The former Parsons Canby Pharmacy on the corner of North Grant and Second Avenue has been purchased by Caldera International, a highly regarded manufacturer of hot and cold therapy wraps and other products for people and pets.
It seems fitting that the company’s founder and president, Daniel Godrey, who started out peddling his wares at every small town grocery store and pharmacy from Enterprise to Cape Blanco, would find his way here, 20 years later, to what was once the home of a beloved small town drug store.
In actual fact, Parsons was one of his first customers, having signed on in 2001 to carry the expanding Caldera product line.
Two years earlier, Godfrey had started the company out of his garage, selling what was then an unheard-of brand of hot and cold therapy products. But he had the goods: an easy-to-use, sturdy, reusable gel pack system that fulfilled its rehabilitative promise to help relieve aching muscles and joints, and his company soon took off.
Today, the Caldera line is a trusted medical product sold throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe serving retail stores, physical therapy clinics, hospitals and consumers alike, and is also taking the market lead in a revolutionary line of hot and cold therapy systems for pets.
In another one of those weird, “small world!” twists, Daniel, and his wife, Berniece, both grew up in Sherwood, and graduated high school a year ahead of Lori Arrigotti, co-owner of the Backstop Bar & Grill, their new neighbors across Grant Street.
He graduated from then-Southern Oregon State College (today, Southern Oregon University) with a double major in business and went immediately to work for Nike in their International Trade Department and, later, the Nike Retail Division. He founded Caldera after 10 years at the global athletic apparel and footwear giant.
Back in early August of 2017, the news that Parsons would soon close sent shock waves through downtown, and the loss of the local source of prescriptions, cards, gifts and souvenirs is something folks still talk about two years later.
The store had been, literally and figuratively, a center of downtown life, serving the residents of Canby for over 60 years. The previous owner, Peggy Peterson, had purchased Parsons with her late husband, Don, in 1971.
Their son, Canby Realtor Jeffrey Peterson, handled the listing and sale. The 13,000-square-foot property, which also boasts its own parking lot and a loading bay, was listed at $1.3 million. Terms of the deal with Caldera were not disclosed.
The sale closed on Friday, Aug. 16, after being listed as pending for about six months.
Planning Director Bryan Brown confirmed that he and his staff “worked fairly extensively” with the new owners to confirm their planned uses for the building and what would be allowed in the downtown commercial zone. Their plans for an interior remodeling layout were also discussed, with a site plan review submitted to the city and prepared by the CIDA firm (Commercial Industrial Design Architecture) in Portland.
“They should be good to go for applying for and receiving a tenant remodel permit through Clackamas County when they are ready to do so,” Brown added.
He and Senior Planner Sandy Freund explained that Caldera’s planned used of the Parsons building will primarily be a mix of office and “tenant flex space,” which includes a variety of business and professional activities detailed in the Canby Municipal Code. These are outright permitted uses in the downtown zone.
Secondary uses for the property will include a conference and break room, reception area and storage areas, as well as an approximately 438-square-foot space to assemble Caldera gel packs. According to Brown, this will consist of two machines about the size of a drill press: one that fills the packs with gel and another than seals them. The 456-square-foot loading dock will also be used.
The square footage are important, Brown explained, because Caldera needs these non-office uses to stay within a certain, allowable percentage.
“If Caldera exceeds the space/percentage limitations with their operation, they will need to locate within the industrial park for a much larger operation,” Brown said. “As it stands, the proposal is for their main office to locate into the subject building and have a small portion dedicated to the gel pack assembly. The remaining portions of the building are to be used as flex space for office, business or professional uses commonly found in the C-1 zone.”
Designs submitted to and approved by the city planning department also suggest plans to carve out two additional spaces that could be rented to tenants, both approximately 1,500 to 1,600 square feet in size. The slightly smaller space would use the diagonal doors that once opened onto the gifts and card section of Parsons. The other would use one of the two doors on 2nd Avenue and would occupy the southwest corner of the building.