Equipment is tucked neatly into corners and silverware baskets hang from the walls.

Jarrett and Reid were friends long before they decided to go into business together.

“She’s an awesome cook,” Jarrett said. “I’ve wanted to run my own business for a long time, and she has always had a reputation as the best cook in the neighborhood. The kids always want to go to her house to eat.”

Reid had worked in a bed and breakfast and done some catering prior to running the kitchen in The Little Red Caboose.

“Both my grandmas were really good cooks, and I picked it up from them,” Reid said.

As a fledgling business, the restaurant has more developments in the works. In response to customer requests, Reid said they might offer soups during the fall months, and the interior walls might soon display photos that highlight the history of Blaine and the caboose.

The Little Red Caboose is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 360/332-2448.