Case Study Coffee Roasters Will Not Reopen.
[Updated again on 7/12/20]
I was told by multiple people that Case Study Coffee has closed. The closure plan has been mentioned by multiple people in the industry over the past four weeks. But I waited until I got an email this morning from someone I trusted who said they had walked past this morning and everything had been moved out. Finally, I posted about it, and though I have been hearing gossip that every location was closing, I only mentioned Alberta Street until I got confirmation.
A few days later, the owner, Wes Russell dropped me a note saying this was not the case, that they planned to eventually reopen, but tonight he contacted me again saying they would be closing permanently.
I will update this story more as soon as I can.
Interesting that they have not responded to anyone on social media in weeks. More importantly, they have not offered support or said a word about BLM, and they specifically used the word “riot” here.
PDX Food Dude says
I use to work for the company. When they decided to close down it was confirmed permanently. There are screenshots of the owner responding after announcing it and choosing to let everyone go. They treated everyone poorly and the team suffered because of their lack of management/communication. The team was amazing, the owners were awful at management. Seeing this letter makes me so mad after the bullshit they put the team through. It’s not ok.
we can shine a light on who these people really are if you’re interested
Hulya Tasoren says
Let me shine a light: Wes and Chris, starting w their coffee catering, working only the 2 of them at the start, built Case Study Coffee. They took classes in coffee sourcing and making from the best in the business in Seattle and San Francisco. One shop at a time, they searched for and took spaces in Portland that was lacking in many mays and designed and built them for what they are today: all original counter spaces designed and hand built, floors poured by their own hands, toilets put into the locations for the first time and tiled by themselves. And then, at the first location, Sandy in 2009, they worked behind the counter themselves at the start, slowly hiring and adding personnel. They added each shop after a couple of years of running the one in operation.The last few years, location owners in Portland and Vancouver started coming to them to request that they open a shop at their location. The last two opened last year at SW 4th and Salmon and SW Broadway at PSU at the location owners’ requests to serve the people who work around those locations. While they were busy doing all this, they had a manager at each shop, as well as an over all manager, highly paid positions. This year as they closed the shops due to the pandemic, they had 32+ employees. As they closed, they provided support for everyone to help each file for unemployment and COVID-19 support, just ahead of the website crash that happened due to too many filing for aid in the USA. At that time, they also aided a whole sale food purchase to share, such as rice and beans, all partially paid by the company and distributed to the employees. From the start, they provided paid training for the people they hired. They worked hard behind the scenes to keep the places working well, spotless, developing new products and keeping the quality of the products the tops. They sent select employees to coffee arts competitions, served themselves at times as judges at times, and promoted the events. They formed close relationships w coffee bean farms they sourced from in Central America, they sent some of their employees, paying their expenses, to these farms in Central America.They invited the Coffee Farm owners / operators to give presentations to employees and customers alike, where they provided great food and drinks themselves… they paid well their employees, in addition to the high tips they earned, their hourly wages came to at least $20 to $25… they installed paid sick leave early on, and even gave paid paternal leave to some of their employees who became fathers. They trained their coffee roasters from amongst their employees, and chose their store managers from amongst their employees, often giving their people chances too grow in business and improve their skills. As the links below this article show, they were chosen the best in Portland by the customers a number of years. Their stores gained international attention when the Alberta location was chosen by Architectural Digest as one of the coffee shops you have to see before you die, the only one to be chosen from Portland, and only one of 4 from USA. A company from Japan chose to film a commercial there. Many times, they rented a cabin at Government camp, invited their employees and significant others to come and stay and make a community Thanksgiving dinner and breakfast over a few days. Later they had a Thanksgiving dinner spread at one of the shops for everyone each year, Chris and moms cooked for everyone as well as people who wanted to bring something or cook were invited to participate. They had catered company picnics each year, including food Chris cooked, a well trained and skilled chef herself. They had Holidayget togethers and 4th of July parties where they catered and cooked for their employees. They paid yearly bonuses. Often they took very little to no pay themselves from the company to make things work for everyone, and most of any earnings went into the company to grow it. They may not have been the best managers as some comments indicate above, but at least they tried to grow a good Portland business, provided good working conditions and value for people of Portland. Also, they matched all BLM $$ contributions made by their employees, in addition to their own contributions.
Beautiful eulogy, Hulya, for this wonderfully creative business. As a long time customer, I am deeply saddened to hear about them closing. I loved their roasts, their cafe on Sandy and downtown across from the Library, the cafe culture they built up over the years. Every time I dropped in (perhaps 50-100 times over the years), it was always a warm and welcoming place with great coffee, delicious bites, and a sense of community with so many people coming to spend time out of their day.
I hope they can rebuild down the road, and they will always have my support and the support of so many other patrons.