Deadstock Coffee in Portland, Oregon, might be the world’s only sneaker-themed coffee shop.
“I wanted to open up a coffee shop not so much because I love coffee, but because I understand the power that a coffee shop has in a community,” says founder Ian Williams.
Home to the Nike and Adidas North America headquarters, Portland, Oregon has long been a haven for sneakerheads. The city’s streets harbor boutiques showcasing colorful kicks and bustle with shoe enthusiasts of every age, race, and class.
Currently located at 408 NW Couch St., Deadstock Coffee Shop is a place for “people who love shoes to go and just hang out.”
Not interested in sneakers? That’s okay. Deadstock Coffee’s fun drink flavors and welcoming environment is meant for anyone to enjoy.
Who Is Deadstock Coffee Founder Ian Williams?
Deadstock Coffee founder Ian Williams grew up watching fellow Virginia native and basketball legend Allen Iverson run circles around his competitors. As a kid, he bought every new pair of the icon’s shoes.
At the age of ten, Williams’s father passed away. Shortly after, his family moved across the country, settling down in a suburb outside of Portland.
From a young age, repeatedly awestruck by Iverson’s fearlessness both on and off the court, Williams confidently marched to the beat of his own drum.
“I always knew my life was a bit different,” says Williams. I’m black but grew up in white suburban Hillsboro where we were the only black family. I needed to accept me for me and decided that I couldn’t let people tell me who I am,” says Williams
A History Of Deadstock Coffee
After graduating from high school in Portland, Williams bounced between jobs. He sold cars, made airbags for shoes, and even worked at a go-kart racing camp.
But he never lost sight of his first love: sneakers. He found a job in janitorial at Nike. Zealously hard-working and a seasoned sweet-talker, Williams worked his way up at Nike, eventually landing a job in Shoe Development.
After a few years working in the corporate world, Williams craved ingenuity. He wanted to build a space for shoe-enthusiasts to hang out, share ideas, and celebrate one another.
Adept at bringing people together, Williams saw an answer in coffee.
But with no knowledge of roasting, Williams knew he needed help. He took coffee classes and acquired business advice from Portland’s Dapper and Wise Coffee Roasters.
“I would sit in coffee shops for hours and just watched the baristas and the customers and how they all interacted,” says Williams.
In 2015, Williams launched Deadstock Coffee as a bean grinder on cart in a downtown sneaker store. A year later, they upgraded to their current location, a brick and mortar shop across the street from the Compound Gallery and Pensole Design Academy — the only footwear design school in the world — decked out with a Promac 2 Group Espresso machine and a Mazzer Super Jolly grinder.
Although Williams much prefers tea to coffee (he often masks the taste of coffee with chocolate) today he is a self-proclaimed “Hypebarista.”
Good Vibes at Deadstock Coffee Shop
Portland, Oregon is home to many well-known specialty coffee shops such as Coava Coffee Roasters and Never Coffee Lab (not to be confused with Portland, Maine, home to Tandem Coffee Roasters — our favorite coffee roaster of 2019).
Yet in Williams opinion, typical specialty coffee shops tend to be uptight and intimidating. That’s why he keeps the Deadstock Coffee Shop, ‘Snob Free.’ Your wealth or status, even within the sneaker world, don’t really matter to him.
Deadstock Coffee shop maintains a barbershop-like atmosphere. Everyone — corporate executives, designers, coffee enthusiasts, and local teenagers alike — acts like they know each other… even if they don’t. If you come in wearing local streetwear or exclusive kicks, expect a compliment.
On his coffee mugs, Williams declares, “Coffee Should Be Dope.” He labels their roasters “Bean Burners,” introduces employees in music festival lineup-style, and names coffee blends after popular rap songs.
For some popular choices, check out “One Hunnit,” “Fresh Prince,” and “Slow Jamz.”
Deadstock Coffee Shop: Shrine To Sneakers
Despite a long-standing devotion to the Portland Trail Blazers, Deadstock Coffee named one of their staple drinks after Cleveland’s LeBron James — or rather, the rare, tropical-print edition of the LeBron 9 Low Nike sneaker, the LeBronald Palmer.
The drink, also named the LeBronald Palmer, consists of sweet tea, coffee, and lemonade, over ice. It’s the perfect refresher on a hot summer day.
While you wait for your player-themed vintage-glass of coffee, discuss recent shoe releases with employees, check out what shoes employees are sporting, or draw in one of the guest book’s sneaker templates.
The half coffee shop, half gallery, showcases rotating rare sneaker collections and posters of iconic basketball players.
Currently, no shoes are sold in-store. But according to Williams, that doesn’t mean it’s not on the cards.
The Bottom Line On Deadstock Coffee
Deadstock Coffee serves quality drinks, showcases awesome sneakers, and exudes good vibes.
And it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, or what you know about coffee. If you’re interested in trying out some fun blends or want to learn more about sneakerhead culture, stop by Deadstock Coffee the next time you find yourself in Downtown Portland.
On average, a 10-ounce bag of roasted coffee — either whole bean or pre-ground drip/pour over — costs $15. You can also order — orders are shipped fresh every Monday and Thursday.
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