About five years ago, after a bad day at the office, Jennifer St. George came home to find her husband, Randy, baking. It was a sign that his corporate job had not gone well either. That day the couple decided to find an exit strategy from their unhappy corporate lives. They looked at what they could do as entrepreneurs in West Salem. They considered wine, baking and coffee.
“Coffee made the most sense. Coffee is social. Coffee is family. We wanted a place families could meet,” says Jennifer.
In November of 2013, Urban Grange Coffee opened at 1594 Edgewater in West Salem. Since then, the shop has contributed to the West Salem community with more than its friendly sit-down atmosphere and great coffee. Urban Grange Coffee has hosted art shows for West Salem High School, Walker Middle School and as a benefit for City Vibe and Dream Center.
Jennifer and Randy have made sure that their coffee shop supports the local economy. The coffee comes from Columbia River Coffee Roaster, and the baked goods including the exclusive bacon cheese scone, come from Cascade Baking Company. Urban Grange Coffee also stocks locally produced LivBars and chocolate and macaroons form Extreme Chocolates.
“We’ve been very purposeful about what we’ve chosen,” says Jennifer. “All of our partners are local.”
Most Saturdays feature family entertainment from about 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., but the Urban Grange is the type of place that has been designed with the idea of being a local meeting place. The wood-faced wall, the eclectic collection of furniture and chandeliers, and the collection of games all serve a purpose.
“We wanted something that made the space feel warm,” says Randy about the distinctive wood wall.
It has paid off in the form of community, which Randy and Jennifer hope to enhance with a free library in the near future.
“We truly are a community based coffee shop. We want to know our customers as neighbors,” says Jennifer. “It’s a face-to-face connection.”