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After officially opening in early December 2022, Anna Marie Adams’ Hela Provisions embarked on a journey of self-discovery, finding its place in the Bellingham business landscape with an experienced local merchant at the helm.

Kicking off December of 2022 with its first holiday wine tasting — alongside the myriad of specialty food items and delicious wares at Hela Provisions — wine tastings were the perfect pairing. Hela Provisions now hosts monthly wine tastings.

As the business continued to grow, Anna partnered with Sustainable Connections to host the Sandwich Showdown event.

“Molly Bressers of Sustainable Connections reached out to me, they were doing the Sandwich Showdown for the first time, and she told me even if I wasn’t serving a sandwich, I had the ingredients for one,” she says. “I ended up making gift baskets for the winners with sandwich making items. Their focus is local, so I included cheese from Ferndale Farmstead & Twin Sisters Farmhouse, San Juan Island Sea Salt, Girl Meets Dirt, Coro Salumi, Mama Lil’s Peppers, and Kettle Chips for the local ingredients.”

With an established kitchen, Hela Provisions provides grab-and-go sandwiches and catering services, such as charcuterie boards. Photo courtesy Hela Provisions

After the Sandwich Showdown, Anna signed up for the Sunnyland Stomp, a popular annual event that showcases magical creators and shopkeepers in the Sunnyland neighborhood.

“We had about eight vendors for the Sunnyland Stomp,” says Anna. “I had five in the warehouse and three tents outside, and then I had this vermouth rep who is super awesome and really fun; we did a booth tasting. That ended up being an amazing event with a lot of community involvement.”  Mark your calendars for this year, which will be Saturday July 20.

Hela Provisions’ kitchen was officially established over the summer, opening up Anna’s services to include charcuterie and sandwiches.

“When the kitchen was done, I could then do a little bit of catering,” she says. “I started plugging away at sandwiches, but I’m still just one person running the shop, so I focused on doing a couple different sandwiches. I eventually made that more like a grab-and-go situation.”

Hela Provisions also started hosting Paint and Sips with local artist Nikki Lang. “She’s a really awesome artist who does palette knife painting,” says Anna.

Every week, Anna offers a variety of sandwiches until they sell out, with rotating flavors and a gluten-free and veggie option. Photo courtesy Hela Provisions

Longtime friend and local business owner, Marisa Papetti of Marie’s Bees, has also been doing cheese making classes with paired food and wine. “We did a little holiday market with wine and cheese tastings for Small Business Saturday that included Leah from Pumped Bellingham, Jennifer of It’s the Sweet Things and her mother, Faith, with Sea Jewel Canvas Co.

“It’s been about a lot of connections; making, reestablishing connections and creating new ones,” Anna says. Bellingham businesses support each other, and Hela Provisions fits right into that loving mold.

Evolving Shop Space

One side of the shop — which is located behind Options High School and very close to Bellingham High, with plenty of easy parking — is a warehouse with storage in the back and a loft. “Before, the shop was in the front room and upstairs there was office space, which I really had no use for,” says Anna. “In the beginning, it was good to have the shop in the front space since I didn’t have as many products. But with this warehouse space I started having more wine tastings, using it more and more.”

Eventually, Anna realized she could utilize the building in a more productive way, eliminating the stress of paying rent on square footage that wasn’t being used. When October arrived, Anna felt it was time to remedy her space issues once and for all. “I decided I needed to start thinking about how to make the rent situation better and improve my use of the space,” she says. “Having the shop separate from the event space in the warehouse wasn’t really working either. ”

Hela Provisions is an excellent place to buy a gift for any special occasion. Photo courtesy Hela Provisions

After listing the space as available, a possible tenant came up very quickly, one who had somewhat of a personal connection to Anna. “I got this email from my current person that shares the building with me, a cello teacher,” says Anna. “She has been teaching for 25 years out of her garage and always wanted to start a nonprofit, then grow a studio where people can afford lessons on a sliding scale.” They met on a Monday, and she came in two days later to try out the space’s acoustics. “There has been so much music in my family and as soon as she started playing the cello, it gave me chills and I loved it. That has been a real game changer for me; she’s the perfect tenant. Everyone loves the warehouse vibe so it’s a win-win having the shop part of the warehouse space.”

Moving Forward

Now, more than a year into running her own specialty shop in Bellingham, Anna offers a much larger selection of products like cheeses, pastas, sun-dried vegetables, chocolates, vermouth, and so much more.

“I’ve been trying to grow my selection of favorite things,” she says. “I have a lot of items from Italy, Spain, and Portugal but I also carry lots of fabulous local items.” Many of the local products I’ve carried since they started out and it’s wonderful to see how they’ve grown and succeeded.”

Since opening in December 2022, Anna has added a plethora of items to her shop’s roster. Photo courtesy Hela Provisions

As the shop continues to grow, Anna focuses on creating lush gifts as well as many products that are perfect for elevating your pantry or home bar. 

“This is such a great place to get a gift and it’s more than just a gift shop,” she says. “There are so many things I carry that I use on a regular basis, like this lemon olive oil that somebody asked me to bring in and now I use it on salads, olives, soft boiled eggs, and vegetables. It’s the specialty items that can change a simple meal into something special.” 

The newest growing category has been non-alcoholic cocktail and beverage options. Hela Provisions has a great selection for those not drinking at all or just looking for quality substitutes for moderate adaptations. The Saturday tastings have been quite popular. 

Sign up for the newsletter online, check out the events on Facebook and follow on Instagram for all the current happenings at Hela Provisions.  

Hela Provisions
www.helaprovisions.com
2000 Franklin Street in Bellingham
helaprovisions@gmail.com
360.746.5678

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