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New Gresham coffee shop is inspired by the owner’s coffee-loving grandma

By Jashayla Pettigrew,


PORTLAND, Ore. ( KOIN ) — Alteria Ray comes from the Reynolds family, a Black family with such a strong impact in Eugene that there is a street , a building , and soon, a park named in their honor.

Ray’s family legacy has already been influential to generations of Oregonians, but she recently decided to continue that legacy in a different way — by opening a coffee shop in honor of her late, coffee-loving grandmother Lottie.

Before opening Lottie’s coffee shop in Gresham in early March, Ray’s main experience in the food industry occurred when she worked for the University of Oregon’s dining services at 14 years old. The business owner says her aunt brought her on to the job making burgers and fries, before she helped open one of UO’s first coffee shops, Common Grounds.

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“The atmosphere was always fun,” Ray said. “People were always happy. They were always joking. Yeah, they wanted their coffee and their pastries, but it was a way that everybody came together and that was the atmosphere that I wanted to bring back through a drive-thru.”

According to Ray, her husband had spent three years urging her to open her own coffee shop instead of spending her money at another local café. It wasn’t until late 2022 that she was close to granting his wish.

Ray says the business that she frequented was going downhill, leaving her without her morning coffee fix on some days when it’d randomly changed its hours. In December, she asked the owner if she needed any help with the shop. That’s when the owner told her the space was actually for sale.

“I hopped on the opportunity,” she said. “This is another making in history just because of my bloodline and where I came from.”

In the 1940s, Ray’s great grandparents Sam and Mattie Reynolds became one of the first Black families to settle in Eugene . With this new business venture, she’s adding on to the list of family firsts.

Lottie’s is named after Ray’s grandmother of the same name, who she says was a big pillar of her life.

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“She always drank coffee,” she said. “We’ve got to have her name on here because, no matter what, everybody that knew her knew she sat in her front kitchen window, facing out to the street, with her coffee and her newspaper every day.”

Grandma Lottie died of breast cancer, but Ray keeps her memory alive through a few tokens in the new coffee shop. There’s a photo of her in the store, in addition to the “Lottie Dottie” — a drink inspired by Lottie’s favorite dessert, German chocolate cake. There’s also the blackberry cinnamon rolls, a dessert inspired by the fruit that Lottie would always have her grandchildren pick. Soon, the shop will offer drinks with CBD oil in honor of Lottie as well.


“She was an avid believer, for her 79 years of life, in marijuana because it did help her fight breast cancer. And when she passed, she didn’t want chemo. That was her way of dealing with pain,” Ray said. “CBD doesn’t just relieve pain. It does so much more for your body than a lot of people actually know… I’ve been a testament to it because I stood by my grandmother’s side while that was her medication. We’ve got to bring it in because that is her journey.”

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Ray says her goal with Lottie’s is to change the stigma that came with the coffee shop previously located in the same space. She’s already worked on this by partnering with local roaster Portland’s oldest family-owned specialty coffee roasters at K&F .

In addition to the coffee, Lottie’s serves beverages with plant-based energy concentrate Lotus , and has its fair share of baked goods that includes danishes, muffins, cake cups and bagels.

Find the Black-owned, family-run business at 401 W Powell Blvd., in Gresham.

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