Blue Moon Coffee owner Julia Fowler announced this week that she will relocate her popular shop from the Providence Mercantile campus in Lake Grove to an 1,100-square-foot space inside the Washington Federal Bank branch in downtown Lake Oswego.
Blue Moon will pour its last cup of Stumptown coffee at its current location on July 21, Fowler told The Review on Monday, and she expects to have her new shop up and running at 220 A Ave. in September. The counter and seating area are already in place at the new location, and Fowler says she hopes to move the cafe's equipment over quickly once the current location closes.
"I am very motivated to be open in the quickest time possible that ensures our success," Fowler said.
Fowler purchased Blue Moon Coffee in 2011, and it has remained in its current location since then. But Providence began marketing the Mercantile campus for sale last year, and developer CenterCal Properties has been working with Providence and the City on a plan to buy the site and redevelop it.
Fowler said Blue Moon's five-year lease ended in December and she has been operating on a month-to-month lease ever since. She quietly stopped selling gift cards and began searching for a new location earlier this year.
Any potential redevelopment of the Mercantile site is still months away at a minimum, but Fowler said Blue Moon reached a point where it became fiscally impractical to keep it operating at the current location.
"It's been very difficult to make business decisions with the uncertainty of our building," Fowler said. "One thing we have tracked meticulously is the daily sales numbers, which have steadily declined as tenants in our campus have relocated during the past year."
Fowler said she was inspired by the support and encouragement she received from the community while searching for a new location and was determined to keep Blue Moon in Lake Oswego. She said she was drawn to downtown because of future growth in the area — the Wizer Block, the North Anchor project and the Haladay family's B Avenue events center are all in various stages of planning and development.
The cafe will continue to serve Stumptown Coffee at the new location, but Fowler said she's also taking the opportunity to expand the menu with grab-and-go salads, wraps and fruit, as well as blended coffee drinks and smoothies.
"The national brands are all offering blended beverages, which has raised the desire for them, especially with millennials," Fowler said. "We believe we can deliver blended drinks in a way that is more responsible than adding a scandalous amount of sugar."
The location also features a conference room attached to the cafe lobby area, which Fowler says customers will be able to reserve for business meetings.
The new location won't be Fowler's only downtown venture. She also announced a plan to team up with Suzanne Buxton and Deborah Ulrich of On a Whim Studios to develop a small-batch coffee roasting business. Fowler said the plan is to add "specialty coffee service" at On a Whim soon, followed by a full espresso bar by the end of August.
"I feel very privileged to be partnering with these crazy talented women," Fowler said.
Looking back at her time in Lake Grove, Fowler said she's proud of Blue Moon's legacy, noting that two of her first employee hires after taking over the business are still with her. Those employees are expected to remain with the cafe — in fact, Fowler says all of Blue Moon's staff will be able to move to the new location.
In 2015, Blue Moon was honored as Small Business of the Year by the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, and Fowler has continued to play a key role in many of the Chamber's programs and projects.
"I've been very blessed with a great team," she said.