Come celebrate a grand opening!
When Blaine’s Pacific Building Center took over the old Shanty Town Tavern on Bell Road five years ago, it took almost eight months to turn the place into a retail store. “It took 64 gallons of paint just to get the ceiling white,” smiled Bob Christianson, one of five partners in the business.
This coming Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.they will be holding a grand opening to celebrate their third addition to the original 5,000 square foot Bell Road store.
Obviously, the move to Bell Road has proven to be a good business decision, no matter how much paint it took. Christianson said that they now do a volume of business in a day that once took a month at their former location in the Blaine International Mall.
Christianson’s partners are his wife Pam and daughters Stephanie and Kimberly, and Ted Thomson, who once worked with Christianson at the Bellingham Builders Alliance when it was known as Bellingham Sash and Door. Christianson worked there almost 18 years after moving north from southern California in 1977.
On January 1, 1997, he and his family bought the old Blaine Building Center and operated it as a small hardware store out of a 3,500 square foot space in the mall.Three years later they bought the Bell Road property, and after opening in November of 2000 added a 2,400 square foot warehouse a year later.
The new addition brings the store up to 12,500 square feet with an additional 7,000 square feet of yard space. Christianson said his next project is to devote some of the yard to covered storage.
The addition provides room for an expanded garden center and a “Just Ask Rental” outlet, True Value’s name for a tool rental service designed to serve a local niche market. “It gives us recognition and lets us buy better quality equipment than we could by ourselves,” Christianson said, “so the customer gets better tools at a lower price.” To add the rental service, True Value had Christianson and his daughter Stephanie Munden attend a seminar in Chicago, at the end of which they ordered their stock of rental tools “in the biggest single order I’ve ever signed,” Christianson said.
Asked if there were any surprises in the eight years plus since opening, Christianson said that the business has “far exceeded our expectations every year.” He attributes this in part at least to a family discussion “where we decided that if we’re going to do business in Blaine then we have to get involved in Blaine.”
Pam Christianson is the president of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce and also currently serves on the Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee. The two Christianson daughters have also been quite active in such local organizations, in addition to volunteering on several civic events over the years.
In 2003 they helped change the look of Blaine’s summer festivals, combining the Fourth of July celebration with the old Harbor Fest, and since then the re-invented “Old Fashioned Fourth of July” has been a huge success, drawing thousands of people in 2003 and more every year since.
“Of course, it’s not just them, it’s because of hundreds of people who’ve worked together to make this happen,” said Christianson, “but it’s the kind of thing that makes Blaine a great place to live and have a business.”