For Palak Raval and husband Binaya Sharma, owning a business isn't always about turning a profit. The pair believes business should be about growing a community.
The couple are the owners of Good Intentions Cafe and Deli, a newly opened coffee shop and eatery at 1937 Pacific Ave., Forest Grove.
The eatery is living up to its name, Raval said. With reclaimed wooden tables made by Sharma, natural composting for food waste, and a team composed of Washington County residents, the business has stayed true to its mission since opening May 1.
The owners, who live in Beaverton, said they found Forest Grove charming and would often visit, pick cherries and buy fresh produce at the farmers market, Raval said.
"We just really loved all of the people in this community," she said. "It was important to us that we invest not just our money but, more importantly, our time and energy into the area."
In 2017, they decided to take a leap of faith and purchase their own space. "The turning point — when we knew we really wanted to start this business — was actually after my husband took an Uber ride in California and his driver was originally from Forest Grove," Palak said. "He said the idea of a small cafe and deli was perfect for the area and encouraged my husband to continue with this dream."
The pair had worked in restaurants previously and knew they wanted to create a deli, but said they also hoped to join the area's burgeoning coffee and breakfast scene.
"When Maggie's Buns closed, we wanted to try and fill that hole for residents who were looking for a place to meet up and grab a bite to eat in the morning," Palak said.
To set them apart from other businesses, Palak says creating a locally run, sustainable food service environment was of the utmost importance to her and her husband.
To the team, Good Intentions is more of a passion project than anything else. That's where its name originated. "At first, we wanted to call the place 'University Cafe and Deli'," Palak said. "But as I kept using the words 'good intentions' when talking about the business, my oldest son actually suggested we make that the name."
The name isn't the only help Palak received from her family, as she often used her kids as taste-testers for bread, sandwich meats and flavor pairings. Instead of creating menu items she could turn large profits with, Palak said using higher quality, local ingredients she felt comfortable feeding her own family was what she wanted to give to customers.
Palak and Sharma look forward to becoming even more community-centered in the future, hoping to one day work with additional local coffee roasters and grocers to grow their menu and introduce more monthly specials.
"Ultimately, we want to support more of the local vendors in town," Palak said. "It's our way of giving back to the same people who once welcomed us and our business with open arms."
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