November 6th, 2020

Rooted in McMinnville: Mac Market’s Britt Guthmiller

Walking into Mac Market, I sense an odd dichotomy of space. This large, open, and recently renovated warehouse looks cavernous. Still, it’s comfortable. I want to sit down with a hot coffee and spend some time, perhaps catch up on some reading.

Tables are arranged for social distancing. Servers by the baked goods and espresso machine welcome you with open, attentive eyes while their smiles are concealed behind masks.

Mac Market, a food court located at 1140 NE Alpine Ave., is growing as one of McMinnville’s new community gathering places. On this day, a woman sips her coffee at one table while working on a laptop. Four others enjoy their conversation around a large table. Young children and parents enthusiastically join library story time.

I order that coffee (made with beans locally roasted at Flag & Wire Coffee) and settle into a chair for a morning conversation with Mac Market manager Britt Guthmiller.

Mac Market, McMinnville, Oregon. Photo by Dan Shryock

Q: How did Mac Market come about?

Britt: Mac Market was originally started by Diana Riggs and her husband Todd Severson. (They visited McMinnville) and the day they got here I think was lemonade stand day. They thought that was really charming. They loved McMinnville and they ended up staying here.

Q: I understand you worked with Diana and Todd in Seattle and they invited you and your husband, Cory Kemper, to join them on this project in McMinnville. How did the market concept come about?

Britt: Diana and Todd found this building. It just had great bones and great feelings inside. So, they worked with MEDP (the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership) to figure out what McMinnville was missing and with Visit McMinnville to figure out what the town wanted and what holes we could fill.

Q: I see the coffee shop, a bakery store, and a kitchen. What else is here?

Britt: Mac Market owns a cocktail bar, a beer and wine bar, the Collab Kitchen, and the café. We own and operate those four spots. Then Flour & Fern bakery is an outside tenant, Mary Wenrich. She’s great. And Haley Queen owns Sustainable Rituals. She was our previous café manager. She started with us and helped us develop the café. Once COVID hit, she decided to start her own business.

There’s also a really nice courtyard in the back with a little garden and a mural. The Food Court Patio was an original pre-COVID idea.

Q: How has the community embraced Mac Market?

Britt: When we first opened just before COVID-19, a lot of friends we had made we’re coming every week. Those were our regulars, and they were so lovely and helpful.

Our main focus is to have a staff that is really inviting. We want this to feel like our home and you are coming in to have dinner at our home. So, that was the vibe and a lot of people got it, which was really nice.

Q: Now that you have lived here for more than a year, what’s your favorite Mac thing?

Britt: My favorite Mac thing? I love walking down Third Street at night after everything is closed. That’s my favorite thing to do and see … and just be there.

Q: What keeps you rooted in McMinnville?

Britt: The perfect days. My husband and I took a walk (during an early visit) and everyone was so nice to us. I honestly expected it to be too good to be true. It was just lovely. That would never happen in Seattle, as great as Seattle is, so that was a perfect day for us.

That’s what keeps us rooted here. I won’t get that anywhere else because the people that I saw along that perfect day are the people that live here. So, it’s those days. That almost makes me want to cry because those days are great. We’re just very happy being here.

Dan Shryock
Dan Shryock regularly writes about McMinnville and Yamhill County.