Sunnyside Up, Going Down — Help a Brother, Be a Hero

sunnyside upThose of you who enjoy terrible things will take pleasure, as the rest of Corvallis mourns the loss of breakfast veteran Sunnyside Up. Despite becoming a model business with numerous connections across town and the unwavering support of many satisfied patrons, we may be waving goodbye to this community cornerstone.

“Gary sent me a letter that I got on July 6
saying I had 30 days to get out,” said owner Jon Gold. “The letter did not even include Gary’s phone number; I had to send him an email to ask him to call me.”

Gary Feuerstein and David Livingston are co-owners of Copper Gutter Properties LLC in Corvallis. With a name like that you may find it hard to believe, but they own a number of properties around town, including the one housing Sunnyside Up.

After a couple days, Feuerstein got back to Gold. As it turned out, his company had found a buyer for the property—apparently it was for sale—who had their sights set on the Sunnyside Up venue.

“I asked him how much he was selling it for and he said $2 million,” explained Gold after asking if he would accept competing offers. “I think he is lying about the $2 million because the building is worth about $980,000.”

Gold believes this was a ploy to encourage him not to argue.

“$2 million makes no economic sense from a business standpoint, considering how much income it brings in from its two tenants,” he said. The new owner’s stance on the matter remains unknown, as Gary explained to Gold that he was unable to divulge their identity. When contacted, neither Feuerstein nor Livingston were available for comment.

How does the community feel about this? “Only the people of the community can tell you that,” said Gold. Keeping that in mind, Sunnyside Up is known as a common meeting place for not only individuals, but organizations and even other businesses. According to Gold, at least a dozen customers use it as their office.

Sunnyside Up has a history of utilizing local merchants and suppliers, using locally grown fruit and vegetables when available, donating their compost to local farmers, and supporting fair trade coffee.

“We are part and parcel of the community; we support the arts, we support a lot of non-profit groups, and we support the Second Saturday concert series. So… I don’t know where those places are going to go,” said Gold.

Despite the tangible effects of losing his business, Gold feels for his people. “For me personally, the loss of 15 jobs and 13 years of hard work is a little heartbreaking.”

You’re thinking, “Man, we need a hero,” right? Well, this is where you come in.

“If 500 people kicked in $100 each Sunnyside Up could move someplace else,” said Gold. “I don’t know where that place is, but that’s the price tag at this point; it would cost about $50,000 for us to move.”

While still looking into possibilities and alternatives, Gold explained that a crowd-sourced project like KickStarter or Indiegogo may be an option. However, Gold does not have the time or energy to take that on himself. “My area of expertise is cooking, not Indiegogo campaigns. I wouldn’t know how to even go about doing that,” he said.

Here’s your hero cue… But seriously, if you have crowd-sourcing skills, help a brother out and contact Gold.

With unresponsive landlords and an eviction deadline, what comes next? From Aug. 1 to Aug. 4 Sunnyside Up will be selling their equipment. Gold wants the sale to be historic so he will be selling everything at a monetary loss.

After that, “I am going to take a couple weeks off, decompress, then probably look for a job in the short term, until I see what other opportunities there might be out there for me,” said Gold.

The only real good news is that the community has been showing Sunnyside Up and Gold lots of love during this darkest hour. “Business is great because lots of people are going to miss this place so they are stopping in one last time for a breakfast sandwich or cup of coffee.”

Whether you are a crowd source wizard or just a normal one, head on down to Sunnyside Up at 116 NW 3rd Street and offer some support. Be sure to thank Gold and his employees for all their hard work over the years or, you know, toss over a crisp $100 or something. For some, this may seem a numbers game or business deal, but for others Sunnyside has been a centerpiece of life. So here’s to you, Sunnyside Up, for helping Corvallis find answers to life and the universe, and everything with each cup of coffee.

By Anthony Vitale