Join us in celebrating Purrington’s on their re-opening this week! They had to close the cafe portion of their business for most of the pandemic but continued working with their adoption partners to foster special needs kittens. We interviewed co-founder Helen Harris to learn more about Purrington’s and what to expect from them in the months to come.
- When did Purrington's open?
Purrington's first opened in 2014 in the same NE MLK Blvd. location. We first met the founders, Kristen and Sergio, through Garrett's volunteer gig at Cat Adoption Team, where he would occasionally assist with transporting adoptable cats from the main shelter in Sherwood to Purrington's. In 2018, Kristen and Sergio decided to make a cross country move and sell the business. Garrett and Helen acquired Purrington's and began a big renovation project. We reopened in October 2019, closed in March 2020 due to COVID, and plan to reopen in September 2021 (hopefully for good!).
- Why did you choose the location that you're in?
We love our Northeast Portland neighborhood and are lucky enough to have some really cool fellow small businesses as neighbors. As you can probably imagine, the setup of a cat cafe can be challenging! We knew the original Purrington's location had the approval of the Health Department and Animal Services, so we decided to use the bones of the original space with some updates to fit our new aesthetic.
- Why did you decide to open a cafe?
Garrett (co-owner) has been working in hospitality, food, and beverage for over a decade, most recently at a wine shop/bar. (Purrington's has a pretty great wine list!) He also began volunteering at Cat Adoption Team back in 2015 and assisted in the hospital and as a caregiver at one of the shelter's offsite locations. At the time, we had 4 cats of our own, one of which was a foster fail from Cat Adoption Team, a kitty with special needs named Marmalade. When we found out about Kristen and Sergio's plans to sell Purrington's, it felt like the perfect combination of hospitality and a mission-driven business - we are both really passionate about helping cats find loving, permanent homes and providing a space for the community to connect with cats. We've been fortunate to also work with a shelter partner, staff members, wholesale partners, and community members who share this ethos.
- What do you want our readers to know about you, your team, and/or what you do at Purrington's?
One of the things we've discovered over the past year and a half of being closed is that we have a heart for cats with special needs. We were fortunate enough to foster some kitties with FeLV (Feline Leukemia) in the space during COVID and are hoping to find new ways to incorporate a mission of helping harder to adopt kitties find the loving homes they deserve. We are also excited about participating in a newer shelter service that assists folks who have temporary barriers to keeping their pets in their homes by allowing them to "board" their kitties at Purrington's. They will be residents with us for a designated period of time until their families are able to bring them home again.
- Anything else you'd like us to share?
Sometimes we feel that the food and beverage offerings at Purrington's get a bit overshadowed by the cats (we get that!) But we are really proud of what we offer in the cafe and think we have really tasty house-made menu items along with products from some stellar wholesale partners, including Junior's Roasted Coffee. We'll have a brand new menu when we reopen featuring seasonal, local products - pastries, salads, sandwiches, snack boards, and some great wine, beer, cider, tea, and coffee.