After almost 11 years in downtown Centralia, Dawn’s Delectables closing and passing location off Chehalis mobile food provider


Dawn’s Delectables Dessert & Sandwich Shoppe — a breakfast and lunch staple of downtown Centralia for nearly 11 years commonly known as the Shoppe — will soon be no more as its owner, Dawn Merchant, is moving on to a new chapter in her life, according to a news release.

“It was after celebrating the Shoppe’s 10th anniversary last year that I began to seriously contemplate what would be next for me,” Merchant said in the release. “Continuing to grow the business more with the many ideas I still have in my pocket, or to take a much-needed break and travel after a successful and fun, but demanding, 10-plus years.”

Located at 204 N. Tower Ave., the restaurant space won’t be vacant for long, as Merchant is passing off the location to Jessica Britton of JJ’s ToGo, a Chehalis mobile food business.

The last official day of business for the Shoppe will be March 30. All gift cards for the business will be honored through March 30, but are not redeemable for cash and are only good for food and store merchandise.

During her time in downtown Centralia, Merchant made the Shoppe a family business, working alongside her mother, Carla Hollinger, and her children, Jamar and Cameron Lawson. Additionally, Merchant’s sister and brother-in-law, Mardona and JimBob Custer, also worked at the business, along with Merchant’s niece, Imari Custer.

According to the release, Dawn’s Delectables survived a variety of challenges ranging from rising business and payroll costs due to inflation, COVID-19 closures and staffing shortages on top of the painful loss of Merchant’s mother.

Despite the challenges, Merchant kept her business’s doors open and, over the nearly 11 years, employed almost 100 other staff members over the years aside from her family, offering job opportunities to locals in the area.

“I am so proud and grateful to have been on this journey and to have gained the respect of the community and the many people who have supported me over the years,” Merchant said.

She said she wants her loyal customers to know this is not a “sad” ending, but a joyous time that will allow Merchant to transition to a new chapter in life while also supporting another woman-owned and family-operated business. Britton plans to offer positions to former Dawn’s Delectables employees to retain the staff.

“In meeting with and talking to Jessica and her team over the past few months, we are confident that JJ’s ToGo will continue to provide wonderful lunch options for our downtown customers and community,” Merchant said.

Britton will officially get the keys on April 1 and, according to the release, will take about a week to move in and set up the restaurant for JJ’s ToGo before officially opening for business.

“It is with a full and grateful heart that I would like to thank God and my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, all of my family, incredible customers, in-person and via takeout, and amazing staff who have supported me through the years with their encouragement, patronage, repeat business, orders, time and loyalty,” Merchant said. “Without them, Dawn’s Delectables would not have been the resounding success and downtown staple that it ultimately became. I have been extremely blessed and will treasure the many wonderful memories and the friends I have made along the way.”

For more information on JJ’s ToGo, visit its Facebook page here or find the business on Instagram.