Photo by Joe Mabel
Village Books & Paper Dreams opened a location in the newly renovated Waples Mercantile Building on Front Street in Lynden, Washington. The building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, burned in 2008, and was later purchased by Bellingham architect Jeff McClure and his wife Debra. The McClures, along with Teri and Matt Treat, formed Forefront Ventures to renovate the building and add a 35-room inn, which the partnership will operate. The inn and adjacent businesses, including Avenue Bread and Drizzle (both neighboring businesses in Fairhaven), are expected to open in early November.
Village Books & Paper Dreams will operate in about 3000 square feet, with a combination of books, gifts, and cards.
"The north county will be new territory for us, but we already have a large number of customers there," said the company's owner Paul Hanson. "We're happy to provide a more convenient location for folks who've been loyal to the business for years."
Village Books, founded by Chuck and Dee Robinson, will celebrate its 35th Anniversary in June. The Robinsons opened Paper Dreams in the fall of 1982 in an adjacent location on Eleventh Street in Bellingham's Fairhaven Historic District. In recent years the two stores have been opened into one another, and have become more integrated in merchandising, management, and personnel.
"The mission of our business has been to help build community," said Robinson. "We've spent thirty-five years doing that, mostly within the city of Bellingham. We now look forward to joining the great city of Lynden and northern Whatcom County, in contributing to strengthen those communities."
Speaking for Forefront Ventures, Teri Treat said, "We are thrilled to have Village Books & Paper Dreams as the newest tenant in the Waples Mercantile Building in Lynden. Not only are they a nationally recognized, successful retailer, they provide a wonderful example of community stewardship. Downtown Lynden and all of north Whatcom County will benefit by this expansion!"
Village Books has received many awards, including multiple Mayor's Arts Awards and Washington State's Outstanding Philanthropic Small Business Award, and was recently named one of five finalists for the Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year.