When I first saw the cheesy stop sign logo at Quick Stop Photo (415 SW Washington, Portland, Oregon 97204), I dismissed the place as an outlet for the artless one-hour consumer. But I was working nearby and a colleague got her photos developed there - I thought, why not try? Actually, her photos looked pretty cool and I knew my budget couldn't support going to the professional place I'd been checking out a few blocks away.
There were so many options on their little processing envelope! I quickly fell in love with getting my photos in matt finish (did you know? it's "matt" not "matte"?), with borders, and in the tiny and cheaper 3x5-inch prints. And since I needed the digital version, I started ordering CDs.
For $12-$16 per roll, I get the most gorgeous photos complete with a CD of 6.0-megapixel digital files. Quick Stop typically does a flawless job of developing my photos and does fast work of the scanning. Of course I like the people best. They remember what I like, they're nice to my husband when I send him on photo errands, and they always give me the most expensive role free when I've achieved the requisite 10 punches on my card. They never print my screwups, saving me a little cash, and they're always done on time.
The only thing I don't like: their location. Now that I don't work nearby, it's always a pain to find parking downtown around 5th and Washington. Especially when I'm just barely making it by 6 p.m. (closing time on weekdays) or 4 p.m. (Saturdays). And when have I been early for anything? Not this procrasti-mama.
While Quick Stop Photo has, like any business, the occasional screw-up, they're always eager to fix it. Once five or six roles were printed without borders, and the photo finisher on duty ran them back through the machine immediately; within 10 minutes I was on my way with properly-bordered photos. I'm a fan and you can bet I'll continue to drop a large portion of my unreimbursed business expenses in their lab.
I'd like to be more useful, to give back to the businesses and people and resources that make my life happy. When a new Starbucks opened on my corner this Friday, I realized how badly I wanted to plug its competitor to all the customers. Why not do it here?
When Gladstone Coffee opened at SE 38th and Gladstone (Portland, Oregon, 97202) only a few blocks from my house, it was the only coffee shop within 1.2 miles of my house. I had counted. I had walked those 1.2 miles many a time, in several directions, to reach other, far less desirable caffeinated destinations. At some, I found it hard to find stroller parking. At others, the baristas seemed downright angry that I'd brought Everett.
I couldn't believe my luck, to have a coffee shop, offering my fave bean, Stumptown Coffee, pouring perfect lattes and Numi teas, and welcoming my children with a box full of toys, only two blocks away from my house. As time went on, the place became an auxiliary office. I just returned from a few hours at Gladstone Coffee. I ate a garlicky veggie-and-cheese panini sandwich with herbs-and-greens salad. I sat in a comfy chair and used the wifi and set my glass of water on the toy box. It was calm. It was comforting. It's my own special third place.
If you live anywhere near 39th and Holgate, you should really spend your bucks at Gladstone instead of Starbucks. I'll never begrudge Starbucks their heavily-capitalized entre into my neighborhood, driving up my property value and bringing along other desirable businesses. But I will begrudge my neighbors if they fail to take advantage of the area's true jewel, Gladstone Coffee. And the best part: their lattes? Way better.
You can see all my photos of Gladstone Coffee, here in a regularly-updated slideshow.