The first time I ever visited Portland, Ore., was on a rainy Saturday afternoon in January about eight years ago. My stay was brief, permeated with chill and twilight, and I ended the trip with feelings of ambivalence.
However, over my subsequent years in the Pacific Northwest I’ve returned there several times, and I’ve discovered a delightful fact: Portland is insidious. Like a casual acquaintance who slowly grows into a cherished friend, the city reveals more of its great qualities every time I visit and leaves me looking forward to my next visit.
I had the privilege of one such return last week when I traveled with our Store Concepts team to attend the opening of a very special new Starbucks Store location: the Brewery Blocks store at NW 11th Avenue and Couch Street.
Brewery Blocks is situated in the heart of the once-utilitarian, now- revitalized Pearl District – and it blends in seamlessly with its neighbors. Erin and Ashley (the Brewery Blocks store designers) honored the neighborhood’s history by carefully balancing the use of industrial elements with softer, more natural materials throughout the store. Some of the notable features include:
• Reclaimed Douglas fir used for wall and millwork cladding.
• Scrap leather from automobile seat factories used on the bar front.
• Fallen walnut from an Oregon City farm salvaged for countertops.
• Recycled bike inner tubes used for a custom art installation. This was inspired by Portland’s sizeable bicycling community, and it’s my favorite nod to the local neighborhood in the store.
The Brewery Blocks store is the 143rd Starbucks store designed and built to be LEED® certified. (This is particularly fitting, as the company’s first LEED certified store was built in Hillsboro, Ore., in 2006.) It’s also our first store outside Seattle to offer beer, wine and expanded food selections. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, stop in at the Brewery Blocks and give yourself one more reason to love Portland.
Photos by Monica Perry