It’s the end of an era on the corner of Holly and North 2nd Avenue, as Canby’s beloved, family-run downtown coffeeshop, Gwynn’s, announced plans to close its doors permanently at the end of March. And one thing’s for sure: Downtown Canby will never be the same.
“During the last five years, we have met some of the finest people we could possibly imagine,” owner Mallory Gwynn said in a January 21 Facebook video. “We have seen your newborn babies. We’ve watched and celebrated as your families are growing up. We’ve laughed with you, we’ve cried with you.
“We’ve shared music together and had some very deep conversations from time to time. Wrapped in trust and trustworthiness, you have become family to us. However, as you know, in life, all things eventually do come to a close. And this is that time for Gwynn’s Coffeehouse. And it is with a deep sense of gratitude and thanksgiving that we bring things to a close at Gwynn’s.”
Gwynn, who had previously served as director of the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce, made it a point to mention that he filmed Saturday’s video from the family’s home in rural Clackamas County — a nod to his once-weekly Facebook videos announcing Gwynn’s soup menu or other specials.
“As you can see, I’m not in the kitchen doing soup right now, I’m at home,” he said. “It was about six years ago, actually right here at this table, that this family began the process of building our business plan. We worked diligently for about nine months around this table to put together our ideas, explore our individual gifts and talents, and lay down a plan to build a place of community where people could come and feel at home.”
Even in downtown Canby, where mom-and-pop still tends to be the rule rather than the exception, Gwynn’s was a uniquely family-run operation. Mallory and his wife, Sheri, were both fixtures at the downtown café, while four of their five daughters — Tori, Leona, Madyson, and Alyssa — also worked there full-time.
“I want to acknowledge our girls and how much we love them, and how much they’ve given of themselves over the last five, almost six, years,” Gwynn said. “Having a family business is not always easy, but they made it worth the work.”
While a closing date has not yet been announced, Gwynn said the shop will not renew its lease at the end of March.
“Please know that this decision certainly hasn’t been made lightly,” Gwynn said. “We’ve agonized over this decision. We’ve cried over it, but we believe it’s the right time for us. And we pray that you’ll understand, and we actually ask that you send us on with your blessing.”
The family plans to sell the business, including its recipes and equipment, and “offer ongoing support as needed” to the new owners.
“It is our desire to sell our business to someone who is ready to take this business and actually take it to the next level,” he said. “We know that this would be a great opportunity for the right person. So please, if you know somebody, send them our way.”
Gwynn said he plans to retire and return to his favorite hobbies, gardening chief among them, while the rest of the family will take some time off and evaluate their next steps. He thanked the community for their support, including during the brutal early months of Covid-19.
“There are so many people that have helped us along the way and we will be forever grateful to you for that,” he said. “We went through some difficult times and so many of you in so many ways helped us through those times.”
Gwynn’s opened in January 2018 in the former location of the Place to Be Café and Judson Roy Home Furnishings, and quickly established itself as the community’s default meeting place for personal and professional gatherings — or, as the Gwynns preferred to think of it, “Canby’s living room.”
Countless community and church groups, whether official organizations or informal groups of longtime friends and acquaintances, have made it their second home over the years — which is all the Gwynns ever really wanted.
“I think back to our early days of planning and wanting to create a space of community,” Gwynn said in closing. “I feel if we’ve done anything right, I think we got that one right. We’ll miss the daily conversations, we’ll miss the laughter and the singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and so much more.
“I’m sure there will be many tears in the next couple of months. And please pray for us that we could navigate through this peacefully over the next few weeks. … Again, we want to thank you so much for all you’ve done. We truly love you.”
Help us build a sustainable news organization to serve Canby for generations to come! Let us know if you can support our efforts to expand our operations and keep all of our content paywall-free. #SwimWithTheCurrent!