This longtime Bellingham coffeehouse to shut down next month

·2 min read

A longtime Bellingham coffee spot known for its local products and events will close for good on Sunday, Feb. 6.

Stephanie Oppelaar announced on social media that The Black Drop Coffeehouse would be shutting down after 20 years in business. Much of that time was spent on the corner of Grand Avenue and Champion Street, but since September 2020 it has been nearby at 206 W. Magnolia St.

“We love you, Bellingham. It’s been a gift and pleasure to know you, to watch you grow, and to share this corner with you,” Oppelaar said.

The announcement on Facebook had nearly 100 comments in the first hour, with nearly all expressing sadness about the news.

“Black Drop coffeehouse is one of the defining businesses of downtown for me,” said Django Bohren, who co-owns The Comics Place in downtown Bellingham, on the post.

Along with being a consistent downtown spot for coffee-goers, the Black Drop was known for its events, including a 10-year run of Zombies vs. Survivors. Oppelaar also noted in the farewell post that they worked to be a safe and inclusive space for queer people of all ages.

The Black Drop was founded in 2002 by Teri Bryant and Alexarc Mastema. In 2010 they sold it to Oppelaar and two other employees, with Oppelaar eventually taking over full ownership and operating it with her husband, John. Stephanie Oppelaar has been at the Black Drop either as an employee or owner since 2003.

The eighth annual Save Our City: Zombies vs. Survivors event at Maritime Heritage Park in 2010 was hosted by The Black Drop Coffeehouse.
The eighth annual Save Our City: Zombies vs. Survivors event at Maritime Heritage Park in 2010 was hosted by The Black Drop Coffeehouse.

The reason for the closure was not stated in the post, and The Bellingham Herald has reached out for further comment. In a previous interview in 2020 about the move to the bigger Magnolia space, John Oppelaar said they were trying to adjust to the challenges of the pandemic by moving into a space that had more outdoor seating and would allow for more offerings beyond coffee and baked goods.

The owners plan on being at the Black Drop starting Monday, Jan. 31, to say goodbye to customers.

“We’ll be selling all our merchandise at 20% off so come grab a mug or t-shirt to wear and remember the best little corner coffee shop that ever was,” Stephanie Oppelaar said in the social media post.

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