The Cambrian

Cambria's Wise Owl abruptly closes its doors for good

A pedestrian passes the now-vacant Wise Owl building early Tuesday afternoon. A 'CLOSED' sign is affixed to the shutters and a notice is visible in the window.
A pedestrian passes the now-vacant Wise Owl building early Tuesday afternoon. A 'CLOSED' sign is affixed to the shutters and a notice is visible in the window. The Cambrian

Loyal customers of the Wise Owl in Cambria are in mourning. The notation at the top of the “about” section on Wise Owl’s Facebook page says it all, in red: “Permanently closed.”

The eclectic venue in a historic building at 2164 Center St. (behind Robin’s restaurant) was part tiny bookstore crossed with a wine, espresso and noshing bar, which had evolved primarily into a cozy performance venue for everyone from poets and authors to well-known local singer Jill Knight. 

A planned Dec. 30 show featuring Karen Tyler was canceled.

Eileen Nunes had been the shop’s sole owner in recent months, although she began the enterprise in August 2013 with the help of a couple of other women. 

Wise Owl’s mad mix of attractions may have been part of its undoing, as some visitors and residents were puzzled about the shop’s real purpose. 

The shop’s mission statement explained that “The Wise Owl is a gathering place of art and soul. Come celebrate life with us and discover more of ‘whooo you are.’ ” 

Nunes’ Dec. 14 notice on the shop’s Facebook page explained that “at this time, The Wise Owl is closed, due to personal reasons. Thank you to the Cambria community for your loyal support, time, energy and good vibes.”

The notice urged Wise Owl fans to “continue to support live music and local food,” and Nunes noted that “I am grateful for the adventure, new friends and experiences — life changes in miraculous ways. Nothing but sincere warm gratitude to everyone who’s stepped through our doors.” 

The same notice was visible outside the building Tuesday, which was vacant of everything except the attached bookshelves and fixtures. A solitary 2-foot-high owl statue sat near the base of the wooden signpost in the courtyard out front, but the sign itself was gone, as was virtually everything else that had made the Wise Owl identifiable. A couple of cars were parked beside the building, but no one seemed to be inside.  

The end came less than a year and a half after the business opened in a space previously occupied by a wine bar/dress shop, Cambria Bicycle Outfitters and, earlier, Cambria residents Wilfred and Hazel Lyons.

An online want ad indicates that the Wise Owl’s restaurant and other equipment — from patio furniture to a $12,500 commercial espresso machine and $1,000 ice machine — is for sale. 

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