Walking through the coffee shop and rustic home decor business that she owns with her daughter, Holly Marshall could smile to herself while watching people enjoy themselves in the space that had opened to the public only a week earlier.
“It was a very busy day and there were two ladies crocheting in the front seats and I thought, ‘that’s really cute,’” she said. “Then I looked over and there was a whole table of men and they were laughing and joking. In the gathering room, there was a birthday party going on with a family. And I looked in this room and everybody was on their computers and I thought, ‘this is really cool because people are really enjoying it for different things.’”
Timber Towne Coffee celebrated with grand-opening events Saturday, including a midmorning Philomath Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony. The business first opened its doors on Jan. 4.
The business venture is not the first mother-daughter arrangement for Holly. Years ago, she operated with her mother, Betty Hughes, a rubber stamp and scrapbooking supply business called Embossing Art Co., which was first located in Sweet Home and later in Tangent.
“My mother and I owned a business for 22 years together that she started when I was 14,” Holly said. “It grew from when she borrowed $400 and became a very successful business. Then eventually for health reasons and different things — 9/11 happened and that kind of affected our sales and with all of it combined, we decided to dissolve the business.”
Holly raised her kids and then took care of her mother. After she passed away, the idea of running a business again took hold.
“I started in over four years ago looking for a location here in Philomath to open a storefront that had all these rustic home decor things,” she said. “And over those four years, just one thing after the other kept falling through from leasing to buying to trying to build something.”
In the meantime, her daughter, Brierre, earned a business degree from Oregon State University, graduating in June 2019.
“She was like, ‘Mom, I need a job so let’s go into something together,’” Holly said. “So we started looking for something.”
Brierre had worked at McGrath’s Fish House in Corvallis through college and enjoyed interacting with the public. Some sort of work in the public service industry seemed like it could be a good fit.
“I worked as a legal assistant for a while and I didn’t like the office job and I liked the customer service aspect of it when I was a waitress, so I kind of fell into that,” Brierre said.
The mother-daughter team didn’t have an easy time finding space in Philomath, however, a continuation of the struggles that Holly had gone through earlier on.
“We started looking for something and tried to get a lot to build on and that fell through,” Holly said. “Then we tried to lease a building here in Philomath and invested time and money in that and that fell through. And so I got to thinking, ‘OK, this is not meant to be somehow because it’s just getting too hard to get something.”
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Not long after the latest disappointment, the phone rang.
“Literally, like two or three days later, we got a phone call from the city manager here that said this building was available,” Holly said. “So we came to look at it and she was also thinking, ‘Mom, why don’t we combine coffee with your home decor because there’s no sit-down coffee shop here in Philomath.’ I said, ‘OK, sounds good,’ and here we are.”
Various businesses have operated out of 1427 Main St., through the years, including an outdoors shop, clothing boutique, realtor’s office and telecommunications business. The building had been divided up into several offices, although the owners did begin to make changes to it to bring in a restaurant, City Manager Chris Workman said.
The building features about 2,300 square feet.
“I just thought it would be something fun to do and there’s not one here in Philomath,” Brierre said about how she came up with the idea to run a sit-down coffee shop. “I thought it would be a good business opportunity.”
Timber Towne Coffee features a full line of coffee options, as well as tea, and serves cookies and biscuits (including biscuits and gravy).
“We want to keep it simple, that’s for sure, so that’s why we only have biscuits and cookies,” Brierre said about the food side of the menu. “I think we just thought biscuits would be different.”
Added Holly, “We eventually want to maybe expand the line of flavors on the biscuits and do maybe cheddar biscuits or blueberry or that kind of thing. We thought we’d start simple and then just as we get settled in, expand things. But we thought biscuits were cozy and warm for people and yummy.”
The business also features the home decor products that Holly creates, something she’s been involved with for around 13 years now.
“I go out and do what I call ‘junking’ and I just go out anywhere from estate sales to literally junkyards, and I’ve even pulled things out of dumpsters — everything I think would be cute home decor and that’s different and rustic,” she said. “I clean things up and put them up for sale so people can decorate their homes with rustic stuff.”
Items from various other craftspeople are also available.
“Someone locally makes these candles and someone else is making signs and different cute home decor things ... someone’s making earrings,” Holly said. “So it’s all like local in this area and that’s definitely what I want to keep. I don’t want to be full of a bunch of things I’ve ordered online to tear out of boxes and display. I want things that either handmade or recycled or repurposed.”
So far, Timber Towne Coffee has been a hot spot to visit in town. After all, a good number of folks have been hoping for a sit-down coffee shop in Philomath for a while now.