Store collects new owner

A new face is behind the counter of a Coupeville boutique. Oak Harbor resident Cheryl Nunn took over Collections Boutique last month from previous owner Rita Hart, who still works at the popular shop on a part-time basis.

Owner of chocolate-themed store in Langley ‘pulls them in by their nose’

At the store, people are drawn in by the wafting scent of chocolate in the air. Online, word-of-mouth has garnered a significant following around the world. Marie Lincoln, owner of the Chocolate Flower Farm in Langley, has developed a successful retail store, online product business and farm based on chocolate.

Third-generation gem expert continuing a family tradition in Oak Harbor

Matt Fikse became a third-generation gemologist last month keeping with family tradition. Grandson of Gerald and Janet Fikse, founders of Gerald’s Jewelry on Midway Boulevard in 1958, Matt Fikse said he plans to take over the family business after his parents Dave and Jane Fikse retire. “I’m so proud to be a part of what my grandparents and parents have built,” Matt Fikse said. “It will be an honor to carry on the tradition they have been known and respected for.”

Oak Harbor habitat store big success for humanity

When Whitey Kirschenmann took over management of the Habitat Humanity Store in Oak Harbor six years ago, it was a sleepy business run by eight volunteers. Since then, the store has increased its revenue by five times and is run by an army of 107 volunteers. Paired with the income from its sister store in Freeland, Habitat for Humanity of Island County has built 36 homes on Whidbey and Camano islands.

Port to consider cash machine at Coupeville Wharf

Visitors to downtown Coupeville might find an easier time trying to find a cash machine in the future. Officials for the Port of Coupeville are considering a plan to place an ATM on port property. The small port district received a proposal from Premier Merchants Group, based in Kearney, Neb., to place the cash machine in the breezeway of the Coupeville Wharf.

Employers eligible for incentive to avoid layoffs

A new Employment Security Department program offers a layoff-avoidance incentives to Washington employers. The program allows them to participate through June 2015 with little effect on their unemployment taxes. Since 1983, Washington’s Shared-Work Program has allowed employers to temporarily reduce the hours of their workers, and the employees can claim partial unemployment benefits to help bridge the difference.

  • Aug 22nd, 2013

Father-daughter duo launch mobile Mexican eatery in Oak Harbor

When Eliaser Loera and daughter Brenda, both of Oak Harbor, purchased a large food truck, they initially thought they would be selling seafood from it. Then their friends and neighbors started to get Loeras thinking. “Everyone kept asking if we were starting a taco truck,” Brenda Loera said. Given their Mexican descent, Loera said it seemed like an even better idea and that it would be “easy food for us to cook.”

Oak Harbor chamber members united in support of pro-Navy resolution

The Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and its members love the Navy. With a show of hands during the chambers monthly luncheon meeting Thursday, members expressed their support of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. During the luncheon, Chamber Director Kathy Reed spoke about the organization’s new “Jets = Jobs” campaign.

Farmers Insurance donates to IDIPIC

Farmers Insurance and its Richard Voit Agency in Oak Harbor recently donated $2,500 to the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County. The donation will help to sponsor several DUI prevention panels at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in the coming year as well as funding IDIPIC’s work with driver’s education students.

  • Aug 8th, 2013

Island County seeking projects to fund with tourism tax dollars

Applications are available for projects looking to be funded by Island County’s 2 percent Hotel/Motel Tax Tourism Promotion. The Isand County Lodging Tax Advisory Committee solicits proposals until Aug. 31.

  • Jul 25th, 2013

Freeland arts gallery opens | Business Brief

A new fine arts gallery and gift shop is celebrating its grand opening in Freeland July 27. Inspired Arts is opening on the corner of Main and Harbor, across from the Radio Shack.

  • Jul 25th, 2013

Island Transit’s Vance winner of Whidbey Bus Roadeo | Business Brief

MARK VANCE of Island Transit is the winner of the local 2013 Bus Roadeo. Vance will represent Island Transit at the Washington State Bus Roadeo sponsored by Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Transit Association, and Washington State Transit Insurance Pool.

  • Jul 25th, 2013

Frontier Building Supply’s tradition keeps growing on Whidbey Island

A group of builders working around Whidbey Island took a day off Friday to enjoy some light-hearted fun while helping a charitable cause at the same time. Families, builders and vendors came to Frontier Building Supply, located north of Oak Harbor, to enjoy the annual belt-sander races. Sixteen people brought their favorite sander to the wood track to see which one was the fastest.

Oak Bowl plans teen night in summer

Oak Bowl and Mario’s Pizza is proud to present Teen Night, 6-9 p.m., every Tuesday through the summer until Sept. 1. For a $10 entry fee, teens ages 13 through 18 can enjoy unlimited glow bowling, including a shoe rental, half-off arcade, all-request music videos, a personal one-topping pizza and a 16-ounce fountain soda, and door prizes.

  • Jul 17th, 2013

Whidbey Island Conservation district starting fresh produce program for Oak Harbor

The Whidbey Island Conservation District is coordinating a new program to provide residents on the north end of the island with the area’s freshest produce. The conservation district, based in Coupeville, is working with five Whidbey Island farms to provide a community supported agriculture program for residents in Oak Harbor and surrounding areas.

Lost dog, leaky hot tub spark calls

The Coupeville Town Marshal’s Office responded to the following calls:

  • Jun 28th, 2013

Outdoor dining proposal sparks discussion with business owners

A proposal by a downtown business to encroach on public parking for outdoor dining has other area businesses talking.

Bag shop owner aims for designer education

Kimberly Hoctor made three sales before she even opened her Coupeville store last weekend. Women saw handbags in a window display and walked right in, excitedly ignoring the signs informing customers of her opening date.

Whidbey General Hospital honors staff during National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6 through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. This year’s theme is Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care. There are 200 nurses, certified nursing assistants, emergency department technicians and Health Unit Coordinators at Whidbey General.

  • May 9th, 2013

Whidbey’s Biz Expo changes name, expands focus

An annual event showcasing the businesses operating on Whidbey Island is changing its name and expanding its focus. The Biz Expo, which takes place in the fall and organized by the Island County Economic Development Council, will now be known as the “Explore Whidbey: Business and Home Show.”

Small-business jobs to get boost from bill headed to governor

Small businesses will get help equipping employees with the skills they need to do their jobs better under a bill by Rep. Drew Hansen — the companion of a bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. Barbara Bailey — that is on its way to the governor for signing into law.

  • Apr 18th, 2013

Mozes named Whidbey News-Times general manager

Advertising Sales Manager Lee Ann Mozes was promoted this week to general manager for the Whidbey News-Times and The Whidbey Crosswind in Oak Harbor. “I’m really impressed with Lee Ann’s outstanding sales abilities and her excellent representation of the Whidbey publications in the community,” said Keven R. Graves, executive editor and publisher for the Whidbey News Group.

  • Apr 12th, 2013

Oak Harbor chamber raising money for OH firework show

For the first time, Oak Harbor community members at large have a chance to put their money behind the city’s patriotic pyrotechnics. Kathy Reed, the new director for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said the organization is running behind on its annual fundraising campaign for the Fourth of July fireworks show over the water. The chamber traditionally raises cash for the fireworks from within its membership, but this year the group is running short on funds.

Blue Goose now offering weather tracking

One thing is for sure, everybody loves talking about the weather. To give people something to talk about, a Coupeville business owner and amateur meteorologist has a weather station that puts local weather stats on the Internet for everybody to see.

3 Sisters Beef opens new store location

What started as a way to pay for college while providing a local source of beef for Whidbey Island residents has slowly grown over the course of 13 years.

Whidbey’s newest gun shop to open

If all goes as planned South Whidbey residents looking for a rifle or handgun won’t have to go to Oak Harbor or the mainland. Whidbey Arms is opening at Ken’s Korner Mall under the ownership of Freeland resident Jim Childers. “We’ll be opening Wednesday or Thursday,” he said as workers pieced together display cases, furniture and the security system.

Where’s the beef? It’s in San de Fuca

What started as a way to pay for college while providing a local source of beef for Whidbey Island residents has slowly grown over the course of 13 years. The North Whidbey company, 3 Sisters Beef, completed its latest expansion recently by opening a market in San de Fuca that will give people another place to purchase locally grown products.

Oak Harbor chamber’s logo gets a makeover

The Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce has gotten a makeover, of sorts. The chamber shared a logo with the City of Oak Harbor for several years, a useful endeavor that helped “brand” the Oak Harbor area. However, chamber officials feel the time has come to do a little branding of its own. “The old logo has served its purpose very well, but there has always been a certain level of confusion that goes along with having the same logo as the city,” Kathy Reed, Oak Harbor Chamber’s executive director, said.

  • Mar 24th, 2013

WSU starts looking at options of joining Greenbank Farm

As leaders for the Port of Coupeville continue to sort out how Greenbank Farm will operate, another entity is looking at whether to establish a presence at the publicly owned farm. Officials from Washington State University’s Extension are talking with port officials about ways to expand the education program’s satellite facility in Mount Vernon. Tim Lawrence, director for WSU Extension in Island County, stressed that no decisions have been made yet, but any possible work at the farm could be a benefit for small farms and small farm agriculture.

Port of Coupeville starting search for new executive director

The commissioners for the Port of Coupeville are in need for a new director. The contract for Executive Director Jim Patton expires at the end of the year and he said he has no intention of asking for a renewal. He has been running the small port district for eight years.

Oak Harbor chamber ‘OHscars’ event salutes best in business

A star-studded crowd gathered at Bakerview Restaurant on Ault Field Road in Oak Harbor Saturday, Feb. 23 for an award ceremony honoring the best in local business. The “OHscars,” as the annual awards banquet for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce was dubbed this year, were presented in several categories, including customer service, employer of the year and business of the year.

  • Mar 6th, 2013

Greenbank Farm hires new trainer

Greenbank Farm Management Group hired a new farmer trainer straight from corn country. The management group named Jessica Babcock as the training director of the Organic Farm School, which has been breaking in new farmer for the past several years. She replaces Sabastian Aguilar, who will help administer the farm on a contract basis. Aguilar moved to Oregon to start a farm. Babcock comes to the Greenbank Farm from Decorah, Iowa, where she worked for the Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit organization striving to preserve heirloom seeds. She said the exchange is the largest non-governmental seed bank in the United States.

Carver creates buzz Saturday in front of Oak Harbor farm supply store

A wooden carving of an eagle came to life in front of motorists driving Saturday on State Highway 20 through Oak Harbor. “Buzzsaw” Bob Halverson, a Whidbey-based woodcarver, fired up his chainsaw to carve an eagle from a piece of red cedar. He worked underneath a tent located at the edge of the parking lot at Skagit Farmers Supply in Oak Harbor, within view of motorists, pedestrians and shoppers at the store.

Greenbank Farm welcomes new farmer trainer

A Central Whidbey farmer trainer center needed a new teacher and the Greenbank Farm Management Group tapped someone from corn country for the job.

Deception Pass retreat center gets a slow upgrade

Amid dealing with thousands of tourists, persistent goose and funding problems, Deception Pass State Park staff have been busy completing several projects at a venerable retreat center. Park staff showed off their latest accomplishment Thursday night by inviting folks to see the Cornet Bay Retreat Center’s recreation hall, which provides valuable meeting space for the groups that enjoy the retreat center. Jack Hartt, manager of Deception Pass State Park, said workers spent the better part of a year replacing the walls, roof and floor of the recreation hall and installed a porch.

Bayview Market now taking applications

Vendor applications for the 2013 Bayview Farmers Market are now available online at the market website, The opening bell for the island’s biggest farmers market will ring at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27.

  • Jan 23rd, 2013

Reed takes helm at Oak Harbor chamber

Sound Publishing’s loss will be Oak Harbor’s gain. Kathy Reed, editor of the Whidbey Crosswind, was chosen as the new director of the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Reed will take over for Jill Johnson, who left the chamber after being elected as a county commissioner. Jason McFadyen, president of the chamber board, said the chamber received a lot of great applicants for the position, but that Reed stood out in the end.

Coupeville’s Prairie Center removes pumps

All things must eventually come to an end and this week it was Prairie Center Red Apple’s old gas pumps. That chapter in the town’s history was literally sealed Tuesday with a blurp and gurgle as workers topped off the store’s three underground gas tanks with concrete. “We just couldn’t be competitive,” said Ken Hofkamp, the store’s owner for the past 40 years.

Port of Coupeville looks at applicants for economic development grants

The Port of Coupeville is seeking grant proposals from nonprofit organizations looking for funding for activities that are consistent with the port’s values of economic opportunity and environmental stewardship. The application process stems from a change in regulations the commissioners for the Port of Coupeville formalized in 2012. Prior to that, each proposal was given consideration on a case-by-case basis.

  • Jan 11th, 2013

Oak Harbor gallery caters to the equine lifestyle

Horse lovers of all kinds have a place to indulge their passion. The Noble Horse, open on Pioneer Way across near the intersection with Hathaway Street, provides a unique store that allows folks to purchase the artwork, clothing, gifts, books and accessories that highlight their love of the equestrian lifestyle.