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A fresh cup


New Willamette Coffee House owners look to keep spirit of shop intact

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Kaycie and Brad Bingham, posing with 6-year old son T.J. and 4-month old Hudson, recently bought the Willamette Coffee House from Amanda Davidson. Five months ago, when Kaycie Bingham was pregnant with her second child, she knew that a career change was in order.

As an assistant manager at B.J. Willy’s restaurant, Bingham worked mostly night shifts. She wanted to be able to tuck her children in every night, and an idea came to her in a conversation with Willamette Coffee House owner Amanda Davidson.

“You should buy my coffee house,” Davidson said.

The wheels began turning quickly after that conversation, and Bingham officially took over the coffee house Feb. 15.

“I’m a total people person,” Bingham said. “I’ve been in the industry a long time. ... I was looking for something I could do with my family and an opportunity to work for myself.”

Bingham and her husband, Brad, have hit the ground running since taking the reins. Though the coffee, supplied by Longbottom Coffees, will remain the same, the Binghams are working to add new items like sandwiches and breakfast food to the menu, and they spent a weekend painting the coffee house.

“We want to make it warmer in here, so it’s not so bright,” Brad Bingham said.

But fundamentally, Kaycie and Brad Bingham want to protect the identity of a coffee shop that is widely considered to be a community staple.

“They do a lot of stuff with the schools and the parks — Amanda was really involved in the community,” Brad Bingham said. “West Linn is just such an awesome community. We just want to continue what (Amanda) has done. The city really supports this place, so we want to keep that up.”

To that end, the Willamette Coffee House will continue to host the Peter Rabbit breakfast and fundraisers with the nearby Willamette Primary School. The Binghams also hope to become more involved with local farmers markets and perhaps the city’s Music in the Park events.

“We both love people and love meeting new people,” Kaycie Bingham said. “So the opportunity to go out and do that — we really look forward to it.”

Though they live in Gladstone, both Kaycie and Brad Bingham have strong ties to West Linn. Kaycie Bingham spent four years working at B.J. Willy’s, while Brad Bingham was born and raised in a West Linn home his parents have owned for 35 years.

“People have really been receptive to what happened,” Kaycie Bingham said. “They’re sad Amanda has left, but they think she’s passed it on to someone who is equally excited as she was.”

Davidson was known for being a runner, and Kaycie Bingham said some customers have asked about her own running habits.

“I tell them I want to be a runner when I grow up,” she said with a laugh.

As they continue to acquaint themselves with the new business, the Binghams are simply looking to meet as many community members as possible.

“We’d just love for people to come visit us,” Brad Bingham said, “and introduce themselves, because we want to get to know people. We’re both here a lot.”