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June 8th, 2011 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

Inbox: Stumptown Coffee Controversy

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Comments on “Stumptown coffee has been sold, industry sources tell ww,” WW, June 5, 2011

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“This could play out like the Nature’s to New Seasons thing did where some locals built a great store, sold it, waited out their non compete, then built a better chain of stores.

I see the main issue is the fact that he lied about it.

Seriously, who cares as long as the employees are down with it and are being treated right. The market will always drive the success or failure of any given business. If the vibe changes at Stumptown or the coffee starts to suck then they will dry up and go away. I couldn’t give two turds if they are owned by a company from N.Y. or not. All you local snibblers need to sit down, shut up and pass the Americano.” —Otto


“OMG, the reverence for small, independent and local should not overshadow kudos for a business success that can create more good quality jobs and even raise the profile of Portland as a good place to launch businesses from.

I know, I know, no one wants anything to progress here in PDX, let’s stay weird and different. But, jeez Louise, look at Oregon companies like Nancy’s Yogurt, which since the ’70s has grown tremendously, without selling out (same good stuff).

Good for Stumptown—keep on growing and spreading the good beans.

Sometimes Portland seems like it loves failure a bit too much.” —Bob


“Couple things:

1. Though this is valuable reporting, it does not constitute unqualified confirmation about what’s going on. Carmichael isn’t a reliable source, though it’s laudable that he was willing to go on record with the details of his accusations. The public record appears to confirm the gist of his accusations, but doesn’t prove them.

2. With greater market share (I’m assuming this is inevitable), Stumptown will be buying more coffee. There is a likelihood that to compensate for great quantity, some quality will decline. (Though I suspect for the foreseeable future that the company will continue to buy some top-of-the-market coffees, the decline will happen at the low end where they are less noticeable, in their blends, and possibly in the coffees used to make the bottled cold press stubbies.) But it also means a potentially huge boon for some of the farms and other vendors that Stumptown has worked with over the years (and farms they will contract with in the future). Stumptown isn’t a perfect company, but it has consistently paid over-market prices for coffee, which is a good thing for the people they work with. If they can help spread the gospel of quality coffee to a larger audience, they are good people to do it. —Hanna Neuschwander 


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