Toggle’s Bottle Shop is closed on Monday, in downtown Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Toggle’s Bottle Shop is closed on Monday, in downtown Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Citing landlord dispute, Toggle’s closes in downtown Everett

The popular taproom shuttered Sunday. “Everett needs a cooperative landlord-tenant relationship in the commercial district,” a co-owner said.

EVERETT — A popular and beloved bottle shop in downtown Everett poured its last pints this weekend after five years.

Toggle’s Bottle Shop co-owners Colin and Danielle Lothrop said they had planned to sell their business this summer, but a conflict with their landlord prevented the sale from going through.

“We were going to close at the beginning of August,” Colin Lothrop said. “We kept going another seven weeks to try to facilitate the sale as a goodwill.”

According to Colin Lothrop, the owner of the 1420 Hewitt Ave. building told the potential buyer they “weren’t interested” in the sale at that location.

“Everett needs a cooperative landlord-tenant relationship in the commercial district,” Colin Lothrop said. “If they can’t pull that off, nobody’s gonna bother.”

The bottle shop closed throughout August and September to address major plumbing issues, costing around $37,000 and several months to fix. Godfrey Chan, who has co-owned the property for seven years, said he had to consider raising the rent to cover the expense. From that point on, the relationship soured between landlord and tenant.

The Daily Herald on Monday spoke to Chan, who owns the property along with his family under HY Investment Limited.

“I really liked their business, but they are the ones who wanted to end their lease,” Chan said of the Lothrops. “I never asked them to leave. So I don’t understand why it sounds like I’m the one who’s putting them in that position.”

Chan said he was not introduced to the potential buyer for the Toggle’s Bottle Shop business until mid-September. As is standard procedure, Chan said, he wanted to ensure the next tenant had a strong financial background, including good credit and business experience.

Chan was unable to verify that information with the potential buyer before the Lothrops wrote on Facebook that “our landlord has made continuing an impossibility.” Chan called those accusations false.

“The last few months have been very intimidating,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to be forced into selling “to someone I know nothing about.”

“Would you do that?” Chan asked. “Would you leave your place to someone you don’t know?”

By Thursday evening, the boutique craft beer market and taproom had mostly been cleared out. Just two beers were offered on tap as Toggle’s customers stood in a long line to buy discounted craft beers, ciders, wines, glassware and apparel. Some stayed for one last beer, and to commiserate over the closure. They sat next to empty brick walls that used to spotlight local artists.

“Toast for our Everett landlords who would rather have a city full of empty storefronts instead of renting to reliable business owners,” one fan wrote on Facebook.

“This is so sad, we can’t get most of these beers anywhere nearby,” another wrote under the announcement.

Named after the couple’s dog, Toggle’s Bottle Shop carried an expansive yet well curated showcase of both American and international brews, from Everett’s Aesir Meadery to Rodenbach, a 201-year-old brewery in Belgium. The neighborhood hangout had 21 taps of beer and cider and more than 20 cooler windows of bottled and canned beers in the back. Those were mostly empty by Thursday evening.

Toggle’s temporarily shut down a week before officially announcing they were going out of business. Fans had crossed their fingers hoping for good news, or at least the promise of a future location.

Chan said he is open to leasing to a tenant who wants to continue running a taproom, but the experience of the past few months has left him nervous.

The Lothrops said they’re happy to support anyone who wants to make a Toggle’s 2.0 happen, but for now, they’re taking a step back to focus on their family.

“I’m going to raise my kids,” Colin Lothrop said as he rang up customers on one of Toggle’s final nights.

Taylor Goebel: 425-339-3046; taylor.goebel@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @TaylorGoebel.

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