coffee and community

Symposium Stories features community members and Symposium regulars.

 
 
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Cece dispenza

What do you do for work?

I am a Speech Language Pathologist. I love what I do. It’s very interesting. I think it makes a difference when you pursue what you love, and I can proudly say I did it.

How long have you lived in Tigard?

I’ve lived in Tigard since 1986 when I bought my house. Many years ago I was in this building. This was the feed store and now it’s a coffee shop.

Why do you come to Symposium?

I feel like I belong here. I started coming when they first opened. As time has gone on, I think it’s people who work here who are the draw. The people are very friendly. I see moms and grandmas and little kids just visiting. It’s a really lovely thing. I don’t know any other place you can do that.

What does Symposium mean to you?

It reminds me of the local gathering place from many years ago. It’s not a tavern, and it’s not a church. This is a place you can come and have coffee first thing in the morning. I think it’s brilliant! You feel no trepidation if you have your flip flops on. You feel like you’re coming to a place you know well.

How does Symposium stand out?

If you want something specially made for you and you want good conversation, you come here. No one running around with their head down. It’s the little, tiny gestures that make the difference. Anyone can sell coffee, but not everybody can hire the right people and provide the right environment.

What is your regular drink?

Oh my gosh. I call it my “little addiction.” It’s a 12 ounce mocha, nonfat and no whip cream. I tried to do plain coffee. I can do that at home. When I’m at Symposium, it’s got to be this drink.

 
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john pettit

Where do you work?

I wish my salon, The Hair Station, was down here. I’ve owned it for eight years. I’ve worked there for thirty something years. So, a long time. It’s been a part of Tigard since the early ’80s.

Do you remember your first time into Symposium?

The first time I walked in was when it was just being built. It’s grown well! I think it’s here to stay for a while. It’s become part of my routine and life. It is something I miss if I don’t stop in every morning. There are a lot of good coffee shops, but this is my coffee shop.

What is your drink of choice?

I used to do mochas and stuff. I just like my coffee strong. Now I drink a shot in the dark (two shots of espresso in drip coffee).

How has Symposium impacted your daily life?

It’s my calm before my storm. I can sit at home and have coffee, but now it’s my routine to come down here and have coffee, read the news and go to work. Take on the storm, and take on people.

What makes Symposium different?

I walk in and see smiling faces, and they know what I want. It’s a great, pleasant community with good coffee. Warm, welcoming, friendly, and comfortable. It is like family.

 
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jessica love

Where do you work?

I work for the Tigard Chamber of Commerce, and I split between managing the Tigard Farmers Market and Event Coordination for the Tigard Chamber. I opened my own business three years ago, but I’ve been doing event coordination for over ten years now.

How long have you lived in Tigard?

I’ve lived in Tigard my entire life in the same house.

What do you enjoy about Tigard?

There are a lot more people and places to hangout. There is a lot of history and new blood, so it’s a good mixture of people. We were always a happy community, and it’s just getting better with time.

How would you describe Symposium?

Symposium is open to all people, and it fits everyone. It’s the hangout place to come together and enjoy a cup of coffee and meet new people. Symposium is run by great people, so they hire great people. You’re supporting a local family. And, of course, everyone loves coffee.

What is your typical drink?

I used to not drink coffee. That’s changed because of Symposium. I used to get the hot chocolate every day. Now I’m a caramel latte person.

What makes Symposium unique?

My favorite thing about Symposium is walking out and seeing so many people that I know. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. I love community. I love Tigard. I’m home.

Written and photographed by Laura Stewart    

Symposium barista and local journalist. Find more of her work at bylaurastewart.com