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Profiles of the 2011 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

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Articles - March 2011
Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Stumptown employee Brian Keeffe inspects some of the coffee roaster’s finest beans. In addition to standard benefits, Stumptown keeps employees happy in some creative ways, including sending several of them overseas last summer to staff a temporary coffee bar in Amsterdam.
Matthew Dawson teaching a class of California roasters the Stumptown way.
Anna Keeffe makes coffee at Stumptown. The company employs about 100 in Portland and another 50 in Seattle and New York.
Coffee signs in a Stumptown café. The roaster will consolidate its headquarters in an old Salvation Army building in Portland in the near future.
Matt Lounsbury, director of operations, says Stumptown’s employees are “great people who are inspired to be here and want to stay with us.” // Photos by Eric Näslund
If you know anything at all about the Portland coffee roaster STUMPTOWN COFFEE (NO. 7 BEST LARGE COMPANY) — that it was founded by colorful hipster Duane Sorenson, that it insists on paying a fair price and then some to its foreign coffee growers or just that its coffee can make someone's day — then some of its employee perks should come as no surprise.

Of course the company has paid for employee bands to record their own albums. Of course there are wagging dogs to greet you at the laid-back headquarters in Southeast Portland. Of course their 2008 Christmas party featured a mechanical bull and free tattoos. And yes, of course they threw a keg of beer on a tour bus and took 25 of their employees to a Slayer show in Salem in 2006.

But the 11-year-old company, which has 150 employees and locations in Portland, Seattle and New York, goes beyond thrash metal and a full-time masseuse. There are solid wages, health care — “Before I even took a paycheck, I wanted to make sure all my employees had health care,” Sorenson says — and, coming soon, a retirement plan for a traditionally young but steady workforce that has begun to buy houses and start families.

Sorenson says he hires people who inspire him, even if that initially comes through their artwork or music, and who seek out Stumptown’s values — those embodied by its commitment to its farmers, for example — as much as the company’s cool vibe.

Matt Lounsbury, director of operations, says that latter point may be what employees appreciate most about working for Stumptown.

“Otherwise, you’re just representing a product,” he says. “Duane doesn’t ask anybody to sell T-shirts or anything other than coffee, but in turn he’s giving the best ingredients the world has to offer so that you feel like you have a company you can stand behind. That’s real.”



Gern Blenston
+1 #1 Great Photos!Gern Blenston 2011-03-12 10:23:03
Whoever this Eric Naslund guy is, his work just rocks! The one of Matt Lonsbury is just epic.
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