Ovation Coffee & Tea says hospitality and conversation are key to business success
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thursday, September 29 is National Coffee Day, and Oregonians have plenty of small businesses to support as they celebrate.
In fact, Yelp recently released its list of the best cafes in the United States and Canada, and five Oregon cafes made the list: Ovation Coffee and Tea in Portland, Burly and The Bean in Seaside, La Perlita in Portland, Jet Set Coffee in Tigard and Tōv in Portland.
Of these, the highest ranked was Ovation Coffee and Tea, a Moroccan cafe, which came in third on the list.
KOIN 6 News spoke with owner Karter Elhabbassi about his business and what it takes to be successful.
“National Coffee Day is a bit everyday for us and we hope to continue sharing Moroccan spices, Moroccan drinks and Moroccan hospitality with everyone,” he said.
It’s that hospitality he attributes to the company’s success and ability to open four new locations around Portland since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“It’s kind of a testament to who we are. A lot of places were closing and struggling during COVID and we were able to grow,” Elhabbassi said. “It goes back to the end, like Moroccan hospitality, doesn’t it? People come in and it’s more than just a cup of coffee. It’s ‘Hey, how’s your mum? How’s your father, how’s your dog?
Since Ovation opened its first location in the Pearl District in December 2013, Elhabbassi said they have always taught their employees to treat customers that way.
Over time, he’s seen customers bond with employees and repeatedly return just to see them.
Another key to the company’s success is its ability to remain unique.
Elhabbassi recently returned from a trip to Morocco where he visited family and explored new products. He prides himself on his coffee by offering coffee and other products that people cannot find anywhere else except maybe in Morocco.
“What we want is to kind of let everyone experience our culture, our drinks, kind of give them a sample of Morocco,” Elhabbassi said.
Yelp released a list of its best cafes in the United States and Canada on September 2. When Elhabbassi saw that his family’s business came third, he said he was speechless.
“Not just the top 100 on the list, but like, number three is like out of this world!” he said. “Very few people can say they’ve done that, especially with the coffee culture in America.”
Coffee was his mother’s dream. The family decided to open it after running their father’s Moroccan restaurant in Wilsonville for seven years.
Now he said his mother’s dream is bearing fruit and only growing. Eventually, Ehabbassi said the family would like to expand the business outside of the Portland area and into other parts of the United States.
“Obviously we’re doing something right now,” he said. “So keep doing what we’re doing and go from there.”
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