We met with Dave and Lauren in January, 2015 — shortly after their new coffee shop sprang up on the ground floor of the historic Blagen Block building (also home to Airbnb and Voodoo Doughnuts).
This is a fantastic space! How did you come into it & were you located somewhere else before?
This is the second coffee shop we’ve opened. Our first adventure was a walk-up stand on SW Broadway downtown Portland. Being that it was a small shop, it was a great way to learn how to run and grow a new business on a smaller scale than a full cafe that we are in now. After 2 successful years we were approached with an opportunity to open Simple Local Coffee in a beautiful space in Old Town Portland. After a grueling month of 16 hour work days our space was transformed into the beautiful cafe that it is today.
What aspects of your business make you most happy?
Lauren: I’ve been a barista for 8 years. I’m one with the espresso machine and happiest when I can serve my crafted coffees and espressos directly to customers. Starting my day and other people’s days with a smile and conversation — that makes me truly happy.
Dave: Working in the kitchen. I love baking, especially with fresh ingredients, and there’s no shortage of those here. Making good looking and tasty muffins and caramel sauces is the most enjoyable part of the business.
Lauren: Dave’s also the mastermind behind the design of the cafe, including the new, hand built bar.
What makes your space great for getting work done?
Our cafe has a very laid back vibe. We provide fresh flowers on your table and acoustic blues radio echoing throughout the high ceilings of the cafe. People love to kick back with a coffee mug for here and zone out to their laptops.
Why do you feel it’s important to support this community?
Our motto is so simply local, that’s what we named it. Simple. Local. Coffee. If we cannot make something in house, we source it locally. A customer who purchases 1 mocha provides support to local coffee roasters, local chocolate makers, local dairy farm, and your local coffee shop. That’s 4 local business off of a single delicious mocha. We have a small table dedicated to display locally made products and events as well. Our local vendors include Sterling Coffee Roasters, Dragonfly Chai, Holy Kakow, Sunshine Dairy, Jasmine Pearl Tea Company, and Pacific foods soy and almond milks.
Name two things we should know when we work from your space.
We make our own caramel sauces for flavored lattes. A caramel latte and a house made Marionberry muffin pairing is oh so good! We have bar seating, table seating, and use of the main lobby of the building that has more tables as well as comfy chairs to lounge in while working. Our building is registered historical and there are some great artifacts and literature to check out in the lobby, including a peak into an old Shanghai tunnel and maritime museum displays.
What’s the best way for this community to support you?
The best way for the community to support us is to walk in with a smile! We also depend on word of mouth marketing. If you come in and have a great experience, do us a favor and tell a friend.
How can our team at Workfrom create the best experience possible for you and your business?
It was so great having your meetup here. When we get our loft open (by March) with additional seating we would love to show that off to your crew! We are also applying for a beer and wine license so people can enjoy a grilled cheese and tomato soup on house made bread with a locally made beer on the side.