Vancouver and Portland have always had something of a “rivalry,” per se, although that could be said for just about any two large cities in the Pacific Northwest. Still, Baker said that doesn’t need to be the case, and candidly models his business after similar concepts in the Rose City.
“We’re not about keeping Vancouver separate from Portland,” Baker said. “We think Vancouver could be another Mississippi, another Alberta.”
Two key components of Baker’s Portland-esque philosophy in running the café are cost efficiency and honesty in advertising, as he insists that “when you’re from Portland you don’t want to pay more than you see.”
“We’re including taxes on everything in the prices, so it’s a seamless transition,” he said. “Nothing’s over ten dollars. We have the cheapest growlers in Vancouver, eleven dollars all day every day.”
Like most eateries, not everything has been seamless. The café was the first business that the family had ever started themselves, and in the early going they found it difficult to straddle the line between self-confidence and self-doubt. Still, maintaining their family values was ultimately what allowed them to build the strong customer-clientele relationships that have helped them become a prominent neighborhood fixture.
“I know that people tell us time and time again that what sets us apart is that we’re genuine, we care,” Baker said. “We’re about keeping it real, but at the same time being ourselves just a little bit so that we don’t get too emotional.”
Looking to the future, Baker hopes to expand the number of taps at Brewed 360 and to revamp the café’s upstairs area. He would also like to add a cooled pantry case for to-go food items. However, the most visible addition in the works is a series of traveling food carts that Baker said would be operational by next summer.
“People are going to love it,” he said. “They’re old V-W buses on an axle. One’s getting custom-built with an espresso machine to be a cart for us, and one’s going to be custom-made for food with a removable grill and a kegerator so we can do beer and food at events. We’re going to be everywhere. We’re looking at concerts at amphitheaters, football games – any event where there’s going to be a lot of people.”