It is hard to believe it is almost Easter. Love the holidays as it presents the opportunity for all of us in the family to slow down and truly enjoy each other. Then there is our annual Easter potluck dinner and plastic easter egg hunt with 100 dollar bills inside (that part is a joke).
I knew after weeks of beautiful sunny warm weather in Portland the rain had to return and it has. Great for spring skiing but off the mountains – we got a bit spoiled driving with our sunroofs open in March. Of course in reality none of us would live here if we did not actually love this climate. Rain is good for being inside – I need inside time right now so it comes as a blessing.
Thursday we will open a temporary coffee bar operation in our building here on Water Ave. – called – what else – “Temporary Coffee”. Opening in the former Bakery Bar space for about a month. We are only doing this to offer espresso and pour over to our coffee starved neighbors in the surrounding buildings & neighborhood. It will also allow those in Portland (outside the inner coffee community) for the first time experience our single origin WAC coffee’s – roasted by no other than our partner Brandon Smyth (formally with Stumptown).
Pour over master Tom Pikaart (www.pouredover.com) from Visions and master barista Drew Woods from Vivace have re-located from Seattle to be two of WAC’s first full time baristas. Both are amazing in terms of their knowledge and passion for coffee. Below we see them hanging out today in the new “Temp” space with Rita from Albina Press – Dan Baumfeld of Neptune Coffee in Seattle – Matt – Jared Mockli – Jesse Kahn and Sarah Dooley all down from Seattle to say hello.
In about a month or so when Bunk will take over this “temp” space – we hopefully should be ready to do a soft open in our new 2000 square foot retail space.
Matt & Brandon have been on Craigs list daily for WAC and the finds have been no less than amazing! Last week it was 14 – very 70’s – black fiberglass molded chairs that were found in a warehouse in Southeast. Today we scored a 5 foot sign that says what else “Portland”.
We hope the plumbers will be finished this week as well as the electricians so we can finish the sheet rock. Counter tops are from 100 year old re-claimed / re-planned wood – two feet wide and thicker than two Chicago phone books or one Chicago deep dish pizza.
Photos will be forthcoming here on the bellissimo blog as we progress.
Today my early mailing of the April Fresh Cup arrived at the office. It included both the article I wrote on coffee and consulting in Morocco as well as the co- authored piece with Lon LaFlamme on Waves Coffee in Vancouver B.C. a company I consulted with on site last fall.
Today I am submitting a marketing article to Fresh Cup for their May edition – here is a paragraph preview of that piece:
Each month we read about chains closing more and more unprofitable stores. Many experts estimate that retail specialty coffee was “overbuilt” by approximately 20 percent. I totally disagree. I think at least 20 percent had to fail in a tough economy because of poor business practices and because they failed to understand the nature of specialty coffee. The more than 2000 operations that closed in the past two years closed because they had built their businesses on sand, and in many cases did not offer the right product or know who their customers were. In addition, many operations (even chains) chose unbelievably poor locations. Many of the independents that went out of business were trying to copy the chain model and did not understand their community or how to set themselves apart.
Now back to prep for our biggest show of the year in LA -Our annual SCAA show/ Two weeks from today we will be in Cali with a zillion other coffee professionals. Chuck Jones will be picking me up from the Burbank AP and then we will tour coffee in LA with a contingent of Anacafe folks from Guatemala that day.
One major highlight for me of this years show is the Keynote Rick choose – a true hero of mine – Ariana Huffington!
If you are attending Matt & I will be in Booth #2155 – Hope lots of our coffee family from around the world will stop in.