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No Ordinary changes lead to coffee shop

A forced move has new owner setting up a sit-down shop
by: Carole Archer, From left, previous owner Terri Lynn Link and friend and current owner Ann Day stand in front of No Ordinary Joe at Burnside Road and Main Avenue. The drive-thru coffee shop lost its lease and will be moving to a sit-down location across the street.

No Ordinary Joe has never been ordinary.

In 1997, the Gresham-based espresso drive-thru won second place in a national barista competition (first place on the West Coast - a coup even in the late 1990s). A few months later, No Ordinary Joe made headlines again. This time it was for a legal battle over the name. A shop owner in New Jersey tried to claim 'No Ordinary Joe' for his store, but Terri Lynn Link, former owner of the Gresham coffee stand, fought back. Eventually, she won and went on to open a second No Ordinary Joe less than 1 mile from her first shop.

'Some people wondered why we had another store only a few blocks away,' Link says. 'But we did it for the customers.'

The coffee drive-thru on Division Street has been a popular business for more than a decade. Sometimes, when the line got too long, Link sent customers to the second No Ordinary Joe, a few blocks north on Northeast Burnside Road.

'I know it seems like there's a coffee shop on every corner, but we give people an experience,' Link says. 'We give excellent customer service. And we get people out of there in less than a minute.'

Last year, the businesses were thriving, but Link was ready for a change.

'I was trying to simplify my life,' Link says.

She sold the business she had built from the ground up, but stayed on throughout the past 12 months as a sort of new business consultant.

'Whenever I'm struggling, I think 'What would Terri Lynn do?' ' says Ann Day, new owner of the two Gresham-based No Ordinary Joe drive-thrus and another, smaller No Ordinary Joe in Clackamas, run out of her husband's business, TRD Innovation.

These days, Day is asking, 'What would Terri Lynn do?' quite often.

That's because, a few months ago, Day received a letter from the property owners of her Burnside drive-thru, telling her that they had sold the land. Day had 90 days to be off the property. And then, the real dig - Day discovered that the new property owner was going to lease the space to his daughter for her own drive-thru espresso business.

'I went through a difficult time … and I thought about just having one location, but I decided to do something different instead,' Day says.

Undaunted by what she considers shoddy business dealings, Day has moved on. With Link's guidance and assistance, she will open the first sit-down No Ordinary Joe later this month.

The Burnside drive-thru will close Friday, Dec. 15, and Day hopes to be open in the new location, at 1888 N.W. Fairview Drive, in Burnside Commons, later that week.

The original No Ordinary Joe drive-thru on Division Street will not be affected by the closure of the Burnside shop or the opening of the new No Ordinary Joe.

Running a sit-down coffee shop is a totally different animal from a drive-thru, where consistency, speed and customer service are your main worries, but Day has plans for the new store.

'We've always had customers who said they wished they had a place to go for meetings, to just sit down and relax,' Link says. 'I've had loyal customers tell me they go to Starbucks because they need a place to sit.'

The new No Ordinary Joe will feature a VIP space for customers craving privacy; and Day is creating an old-fashioned carhop window for regulars who don't want to leave their cars.

The drinks will stay pretty much the same, using locally roasted K and F Coffee.

Day and her husband, Jason, are raising two boys, Jason Jr., 16, and Tanner, 8, and Day wants to use her coffee shop to better the community by offering a place for local youth to watch a movie or see a band.

'I have tentative plans to have music on Thursday nights and to be open later on Friday nights, so the high school kids have somewhere to go,' Day says.

Her new location, inside the Burnside Commons near the new Cost Cutter grocery store, is still close to Gresham High School, and convenient for students on lunch break or looking for a place to go after a Friday night football game.

'This has been a difficult time for me,' Day says of the still-raw thought of losing the Burnside drive-thru. 'But I owe it to myself and to my customers to give this a try.'

The new store will open 'within the next three weeks,' Day says. She plans to keep early morning hours, opening at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays, but has not yet decided on her final schedule.

For more information about the new store, call Ann Day at 503-491-5545.