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Three prominent downtown Canby business are closing or moving to a new location in another town

DANIEL PEARSON - Parson's Canby Pharmacy, established in 1954, is one of three downtown business closing this month.Parson's Canby Pharmacy has closed for good, Judson Roy Home Furnishings owner Shawn Varwig said he is closing the showroom portion of his business and moving it to Lake Oswego "to focus on the home staging and interior design portion of our business (located on Second Avenue), which is doing well," and Cheryl Frampton, owner of The Big White Goose, said she is moving her store to Oregon City.

At Pappy's Greasy Spoon on Thursday morning, Aug. 3, many patrons seated at the lunch counter were discussing the sudden news that Parson's Canby Pharmacy, which opened at the corner of N. Grant Street and Second Avenue in 1954, was closing its doors for good the following day.

"They've been open there since I was a little kid growing up in Canby," said Walter Bush, 69, a life-long Canby resident. "It's just sad to see a mainstay of our downtown closing. It seems like no one had any idea it was coming either. I didn't even hear about it; I just saw the sign in the window this morning."

Jeff Peterson, Parson's owner, provided the Herald with a flyer that included a message to all Parson's customers.

"After heart wrenching consideration, we have decided to merge our pharmacy business with Rite Aid," the flyer states. "As of Aug. 4, all of your prescriptions will be filled by Rite Aid in Canby."

Rite Aid officials did not return calls seeking comment, and Peterson told the Herald he wouldn't have an occasion to fully discuss the details of his family's decision, and what lead to their closing the store, until after his customer appreciation barbecue. That barbecue will take place in front of Parson's on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Varwig said he and his family will continue to live in Canby, and he plans to retain his position as one of seven Canby planning commissioners.

"It's just a small bump in the road but the move will be positive for our business," Varwig said. "It'll be a good thing and really give us an opportunity to focus on the aspects of the business that are working and making money."

Varwig made several impassioned pleas before the Canby City Council in recent months, asking city officials to take a larger role in helping to market business in downtown Canby — not just in the Pioneer Industrial Park — and to attract more companies to the downtown core.

"Trying to do business in a small town is difficult," Varwig said. "There's just not enough customers coming downtown to warrant keeping the store open."

"I think our city leadership needs to really dig deep into what can be done to attract businesses to the City of Canby. They do a fantastic job of leading the city, they just really need to figure out what is causing businesses to close and how to work as a community to ensure the economic vitality of all businesses, both big and small."

Frampton said she is moving The Big White Goose, located on First Avenue downtown, to a location in downtown Oregon City that is attached to the Singer Hill Café at 623 Seventh Street. She said her store will remain open until Aug. 19 after the Canby Junk Re-Funk, the event created by Frampton that's now in its second year. She said she plans in the future to continue holding the Junk Re-Funk in Canby, which drew thousands of people downtown last year and is expected to have a similar turnout this year.

"It came down to either I had to close down my business or move," Frampton said. "I didn't want to close down because there is still demand for the (Annie Sloan chalk) paint, but the cost for rent in Canby and the lack of a continuing marketing program from the city, as well as the lack of foot traffic — I couldn't sustain it."

Frampton opened The Big White Goose two years ago, and she said her new location in Oregon City offers a smaller space, which will allow her to concentrate on bigger events and more classes in the future.

"The good news about these businesses closing in downtown Canby is that once everyone's gone it provides a chance for it to be revitalized," Frampton said.

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