Owner and founder of Rocky Butte Coffee Roasters, James was born in Lincoln City, Oregon. In 2005, after a stint in the military, he and his wife Sheryl brought their children, Seth and Lily, to the Rocky Butte neighborhood of Portland while James pursued an MBA at Concordia University. After years of associating coffee with a stale, burnt taste, James and Sheryl spent some time learning to brew their favorite cup of coffee. Deeply passionate about their community, James began to see coffee as a vehicle for relationship, a reason to get together—and so, the concept of “People, Place, Coffee” was born. James started Rocky Butte Coffee Roasters in 2017 roasting small batches of beans in his garage and hand-delivering bags to neighbors. Small batches in a garage were great, but as the workload increased, roasting at a commercial roastery became the only way to sustain the future growth of the business. With that growth, the Rocky Butte Espresso Bar opened in 2020 on NE Fremont St, and despite the difficulties the pandemic presented, has thrived and brought people together. If you stop by, there’s a chance you’ll see James behind the counter serving espresso.