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Is Portland a saturated market?
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Discussions > Regional > US West > Is Portland a...  
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Angry_Barista
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Joined: 17 May 2014
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Location: Portland, OR
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Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 2:59pm
Subject: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

Hello, I'm going to open up a shop in portland but I can't find the right location. I would like to open in the SE or NE or even N but I feel there are already too many, any ideas on a neighborhood that could use one? Thanks
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Woody
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Woody
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Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 9:29pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

Hi Joe- Welcome to CoffeeGeek.

I don't think Portland is a saturated market by any means, but having a quality product is the key to compete.  Having said that,  I wouldn't open up a shop 2 doors down from Barista or a Stumptown shop.  I would recommend finding a spot with high foot traffic, even downtown as long as you are 3-4 blocks from another quality shop.  Check out www.espressomap.com for a list of high-quality shops.  I think you can see the type of area (foot traffic and business type) they are in.  

I wish there was a good place out in the Gresham area, or towards Beaverton.

I see you listed "just learning" as your expertise.  There is a high learning curve running a high quality coffee shop.

Jon
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Angry_Barista
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Location: Portland, OR
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri May 23, 2014, 1:45pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

hi Jon, thank you for your feedback. i have been looking for such map for quite a while now. Yelp gave me everything, even starbucks so this helps a lot. However it's a little outdated; like sterling on 21st, the new heart on 12th, the new case study on 10th, barista on 23rd and probably a few more. Nonetheless, I know that I won't put my shop near any of these monumental shops, not too mention they're my friends.

I would like to venture out into beaverton or gresham but I just haven't talked myself into it yet. I need to explore the area a little bit.

And you're right it won't be easy opening up a true high quality shop, I have a lot to learn :)


Joe

P.S. I like the 3-4 blocks rule of thumb it sounds like.
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TonyVan
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Posted Sat May 24, 2014, 6:57pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

The fact that established purveyors such as Coava are expanding with new shops tells you a few things.  

One is that if you're at the top of the game, there's sufficient served available market that people with inside experience with the Portland coffee dynamic believe they can make an expansion fly.  

But other shops ARE closing, with other tenants taking these spaces - sometimes other coffee entrepreneurs.  So it's just as clear that if you lack the product, service or the resources to hang on long enough to build a good reputation and clientele, success will be elusive.

"Saturated" is also a term that assumes some degree of commoditization. I don't think a market is EVER really saturated to someone bringing something new or extraordinary to it.  But there's only so much same-old-same-old that any market will bear.  Arguably, Portland IS saturated in that regard, with a Starbucks or other Meh Coffee occupying virtually every micro-neighborhood block and already grabbing the "convenience" foot traffic - unless something really much better has kept them at bay or elbowed them out.  

But if you can find that elusive balance of price, product, food, vibe, truly lovable and loyal staff, comfort and environment (maybe start with the world's greatest sticky bun?) - and have deep enough pockets to lose money while you're discovered by a critical mass (or supplement it like Heart, Ristretto, Water Avenue, Coava, Stumptown and even Spella do with roasting for off-premesis sale) - it's not going to matter much where you hang that shingle.  Even the Starbucks next door will eventually throw in the towel and you'll finally take over the space you've been needing for more tables and that 10kg Probat.
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yakster
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yakster
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Posted Tue May 27, 2014, 5:12pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

There's lots of apps for your smartphone that will list coffee shops.  Barista Magazine's Coffee Scout was recently launched so it may not be comprehensive, but seems to focus on quality focused coffee shops.

 
-Chris

LMWDP # 272
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marosmith
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marosmith
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Posted Wed Jun 4, 2014, 8:35pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

I work near Lloyd center at liberty mutual, we have a low end / gross little coffee shop downstairs. I actually have to hop in my car and drive to coava or water avenue to get good coffee. I would love to see a high end third wave shop within walking distance somewhere within walking distance of Lloyd center, the expo center, and liberty tower.

When you get "dangerously" east near Gresham I would agree there are fewer good shops, but those people generally are satisfied with Dutch Bros and S$&$bucks so I wouldn't risk it.
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Angry_Barista
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Joined: 17 May 2014
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Location: Portland, OR
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jun 11, 2014, 4:34pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

thank you everyone and thank you marosmith. Yeah that lloyed center area and especially where the new buildings are going to be is a potential hot spot and I am looking into it. I just don't know if it's edgey enough for my shop just yet. Also the foot traffic, I feel, is not there just yet but maybe I am mistaken.
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marosmith
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marosmith
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Location: Lafayette, Oregon
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 8:53pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

Angry_Barista Said:

thank you everyone and thank you marosmith. Yeah that lloyed center area and especially where the new buildings are going to be is a potential hot spot and I am looking into it. I just don't know if it's edgey enough for my shop just yet. Also the foot traffic, I feel, is not there just yet but maybe I am mistaken.

Posted June 11, 2014 link

Unlike some spots in Portland it can only grow, and lots of construction right now means real soon at that.
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puma996
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puma996
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Posted Mon Jul 14, 2014, 8:49pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

I have yet to find good espresso east of 50th/Hawthorne. Looking at a map of the area, there really isn't anything east of that...at least that I'm aware of. I would imagine EA/SE is an untapped market right now for good coffee/espresso. That side of town isn't as pedestrian friendly as downtown and N/NE, but I hope to see a worthy coffee house on the east side at some point.

The new Ristretto Roasters is at NE 6/NE Couch. A little far to walk from Lloyd Center (15-20 minutes), but a very short drive.
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avraptorhal
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Posted Thu Aug 21, 2014, 6:54pm
Subject: Re: Is Portland a saturated market?
 

As a former Lake Oswego resident I have often wondered why there isn't a decent espresso presence there or Tualatin. If my memory serves Peet's shop is the only one except for S***bucks huge presence.
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