// words & interview by Ellaesco
// photos by Phase2
There’s that special feeling when you walk into a sneaker boutique and end up there for hours. You’re chopping it up with the shop kids or some friends that might have walked in. Eventually, you’ve gotta leave to avoid the weird side-eye if you’re not gonna cop. Well, what if you combined that original atmosphere with amazingly good coffee? What if you could get the feeling where you’re at home and can relate to just about anyone that walks through the door? What genius could create such an original idea and actually want to contribute to our community? That genius is Ian Williams.
I met this guy by chance while meeting a friend for lunch on campus. I knew there were plenty of stories surfacing about his shop, Deadstock Coffee, but I still felt there was a lot more to his story. While I could write page after page, I truly tried to keep it short for you as well. I feel honored to call this guy my friend, because he really has what many others only can pretend to posses: heart. Set on the squad goal to make the coffee snob and the sneaker nerd become homies over a love for all things premium, hear more about how he accomplished just that in the convo below.
Ella: Starting Deadstock Coffee had to be a lot of work. How long did it take before the shop officially opened?
Ian: Just under a year. Once it started rolling it went pretty quick. To get set up, I had a cart in Compound Gallery Portland from March to July 2015. Then, from Compound, I had a stand in the lobby of the same building I’m at now for a few months, and then finally we opened up in February 2016.
Ella: That’s pretty dope. What made you do coffee though?
Ian: I knew from high school that I wanted to work for myself and I wanted a place for our community that’s acceptable to loiter. I could have done a sports bar, but that would have excluded our younger generation. We remember leaving the club and just going straight to the sneaker launches. You knew their name, their size and maybe their NikeTalk handle. That was how we all got to know each other. I think we lost that aspect in our culture. People waiting at shops now are just there to resell or because it’s the cool thing to do. So, the most honest thing I could think to do was to not sell shoes.
Ella: You bring in a lot of young talent. Do you ever get discouraged when you lose an intern from the shop?
Ian: Not at all. I like to help groom people to become leaders that can add to this culture and have a real stance in what they believe in, while still being able to be receptive of others’ insight as well.
Ella: I like that! It shows in the community around here too. I’m personally intrigued by your startup story and the risks that were taken. Can you share some of that for our readers?
Ian: Someone taught me to put money aside before I was making hardly anything, that way when I made real money I wouldn’t even notice it’s gone. I was a janitor at the time; I used everything I saved.
Ella: It doesn’t get more real than that, Ian. Okay, we can’t politic and not talk kicks. Lastly, I know you’re #TeamMonarch, but what are some of your all-time favorite kicks?
Ian: Oh, Reebok Questions all day! KD 4’s before he decided to trade on ya’ boy, and Dunks — specifically SB. One of these days I’ll get my hands on some Heinekens and Pharrells.
Keep up with Deadstock Coffee on IG.