COTTAGE GROVE — Something new is brewing in Cottage Grove.
Pour 818 opened up its tea and coffee shop on 818 Main St. in Cottage Grove on Jan. 11. Around 200 grovers came in on the first day for a cup of specialty coffee and tea, with locally sourced pastries.
Two days later, power went out in downtown Cottage Grove, and the coffee shop was closed for a week as the town experienced an ice storm so devastating that a State of Emergency was declared on Jan. 14.
Pour 818 reopened its doors on Jan. 19, and community members were able to grab a cup of coffee and find connection after such an isolating week for some.
“We hope the shop becomes a safe place for everyone to come, socialize and build relationships – whatever that looks like,” said Stacie Quimby, who co-owners the business with Heather Pennington. “I don’t think you can go anywhere in Cottage Grove or maybe even in Oregon and get the kind of coffee we have, but customer service and the social aspect of Pour 818 is also very important to us, offering a place where the community can come together.”
Pour 818 seats around 35 people and has both a main room and a back room with a large community table and well-stocked Art Bar which has art supplies. Its hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Wednesday through Saturday.
In 2012, Pennington and Quimby worked together at PeaceHealth at Riverbend. Driving back and forth to work together, they would talk about the idea of one day opening a café. The relationship and trust Pennington and Quimby have built in working together for 12 years is an important factor in finding the courage to open the coffee and tea house together.
“Knowing the thoughts we both had, the beliefs we had and the things we are passionate about, as well as the way we go about doing things gave us the confidence to start this business,” Quimby said.
Pour 818’s owners began questioning what was on the horizon for their careers, wondering if the dream of opening their own coffee shop would ever come true. Both said they had great jobs at PeaceHealth, great co-workers, and no reason to complain about life in general – but there was always this longing, this dream.
Pennington is also the owner of Seeds & Flint, which hosts DIY workshops such as sign making and painting, and that gave her the confidence to move forward with the dream of opening Pour 818.
“I knew I had an entrepreneurial spirit,” Pennington said. “I knew that sitting behind a desk was not going to be fulfilling, even though it would pay the bills. I just knew there was more for me.”
Despite prices going up in the food industry and some businesses struggling to stay afloat, Pennington and Quimby are confident that people want to pay for quality. Quimby feels that many people are looking for organic ingredients, which is a big part of Pour 818’s business.
“All the brands we are partnering with started as a family-owned, small business. This has inspired us, and we hope in turn to inspire downtown Cottage Grove,” Quimby said.
Pour 818 sources their coffee from Theory Coffee Roasters, a small business located in Redding, Calif. Theory Coffee Roasters was grown out of a coffee trailer at local farmers markets and pop-up locations; it now operates three permanent locations in Redding.
Pennington said she has a “deep love for tea,” mentioning Pour 818 has partnered with two of her favorite Oregon tea businesses: Metolius Tea and Portal Tea Company.
Metolius Tea – “an ethics-forward, woman-founded tea company crafting exceptional teas, chai, matcha, and botanical syrups in Bend, Oregon” – is known for small batches sourced from local farmers. Portal Tea Company is a family-owned business based in both Portland and Eugene, and it has a collection of Pacific Northwest tea houses that offer over 120 unique tea blends.
Pour 818 wanted to stay as local as possible when sourcing baked goods, and it offers a variety, including gluten free, vegan, or dairy free items. Jack Sprats is making a few specialty gluten free items, and there are fresh pastries from Bohemia Bakery, baked goods from Shady Oaks, cookies from Random Acts of Cookies, and tarts and nut bars by Marie Donner.
Quality has played a huge role in which companies Pour 818 has partnered with, but another integral facet for Pour 818 has been supporting small businesses.
Pour 818’s owners are both long-time Grovers. Pennington has lived there since 2002, and Quimby’s parents moved to town when she was just a baby. The importance of helping Cottage Grove grow through small business success stories is close to heart for both Pennington and Quimby. They want to honor the city and set a new trend by creating a beautiful, unique place that people want to visit.
“This is a vision we share with our landlord: having places that are open more consistently in downtown Cottage Grove will draw more people here,” Pennington said. “We hear comments from local residents who express how they do not visit downtown much due to lack of consistently open businesses, and we hope to be part of creating a more vibrant downtown.”
Pennington and Quimby want their business to be centered on community and creativity, something that is artfully crafted and long-term. As Cottage Grove strives to recover from the ice storm, Pour 818 hopes it can be of comfort.
“You see a need, and you find a way to fulfill that need,” Pennington said. “We are really passionate about coffee and tea. We might not be experts, but we have the passion to learn and to share.”
Jeffrey Valancy, a Cottage Grove resident for 10 years, took a stroll downtown with his daughter specifically to visit the new coffee shop he heard had opened.
“This is just what Cottage Grove needs, an ambient coffee shop where you can walk in with your entire family and sit down for a while,” Valancy said.