Floods hit Coffee Time, then thieves hit

Thieves took about $10,000 in equipment from NW Portland coffee shop

A flood forced renovations at Coffee Time at NW 21st and Irving in Portland, October 23, 2017 (KOIN)
A flood forced renovations at Coffee Time at NW 21st and Irving in Portland, October 23, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For more than 20 years, Coffee Time has been a Northwest Portland gathering spot, “a place where people can hang out and get to know each other as well as have a good cup of coffee,” co-owner Susan Thomas told KOIN 6 News.

But last week, during a renovation of the spot at NW 21st and Irving, thieves broke in and stole about $10,000 in equipment — including their coffee grinders, Wi-Fi equipment, their speaker system, even vacuums.

“It was really, I think, disheartening for all of us because while we’re excited to be re-opening again in a few weeks, it sort of hits you right in the middle of it,” she said.

GoFundMe — Coffee Time needs you

Thomas, who became a co-owner in 2014, was already dealing with another issue at the shop. In May, the store flooded for 3 days and it took them a while to isolate the source of the flood. When they did, they found they had a foundation problem.

“By the time we got it all stopped and corrected it had ruined a lot of the drywall and walls in the back of the cafe’,” Thomas said.

They planned for about a 5-week closure beginning in mid-September, but once they got into the renovation they realized there was much more that needed to be done.

All the drywall was wet and needed to be ripped out. The insulation had to go, too. “It just kept getting worse and worse as we got into the project.”

Coffee Time closed for the repairs, but the staff has been busy helping with the renovations during the day.

“We closed up Thursday night (October 19) and we double-checked everything around 7 p.m. Everything was locked up,” she told KOIN 6 News. “When we came in Friday morning, the door had been opened.”

Initially they thought only the wi-fi router was gone. It wasn’t until they went to make coffee they realized they couldn’t.

“We started making coffee and we realized our grinders were missing. Then we started looking around and noticed grinders, internet equipment, speaker system, crazy things like vacuums” were all gone.

Coffee Time

Coffee Time — renovations

Each grinder costs around $3000, she said, “and we had 3 grinders stolen. … Just everything you need to start up the coffee shop, except for tables and chairs” was taken.

She believes whoever did it came around 10 p.m., “because that’s when we noticed the Wi-Fi connection had ended.”

It also took the thieves a while, too, she said.

Susan Thomas, the co-owner of Coffee Time at NW 21st and Irving in Portland, October 23, 2017 (KOIN)
Susan Thomas, the co-owner of Coffee Time at NW 21st and Irving in Portland, October 23, 2017 (KOIN)

“Our grinders are 60 or 70 pounds and so they made multiple trips. So it would have been somebody making multiple trips to a vehicle, probably a dozen trips carrying things out,” Thomas said. “We’re hoping somebody saw something.”

Though she’d like to get her stolen items back, she realizes that’s likely not going to happen. “But if somebody saw something and we could figure out who they were, maybe we could stop it from happening to someone else.”

Though it was a discouraging setback, they’re tryiing to make the best of it.

“I think we feel so safe because we’re in a safe community, our customers love us, our neighborhood loves us. It’s such a busy street, we just never expected that we would come in and people would steal all our stuff.”

Thomas is working with the insurance company and she now believes most of the loss should be covered after some hefty deductibles.

Now Coffee Time is looking toward re-opening in mid-November. Thomas said she is “very optimistic” and ready to open up again.

“It’s a lively place because we always have people sitting outside playing chess or inside studying for finals. We’re open until midnight and have a great internet — usually.

“It’s definitely a place where community events and life is happening.”

Inside Coffee Time at NW 21st and Irving before renovations (Courtesy: Susan Thomas)
Inside Coffee Time at NW 21st and Irving before renovations (Courtesy: Susan Thomas)