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Former Nike shoe designer finds community in coffee

“Fake it ’til you make it” seems to be the unofficial motto of Deadstock founder Ian Williams who worked at Nike, a company no stranger to innovation, for nine years before opening Deadstock Coffee in 2015, first as a coffee stand on the top floor of a sneaker boutique and later as a brick-and-mortar cafe in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Williams started his career at Nike in the retail store, and after realizing he was spending most of his extra cash on new shoes, he worked as a janitor and in manufacturing before eventually designing his first shoe, the Nike SB Wet Floor Dunk Hi in 2009, which was modeled after the yellow wet floor sign from his day job. Throughout the years, it was always his goal to be around shoes, to wear them, talk to people who were passionate about them, and maybe even get a few freebies in the process.

While designing the latest shoes for a giant like Nike was fulfilling in its own way, Williams began to miss the sense of community he found behind the desk in the retail portion of the store. As one of the sneaker capitals of the world — home to companies like Nike, Adidas, and Columbia — Portland was the perfect place to open another pillar of the community that wouldn’t compete with his favorite stores: A coffee shop.

Deadstock Coffee offers house-roasted coffee in a friendly sneaker-themed cafe on the edge of Portland’s Chinatown. They offer handcrafted drinks you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else like the Lebronold Palmer, a coffee, sweet tea, and lemonade drink, which riffs off basketball player LeBron James’ supposed favorite drink. They also offer the Charged Up, a green coffee and tea pick-me-up.

If you’re ever in Portland, you can visit Deadstock at Deadstock Coffee and Gallery, 408 NW Couch Street. You can also visit its website to browse their exclusive selection of beans and merch.

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