Downtown Centralia shops gone after building owners elect not to renew month-to-month leases


Alivia’s Attic and Pacific Coin & Collectables — formerly known as Slusher’s Coin Shop — are no longer among the many antique shops that line downtown Centralia’s Tower Avenue after the owners of their building elected not to renew month-to-month leases the businesses had for the spaces.

Faye Mellon and her daughter, Kelly, owners of Alivia’s Attic, and Dan Waller, owner of Pacific Coin, have both moved their stores’ inventories into storage and are currently looking for new business spaces to rent in the area.

Alivia’s Attic was mainly devoted to antiques, art and jewelry while Pacific Coin offered collectable coins, silver and gold bullion, military uniforms and memorabilia, along with some antiques.

According to both the Mellons and Waller, they’ve heard rumors the owners are planning on renovating the spaces and connecting them, preparing the space for a medical clinic of some sort that will rent the renovated spaces.

Remodeling efforts on the building’s second floor for apartments are already underway.

Throughout February, the stores had signs posted offering discounts stating they had “LOST OUR LEASE MOVING SALE.” The Chronicle visited the stores last week to gather details about what had happened.

Faye and Kelly claimed the 30-day notices to vacate the property came unannounced in the middle of January, and that the owners of the building, located at 107 N. Tower Ave., didn’t offer them a chance to sign a long-term lease either. Originally, they were told to leave by the middle of February.

“We had to negotiate that we had the last month paid, and they talked about reimbursing us,” Faye said.

“And no option to stay or renew,” Kelly added.

They ended up being told they had until Feb. 29 to leave.

With no warning they would be losing their lease, Faye said they are now having to simultaneously look for a new location while putting everything in storage.

“If they had given us enough notice, I did know of some places (to move to), but they’ve been taken up,” Faye said. “You need to be on Tower Avenue if you’re an antique shop. It’s where everybody comes.”

Support from the local community has helped though over the past month, as they have been able to sell inventory, lessening their storage burden.

“It’s awesome the support we’ve been getting from old customers, everybody’s been coming in,” said Kelly.

The building is owned by Lee Ingrim, his son, Spencer, and Josh Cole. The Chronicle reached out to Spencer to talk to him about the situation. 

Spencer said he offered Faye and Kelly the option to sign a long-term lease on at least two separate occasions, but they had chosen to remain month-to-month.

“They didn’t lose anything because they didn’t have a (long-term) lease to begin with,” Spencer said.

According to Washington state law, building owners renting spaces month-to-month are only required to give a written notice of “30 days or more” informing tenants the lease is being terminated.

He added that Faye also told him business at Alivia’s Attic hadn’t been going that well.

“It’s a tough choice, but if a store is only month-to-month and they aren’t doing well, that’s just the way business goes,” Spencer said.

He added he and his father have a long history of business in the area as, despite being from Olympia, they own the Lewis County Mall, along with other properties in the area.

While packing the store up into storage was no stressless task, Waller said he saw the writing on the wall that his time in the space might be up.

“I just knew something was up as I was watching things go down,” Waller said. “Josh (Cole) told me some people wanted to come in to look at recent sprinkler work they did here. When they came in I thought, ‘Those aren’t sprinkler people.’”

He told both Faye and Kelly about it, but they didn’t think much of it.

Waller said it wasn’t too long after the sprinkler inspection that the notices to vacate were delivered. He said he was never offered a long-term lease either, as he heard the owners already had a long-term agreement signed with the incoming medical clinic.

“I like Josh, he’s the guy that does all the construction stuff, and he apologized to me,” Waller said.

Although he still hasn’t secured a new location, Waller did see a silver lining to the situation as he would no longer have to deal with being in an old building with a leaky roof. Pacific Coin had been at its Tower Avenue location for at least 20 years, Waller said.

“I’ve always had problems with water, even when they re-did the roof just recently,” Waller added. “One day, that whole section behind the counter became a shower, it was rather comical.”

Waller plans on reopening Pacific Coin once he finds a new location in the area, as do the Mellons with Alivia’s Attic. The Mellons added they will still be a vendor in downtown Centralia’s annual Antique Fest, scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 2.