Multnomah store interior, brewing system upgraded

by: CONNECTION PHOTO: DREW DAKESSIAN - Multnomah Starbucks Store Manager Jennifer Gibson with coffee made with the new Clover brewing system.

Whether on their way from the Multnomah Arts Center or on their way to the various shops and restaurants in the Multnomah Village Business District, many Southwest Portlanders have stopped at the Multnomah Starbucks for a cup of joe. But those who haven't been in lately might not recognize it now.

Starbucks enthusiasts and staff alike came out Aug. 24 to celebrate Multnomah Starbucks’ grand reopening after a top-to-bottom remodel of everything from the store’s layout to its brewing system.

“We basically gutted the entire store,” said Starbucks District Manager Doug VanNess. “The whole inside was gutted; a portion of the backroom was gutted. … We added additional seating … a lot of flexibility to our seating, so we just added some more elements and brought it up to today’s standards.”

Located at the corner of Southwest Capitol Highway and 34th Avenue, the store now has a modern design, and a modern coffeemaker to match.

“We added a Clover brewing system … a Vacuum-Press that makes a fabulous cup of coffee,” VanNess said.

Originally debuted by Starbucks Coffee Company in 2007, “It just brings out all the flavors of the coffee that no other brewing system does,” said Jennifer Gibson, Multnomah Starbucks store manager, “and we also have special Reserve coffees to go with it. They’re smaller-batch coffees from, like, specific farms and really unique flavor. … It’s really exciting to be able to offer.”

Some things about the Multnomah Starbucks remain the same — and that would seem to be a good thing.

“It’s a central point; it’s a place for the community to come and meet and talk and feel that, see their neighbors. It’s a natural gathering spot,” explained Moss Ross, Multnomah Neighborhood Association chair.

He added: “Starbucks has really embraced that in our community and they give back to encourage that and be that part of our community. For instance, (Gibson) just recently adopted Maplewood Elementary as their school that they will be supporting this year. …I’m the president of the PTA at Maplewood Elementary, and all the PTA events will have coffee supplied by the store…and (the store is also) collecting donations — school materials, which are sorely needed of course — so it’s things like that that make a community livable, so we’re so appreciative of the role that Starbucks plays.”

“They’re active participants with the business association and certainly bring coffee to the meetings, but also the volunteer work that they do for Multnomah Days, Halloween, holiday gaela, they’re a major entity that plays a part in all of that,” said Randy Bonella, who has served as the Multnomah Neighborhood Association chair and executive director of the Multnomah Village Bloc’s Initiative.

“Another thing that I think makes this store unique to Multnomah Village,” he said, “is because its’ been here so long, it’s been a part of the community as long as the vast majority of people who live in this community — including myself.”

Gibson was inclined to agree. “I’ve known many of the customers for probably the whole time I’ve worked her and it’ been almost 10 years, so the customers are my friends,” she said. “And I think that it’s just a really special community, and I think Starbucks here captures it perfectly.”

Plus, Ross said, “The Clover machine makes a great cup of coffee."

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