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Work-life imbalance ends in coffee house sale

Coffee House in the Grove is operating under new management and ownership but its beloved pastries and caffeinated beverages will stay largely the same.

Forest Grove residents Feng Li and David Chen recently purchased the coffee house at 1932 21st Ave. from former owners Mike and Julie Olds.

The Oldses decided to sell the shop because they had little work-life balance: “We were getting so busy and it was consuming us and our lives.”

They hadn't yet decided to sell the business, but when Li and Chen approached them about it, the Oldses agreed.

“We decided that it would be best for someone else to move it forward,” the couple said. “We wish the best to the new owners.”

The new owners might need it. Mike and Julie weren't the only ones overwhelmed by their time-consuming duties. The previous owner of that space — Karen Mossbarger, who ran Caffe Montecassino — shut down because she, too, found the business too time consuming.

Li and Chen, who are married, have lived in Forest Grove for about seven years and run the popular New Chinese Cuisine on Main Street. “We wanted to learn new things and try having a coffee shop,” Li said. “We’re so excited.”

The couple took over about two weeks ago and now work there until about 11 a.m., when they go to work in their restaurant a few blocks south.

Li said they’ve hired employees with barista experience to help them serve the tastiest beverages. They’ll still offer fresh baked goods and pies and plan to add sandwiches and salads. Li said they’ve also thought about adding traditional Chinese pastries such as steamed buns.

For now, shop hours will stay the same — Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. — but they may expand to open Sundays in a couple months.

“The transition has been smooth,” Li said. “So far so good.”

Mike and Julie will miss running the place.

“We so enjoyed the incredible support and commitment our customers provided," the two wrote via Facebook. "We developed some incredible friendships and that is the part we will miss the most.”