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Residents may recognize the colorful mural on the side of the building for Upstairs Yoga and Wellness Cafe.

PMG PHOTO: JANAE EASLON - Azy Pournaderi (left), 20, and her sister, Mina Pournaderi, 24, grew up in Banks and will open their business, Upstairs Yoga and Wellness Cafe, this fall. Sisters Mina and Azy Pournaderi are the soon-to-be newest business owners in downtown Forest Grove.

Both grew up in Banks, and they traveled all over the world before deciding they wanted to pursue their lifelong dream of opening a yoga studio and cafÉ together close to home.

Next month, Upstairs Yoga and Wellness CafÉ is expected to open above the previous News-Times office, 2038 Pacific Ave. The newspaper moved out of the building earlier this year for new space in downtown, 2004 Main St.

Many might have seen the colorful, eye-catching mural across the side of the building. It's something the Pournaderis thought would build interest in their business before it officially opens to the public.

"Many families have told us in passing they have gone out of their way to see what the mural is all about," Mina Pournaderi said. "They come by and check on how we are doing, and have gotten excited that yoga is coming here. We are really excited to be here."

Dan Stephens painted the mural, with its distinctive honeycomb motif. He said he had been sketching out a similar pattern before the Pournaderis commissioned him to create the public art piece, and the idea seemed to be a good fit.

"They were just very open to the creative freedom to come up with something that I thought would work for the space," Stephens said.

Twenty-year-old Azy Pournaderi is a certified yoga instructor who studied in Nepal, and her sister Mina, 24, will run the cafÉ side of things.

The menu is to be determined, but the cafÉ will look to have local products listed and vegan options, Mina Pournaderi said.

"We want it to be super-sustainable," she said. "We are surrounded by these amazing farms. We're dedicated to having that."

The open concept of the space, which will have two entrances from either side of the building, will allow a private area for classes and a room of tables for cafÉ customers.

All the walls will have art from locals, and inside, there will be murals much like the one outside, Azy Pournaderi said.

The building is one of the oldest in Forest Grove, and it's been a prominent part of the city for generations. Earlier in its life, it was a department store. It was a newspaper office for more than three decades.

"It kind of adds to the energy of the piece," Stephens said.

As an artist, he appreciates that history and the small-town vibe of Forest Grove, where he hadn't worked before being commissioned to paint the mural.

"For the most part, I think something like that adds to the enthusiasm more so than it creates anxiousness," Stephens said.

Beyond classes and food, the Pournaderis want their business to be a spot for groups to rent out the space and hold events for the community, they said. The goal is to be open until midnight, for students also to have a space to hang out.

"We want this to be a community space, and a safe space," said Mina Pournaderi.

To stay updated on the opening of Upstairs Yoga and Wellness CafÉ, visit its Instagram page.


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