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|Articles - May 2012|
|Monday, April 23, 2012|
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Both the North Williams and Schoolhouse cafés got under way after the developers asked Johnson to locate in their buildings.
And those unintimidating baristas? Johnson hires employees, many of whom receive health insurance, for the long-term; his very first employee now manages the North Williams café. Nurturing a stable work force has helped Ristretto expand even amid a recession and a doubling of coffee prices in recent years, he says. As margins tighten, employees are expected to grow their jobs, implement “operational efficiencies and bring ideas to the table.” Ristretto’s participatory culture extends to the frequent parties Johnson and Rommelmann host for staff; management and employees also take annual trips to the Sandy River. “We hang out together,” Johnson says.
A family-owned business, Ristretto has grown without investors, says Johnson with some pride, a fact he attributes in part to the relatively low cost of starting up a shop in Portland. “It’s been a bit of a crapshoot,” he acknowledges, singling out the decision to open a store on then-undeveloped North Williams as particularly risky. “But look at it now,” says Johnson, referring to the street’s thriving mix of shops, restaurants and housing developments.
In a town crazy for coffee, Ristretto offers the requisite cuppings — coffee tastings — and Johnson takes the sourcing of his coffee beans seriously, making regular visits to Central and South American growers “to relay standards for cup quality.” But unlike a new wave of elite Portland micro-roasters, accessibility, not exclusivity, is Ristretto’s game. Until recently, Beaumont customers could watch Johnson in the café’s glass walled roasting chamber, and Johnson says future growth will continue to be guided by community-oriented partnerships with other local businesses. “I like to keep things where I can see them,” he says, adding he has no plans to expand outside of Portland.
Not that he’s entirely closing off the possibility of following in the footsteps of local forbearer Stumptown Coffee, which opened stores in Manhattan a few years ago. “My wife is from New York,” says Johnson. “You never know.”
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development.
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BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST
Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.
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BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER
How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.
Friday, February 27, 2015
BY OB STAFF
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