ADDRESS: (4 local establishments) Kings Boulevard – 1195 NW Kings Blvd., Timberhill – 2499 NW Kings Blvd., Ninth Street – 2215 NW 9th St., Downtown – 363 Jefferson Ave.
PHONE: Kings Boulevard 541-753-3030, Timberhill Shopping Center 541-758-6760, Ninth Street 541-758-3131, Downtown 541-286-4289
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 22
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: Approx. 30
WHAT THEY SELL: Fresh roasted coffee, espresso and brewed coffee, whole leaf tea, smoothies and fresh baked goods
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: With a wide variety of coffee and espresso-based drinks, Coffee Culture is a great place to stop if you’re wishing to grab something delectably tasty and refreshing. In the summer you can enjoy delicious cold brewed coffee, as well as traditional espresso based drinks that are available year round. Those are only a few options on the menu of these cozy, locally owned cafes.
Whether it’s morning or afternoon, customers of the four lovely Coffee Culture establishments in Corvallis are greeted with a cheery welcome from the staff, who provide outstanding service in a relaxed atmosphere. Each location is great for friends, families, and acquaintances to sit down and share casual chatter or business conversations. The quiet atmosphere provides an opportunity to catch up on reading or writing on school, business, or personal work. A free and accessible Wi-Fi network lets students and adults alike connect to their personal devices, while enjoying good tasting, freshly roasted coffee.
Paul Tostberg, when and why did you decide to start your business? I started the business in 1993. I have always been self-employed, and I love coffee. My wife and I have a background in restaurants, and when we relocated to Corvallis we felt this was a business that we could manage while raising a family.
Tell us about your products and services. We sell coffee – all things coffee. We have a style of service where the customer tells our staff what they want, and our employees don’t nitpick; you ask, and we give. We receive our coffee through coffee brokers from all around the globe – with an emphasis on supply chain transparency.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? I’m interested in the Sustainability Coalition and the work that they do.
Do you think your independent locally owned business in any way provides something special compared to other businesses? Absolutely. Local businesses are independent, and they offer a special version of what they do. Whether it’s hand-making something or handcrafting, it gives an opportunity for a unique way of production. We are dedicated to offering unique coffees and enjoy helping people understand more about the process and how they can brew better coffee at home and at work.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner, and how have you met those challenges? Corvallis is a small market, and we have to try to gauge and meet the demand of that market, as well as to find great employees. But size is less of an issue here than in some towns.
We also need to stay ahead of the trend, and look forward to where the trends are. The biggest challenge as a local, independent business is wearing lots of different hats – and the goal is that, hopefully, we are good at a few of them. To meet these challenges, I do a lot of research to better understand the different aspects of the business year to year.
What does the future look like for the local independent businesses? I think there’s a bright future in Corvallis since we have a lot of support from the public, and our local businesses are offering something unique.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? It‘s rewarding to serve customers for two decades. Many of my current customers are people I’ve been serving since they were in grade school.
What inspired me to own an independent business is that I didn’t think I was suited for the corporate life. There are many rewards with running my own business, and I’m happy with what I’m doing.
How has your business grown since the beginning? I started with myself and an employee with one small drive-thru coffee outlet. Now, I’m serving our brand of coffee at four local bars that are sourcing, roasting and serving the drinks.
Have you taken steps to increase the sustainability of your business model? Absolutely. We participate with recycling and food waste composting through Republic Services. I hope the composting system will continue to expand so more paper cups and other service ware can be composted. I’m optimistic but in the meantime we offer reusable wares such as ceramic plates, mugs and tumblers.
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about your business. If you’re interested in coffee come sit at our bar and let’s talk about it while enjoying a cup of our latest single origin coffee!
(Interview and article by Madison Boock – May 27, 2015)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).