Historically, Eagle Point has not boasted much of a music scene, or café culture. Nor was it the type of community that would sustain an upscale espresso shop. But when Teri Gonzales purchased the then candy and espresso operation, Serendipity, from Debbie Millien (my mother) in 2004, she set about changing common conceptions about Eagle Point’s downtown district.
While many of the downtown businesses have come and gone in that
three-year span, her clientele is growing, and she is looking to
expand. As an active member of the Economic Development Commission, she
understands some of the changes she would like to see are still
forthcoming; however, her store has become the relaxed coffee shop she
As a California transplant, she is quick to
point out that her Sonoma County roots lead back to a town roughly the
size of Eagle Point-not a large city. When asked how residents reacted
to her business, she says, "I would say 99 percent of the people were
very excited." That is not to say the transition was seamless. She
recalls one customer’s kind warning that her jazz music would probably
have to change to country, and a general lack of interest in her
Saturday morning music performances and open mic nights.
switch from a student-driven, high-energy hangout to the more sedate
café scene was also a gradual move for her, and the community.
Responding to the development plans for Eagle Point’s downtown area,
she says, "This is like a first glimpse of what it’s going to be like."
In addition to the face-lift she has given the historic building, which
was originally a bank constructed in 1911, she is remodeling the rest
of the downstairs. The growth will allow her to sell baked goods and a
limited menu of traditional café fare. She also hopes the added space
will draw crowds to open mic nights and live performances.
By Crystal Millien
Of the Independent