The Bellingham Business Journal released its 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards on Feb. 11. Several hundred Bellingham Business Journal readers selected 15 local businesses from a variety of categories, said Evan Marczynski, a Western Washington University graduate and reporter for the Bellingham Business Journal. They have been putting out this list for the last four or five years as a fun way to connect with readers, he said. They do not keep detailed winners from past years, he said.
Best free Wi-Fi: The Black Drop
Nestled between the looming brick buildings of Champion Street sits The Black Drop Coffee House. The Black Drop was voted best location for free Wi-Fi by readers of the Bellingham Business Journal.
Its windows nearly covered by posters for punk bands and local events, the Black Drop seems a natural location for college students. Its regular customers range from students to local business people to city employees, said Scot Casey, who co-owns the Black Drop with Stephanie Oppelaar.
Casey has worked at the Back Drop for four years. During this time, he was given the opportunity to become an owner, he said.
“We offer incredible coffee and a really good atmosphere for people to sit and drink,” Casey said.
The Black Drop was named best coffee by Cascadia Weekly 2012, and Casey the best barista.
Casey thinks the Black Drop was voted best place for free Wi-Fi due to their friendly atmosphere and nearly unrestricted Internet access, he said.
“I think one of the core things the Black Drop stands for is an open forum, “ he said. “It’s a place for people to freely communicate ideas and participate in discussions, whether that’s in print media, in person or online.”
The Black Drop also sponsors an annual event called “Save Our City,” a zombie-themed water balloon fight, Casey said. A date has not been announced for this year’s event, but previous events have taken place in May, according to the Black Drop’s website.
In coming years, Casey plans on expanding the Black Drop by adding more seating and another bar, he said.
Despite awards, zombies and expansions, the Black Drop’s mission has not changed.
“Coffee is our passion,” Casey said. “We are very intense about our coffee and our customers’ experience.”