SUMAS — Total building permits and related fees in the City of Sumas have already seen a 14 percent increase over all of 2018 — with four months still to go in 2019.

Sumas Mayor Kyle Christensen said the bump-up in building activity has been a mix of residential and commercial. There has been expansion in the city’s industrial park, and a few businesses have been making additions.

With a population boom, the city is hoping to encourage a grocery store or a bank to return to Sumas, filling the absence now, Christensen said.

He said some vacant buildings downtown are amenable to such businesses. 

“The city is willing to work with a grocery store or a bank that would be willing to expand to the city of Sumas,” Christensen said. “With the growth we’ve seen in the city, this would be a good time for those two entities to come back.”

Christensen said Sumas has some programs, and some economic development funds, available if a bank or grocery store wanted to move in.

The nearest grocery stores now are Everson Market eight miles south, or to Lynden Safeway or Food Pavilion, which are 14 miles away. 

“It’s a significant drive, especially for our older population,” Christensen said.