Greenhouse is a destination storefront in downtown Bellingham, offering high-end furnishings for every room of the home. Located on the corner of Cornwall Avenue and Holly Street, the shop’s long window-lined walls reveal an interior of gorgeous dining table displays and chic living room collections. Look closer and you’ll see an abundance of cookware, linens, housewares, furniture, and even gifts for kids.
Though most Bellingham residents probably recognize Greenhouse as a long-standing downtown business, it’s likely not many recall the store’s origins in 1972 as a tropical houseplant retailer. Even fewer might know that in late 2017, Greenhouse was a hairsbreadth from closing its doors forever.
Husband-and-wife duo Chris Foss and Foster Rose had spent months trying to find new owners for their 44-year-old business, eventually announcing plans to close in November 2017. Closing signs filled the windows, and merchandise dwindled by the day.
Learning of the store’s plan to close, BreAnne Green, at the time local grocery store Haggen sales director, emailed her husband, Eric, from a business meeting, intentions clear and certain. “I want to buy it.” Eric suggested they talk about it over lunch, to which BreAnne said, “There’s no time!” Within a month the deal was settled. Chris and Foster celebrated their last day on January 31, 2018. The next morning, BreAnne opened the Greenhouse doors for the first time. It was a seamless transition, BreAnne says. Anyone not privy to the quick purchase didn’t notice a change, says Greenhouse sales and merchandise manager Samantha Stephens. And why would they?
BreAnne has built the store to be a continuation of the past, capitalizing on Chris’s years of success through consistent evolution. In their first year, BreAnne and Eric focused on getting products back on the floor and building Greenhouse up to where it was before nearly closing. “We didn’t want to change it super abruptly,” says Stephens, who has worked at Greenhouse for five years. “It’s been a building year, but it’s been a great year.” With a few additions, the store looks and feels the same. Bringing back contemporary bamboo furniture from Kent-based company Greenington and adding new twists to store staples were the first developments. Anticipating the needs of the community, BreAnne introduced a selection of baby products after baby-focused shops all but disappeared in Bellingham.
Greenhouse offerings change seasonally. Plans are for spring to usher in bold new patterns on high-end cushions created for both indoor and outdoor use. Nature will be brought into living spaces with a new line of wicker and white-washed wood patio conversation sets. The furniture floor on the second level of Greenhouse is expected to include fresh pops of color. The store will also see additions in motion upholstery, such as recliners and sofas, along with a new line of cribs and rockers.
With a direct community focus, BreAnne says the Greenhouse staff is dedicated to making each customer feel warm and welcome, offering customer service unlike anywhere else. The staff often remembers purchases of regular shoppers and are enthusiastic in helping them create a space gradually based on style and color. BreAnne says Greenhouse has direct ties to each of their vendors and stands by the products offered in-store 100 percent. If anything unforeseen happens to a purchase (such as being delivered damaged), customers can rest assured, BreAnne says. “We can take care of them because the vendor will take care of us.”
In the past year, BreAnne has depended on the support of the community and has since devoted herself to giving back, with plans to host pop-ups for vendors that don’t have brick-and-mortar stores. It’s been a whirlwind, but quite an exciting ride for BreAnne, Eric, and the Greenhouse staff. When asked how she’s doing, BreAnne says simply: “It feels like home.”
1235 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham
360.676.1161 | greenhousehome.com
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