December 3, 2020
Welcome to Tourism Talk, we're here to help. Visit our website at

In this issue:
  • Whatcom Think Local Gift Card: What it is, how to sign up, and online merchant training!
  • Washington State Department of Commerce Opening Applications for Round of Emergency Funding to Small Businesses
  • Legislators From All Four Caucuses Pledge Urgent Relief for Washington’s Hospitality Industry in the 2021 Legislative Session
  • Holiday happenings, Member news, regional events, and more!
Virtual Gift Card Connects Purchasers to
Local Businesses - Now!
Local Whatcom Organizations, Have You Heard?

The Whatcom Think Local First Gift Card, a community-based digital gift card that makes it fun and easy to keep local spending local, can be purchased at and used at any participating local merchant in Whatcom County.

TO DO: If you are locally owned, make sure you are a participating business! It's free! Contact

Whatcom Think Local First Gift Card is supported through a collaboration between Whatcom County Chambers of Commerce (Bellingham Regional, Birch Bay, Blaine, Ferndale, Lynden, Mt. Baker Foothills), Sustainable Connections, Downtown Bellingham Partnership, Historic Fairhaven Association, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, the Regional Economic Partnership (REP) at the Port of Bellingham, employers, and merchants.  

With the Whatcom Think Local First Gift Card purchasers can write a personal message to send along with the card to family, friends and colleagues via email, text, or physical copy. Send now or schedule in the future. Recipients can choose to spend it at one or several of 160+ participating merchants in Whatcom County.
Virtual Card Works Online or In Person, Locally
All digital and always available on your phone, the Whatcom Think Local First Gift Card is a great gift.

TO DO: Buy now for fantastic employee gifts. Support the local economy and delight your staff.

Act Fast for Bonus Match Offer
While supplies last, bonus gift cards will be given to those who purchase gift cards. Visit

TO DO: Help promote this program that will help local businesses—this “card” sends reminders for holders to spend the balance and all bonus cards push transactions for our local businesses by the end of December.

Sasquatch is coming out of hiding to support Whatcom businesses!
Catch him shopping, eating, and recreating . . . safely!
Think Local First Whatcom Gift Card Merchant Training
Get the full scoop and any help you need!

Please join us on Monday, December 7, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. to learn how to take full advantage of the Think Local First Whatcom Gift Card powered by Yiftee.

Find out how to take orders via your POS and through your online portals. Get support. Learn more about employee training. Get your questions answered.

When: Monday, December 7, 2020 11:00 AM-12:00 PM America/Los_Angeles.

Description: Learn how to take full advantage of the Think Local First Whatcom Gift Card powered by Yiftee. Find out how to take orders via your POS and through your online portals. Get support. Learn more about employee training. Get your questions answered.

Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:
Passcode: 778319
Or join by phone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592
Webinar ID: 835 4512 8218
Passcode: 778319
Funding will be first come first serve! Go here to start your application right away.

Starting the week of November 30, 2020 applications will open for another competitive grant program – called Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants (WWSBEG) 3.0 – which is designed to continue to provide financial support and relief to small businesses throughout Washington State. Through the Port of Bellingham, Whatcom County’s associate development organization, numerous relief grant programs, including Working Washington 1.0 and 2.0 were processed and distributed. Round 3 of this grant program, however, will be administered via Washington State Department of Commerce and the National Development Council (NDC).
Washington Hospitality Association President and CEO Anthony Anton was joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from across the state in a press conference on Nov. 23 to commit to working on urgent relief for the hospitality industry. “The hospitality industry has been hanging by a thread. Before this latest shutdown, we were estimating that 35 percent of our state’s hospitality businesses would close permanently and this latest shutdown is only going to make that worse,” Anton said. “We appreciate the governor’s $70 million of grants that he announced, but we also know that’s just a start,” he said, adding that it covers about 2 days of a four-week shutdown.
Low-barrier, community COVID-19 testing through the Whatcom County Health Department and Whatcom Unified Command will soon be provided at a new location at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden. The new location will provide shelter from winter weather and replace current testing sites. Testing will continue to be available five days per week, including one weekend day. The location change is effective Tuesday, Dec. 1, and will be reflected in the test scheduling software.
At its meeting on Tuesday, November 24, the Whatcom County Council, acting as the Health Board, passed a resolution affirming that racism constitutes a public health crisis in Whatcom County, joining other cities and counties across the state and the nation with this resolution and committing to take steps toward racial equity. “The first step in healing is to recognize and diagnose the symptoms,” said Barry Buchanan, Chair of the Whatcom County Council and Health Board. “The data clearly show disparities in health outcomes for diverse communities. This resolution helps us to acknowledge those disparities and begin the healing process, and take actions to correct these societal flaws.”
by Steven Arbuckle
Satori has made a name for itself as downtown Bellingham’s only cannabis store, and by focusing on the medical marijuana community. Now the company is looking to the future by going back to its roots, including changing back to its original name, Piece of Mind.

Justin Wilson opened the first Piece Of Mind store in Spokane in 1997, as the master’s thesis for his business degree. Known as a “head shop,” this type of store sold gear for marijuana smokers. At the time, there was a lot of excitement around the new technology of intricate and artistic water pipes that smokers could collect and admire, as well as use for smoking.
The Downtown Bellingham Partnership has announced today plans for the 2020 holiday season in Downtown with activities ranging from an Online Marketplace, to new Destination Downtown itineraries, to Santa Sightings and more. “This season it’s more important than ever to shop local and support our independent businesses,” Lindsey Payne Johnstone, Programming Director for the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, said. “We’ve been working to create opportunities for locals to do this online from the comfort of their home, or plan for safe-spaced traditional holiday experiences in the neighborhood.”
Free photos with Santa, locally grown and cut Christmas trees, nine different homemade pies and a new cinnamon-flavored vodka are featured Dec. 2-24 at Bellewood Farms & Distillery. Gifts made by local residents, daily baked goods and apples from a bountiful harvest also are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Bellewood Farms is located at 6140 Guide Meridian, about halfway between Bellingham and Lynden.
Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen is figuring out how to safely handle service during the fall for its guests and staff. With that in mind Chuckanut has decided to offer delivery in Bellingham! Food, beer and merchandise are all available to-go and delivered.
Effective Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, Whatcom County Library System buildings will be closed to the public. WCLS staff made the decision to close library buildings after consulting with Whatcom County Health Department officials, who encouraged the change in response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Whatcom County and to further reduce the spread of transmission. Libraries will continue to offer curbside pickup and online resources, including WiFi from library parking lots.
by Hilary
The 2020 holiday season is here and this year, let’s keep it local! Find that perfect gift at one of Bellingham and Whatcom County’s unique shops and help support our community. Local stores are undoubtedly struggling, but they are still hoping they can finish the year strong. While making your family and friends’ holidays bright with a perfectly picked gift from one of our local retailers, you are also making the holidays brighter for our local artisans and merchants. 
by Lorraine
Although we’ll all celebrate the holidays in modified ways this year, Allied Arts of Whatcom County is making it easy to shop for everyone on your list with online and in-person shopping. The 41st Annual Allied Arts Holiday Festival of the Arts will feature the wares of over 100 local artisans and craftspeople. You’ll find a broad showcase of holiday goods including one-of-a-kind gifts, specialty foods, jewelry and paintings.
by Lorraine
Fairhaven’s annual holiday activity, Winterfest, will be a little different this year, but it’s still a creative and fun outing for the whole family! From Thanksgiving through December, Fairhaven village will be filled with twinkling lights and the crisp sea air of Bellingham Bay. You can come for specific events or stop by anytime during normal business hours to explore a variety of boutique businesses.
by Lorin
When the sun starts to set earlier, and the year starts to come to a close, Whatcom County lights up with Holiday Happenings. Spend this 2020 holiday season exploring and support the incredible local businesses we have in Whatcom County. Due to COVID-19, holiday happenings will look a little different this year, please check with any activity directly via their contact information before attending.
by Brandon
2020 has been a year like no other and as we continue to adapt, we continue to find new ways to support local businesses like our local independent breweries and taphouses in Bellingham and Whatcom County. It’s time to embrace a new philosophy; enjoying drinks outdoors —no matter the weather. Bellingham breweries and taphouses have upgraded their patios, parking areas, and beer gardens to better serve you during the rainy season. 
by Lorin
Not sure which restaurants and breweries are offering to-go and curbside pickup in Bellingham and Whatcom County? This list of restaurants and businesses provides visitors and locals with everything they need to know to find great food and support our community.
by Lorin
As a Western Washington University student, it may be your first-holiday break away from home. The holiday season will look different this year, but you can still spend it exploring Bellingham and supporting the incredible local restaurant and shops we have in Whatcom County.
by Lorin
Please check our Travel Advisory page for the latest guidelines and restrictions for Washington State and Whatcom County before planning an outing. We also encourage contacting the events directly via their contact information on event listings below. We will continually review this blog and our Events Calendar to provide the most updated information on events as possible.
During these times of physical distancing, it is important that our community works to remain socially connected. The events calendar serves as a hub for Whatcom County businesses, restaurants, stores and other organizations to share their events and online activities.

Dec 3 - Dec 23

Time & Cost Varies depending on specific part of festivities
Dec 3 - Dec 27

Time: 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
December 3-14

Time: All Day
$5 per person
December 3-25
November / December 2020
Our region is full of beauty! Send us your scenic photos from all around the county and enter them in our latest contest for a chance at a prize! Yes, members can enter. Members can also donate prizes. Enter here.
Questions? We are happy to answer them for you.
Give us a call at 360-671-3990, email us or visit our website at

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229