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  • Writer's picturePhil Evans

Local Business Spotlight: Driftwood Coffee

Updated: May 25, 2021

In this opportunity, we spoke with Kara Powell, Owner of Driftwood Coffee. Driftwood Coffee is one of Southwest Portland's favorite local cafes to meet friends, relax with a good book, and shop for locally crafted arts and goods.

-Phil: Driftwood Coffee is such a staple of the neighborhood here, when did you first open up?

-Kara: I opened up in 2012 and it really has been amazing to see how many locals come here every day. We are a community-driven cafe and the customers create the environment.

-Phil: During these unprecedented times we all worry about our favorite local shops going out of business. How have you been holding strong during this time?

-Kara: With the support of our community and regular customers. I've had three days off in 51 days and I adjusted our hours to align with the change of lifestyle our customers are living now. With so many people working from home there's no more commuting, so we are opening a little later 8:00am-1:00pm. But really it is the support of the customers and community that keeps us going. I've had customers leaving notes in the door!

Phil: What are some other ways they've supported you?

Kara: So many ways...just by showing up! And we are seeing more non-regulars now than before. So it's not just the regulars but the whole community helping. Customers are purchasing gift cards, one regular customer bought a $100.00 gift card and left it in house for others not able to afford a coffee to use! Whole bean coffee is getting more popular now so I am shifting to selling more whole beans. Another customer bought 10 pounds of whole beans from me. It's the little things that help.

Phil: How have you been able to support the community?

Kara: We have used our punch cards to give free drinks to those in need. We support all mail carriers with a free drink, all First Responders and hospital workers, and Fire Station 5 in Hillsdale. Those guys often come to support me, so it's the least I can do. Anyone on the front lines has my deepest gratitude. We also have a mask drive where funds are given to the Oregon Food Bank. Some people look at their glass half full or half empty. I'm just thankful to have a glass right now! This has been a great opportunity for me to reinvent my business plan. But really what I want everyone to know is, that I'm so grateful for all their support during this time and every back when Vermont street was closed due to construction with the cafe having zero access. Customers just keep showing up! Thank you!

You can find Driftwood Coffee at 4604 South Vermont Street, Portland, OR 97219


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