Long before there was Stumptown, there was Coffee People.
Jim and Patty Roberts founded Coffee People in 1983 in an old house on Westover Street in Northwest Portland—it was Coffee Man for 8 years before that—living upstairs above the cafe they founded.
At its peak, Coffee People had more than 40 locations in town, serving up Black Tiger shakes and Velvet Hammer mochas, going public in 1996 with the goal of being No. 2 to Starbucks. But the business crumbled instead, and they were forced to sell.
For a time, Coffee People was a national brand. But in 2007, even that ended. All Coffee Peoples in the country—except five in Portland, owned by local company Stephanie Inc.—became Starbucks.
"On January 31, 2007, the big chain closed and there were only five stores. It almost came to an end 10 years ago," says Laurel Lawrie, manager at one of the five remaining Coffee Peoples in the world, all at the Portland airport. "Now those five are going to close."
The final Coffee Peoples in Portland will all close up shop June 30, says Lawrie.
"At least the stores that move in will be localish," says Lawrie, who says the Coffee Peoples will be replaced by Peet's, Stumptown and Portland Roasting.
Related: Stumptown Coffee bought by Peet's.
It's a quiet end after over 30 years. But if you want that Black Tiger? You don't have to go far. Since 2002, Jim and Patty's have been serving up their own coffee concoctions in a chainlet they founded in Portland in the wake of Coffee People's collapse. There are currently 3 locations.
Related: The Return of the Coffee People.