Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Just in time for TriMet’s MAX Orange Line grand opening on Sept. 12, Rohst Coffee opened across the street from the downtown Milwaukie station, 11254 S.E. 21st Ave.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Best friends Thomas Martinez, left, and Bill Horton test out their new espresso machine, nicknamed Betty.Rohst Coffee Co. Operations Manager Kaytee Horton said she and her business partners thought that it would be a really great location for a coffee shop “with its high visibility and convenient location to downtown Milwaukie, Milwaukie High School, being just a few blocks off McLoughlin Boulevard, and, of course, the new light-rail stop right across the street.”

Her husband, Bill Horton, grew up in and around Milwaukie. The dream started when Bill Horton, and his best friend, Thomas Martinez, were painting and installing flooring in the building. Horton’s father is the building’s owner, and his grandfather constructed it.

“They had several people pop in and ask them about the building and the space, suggesting a coffee shop go in once it was complete,” Kaytee Horton said. “Bill and Thomas had thought the same. ... Bill and Thomas have been brainstorming for years on how they could break into business and become entrepreneurs, and as people continued to suggest a coffee shop in the space, it felt like a sign. Both guys have always loved coffee and business, and since I had some experience in the field, it seemed like a natural fit.”

Kaytee Horton had worked as a barista locally for several years through college and had always told Bill it was one of her favorite jobs.

“I really liked the craft and science involved with coffee and, specifically ,espresso, and I also really loved the ability to positively impact someone’s day with excellent customer service,” she said. “I know some people pick their favorite coffee spot based on the coffee, and some pick it based on the service they receive, but it would truly be the perfect combination to have both.”

She said Rohst hopes to stand out based on customer service and delicious espresso and other coffee blends from their roaster, Sisters Coffee Co.

“The Pacific Northwest coffee market is really competitive, as I am sure you can imagine, and we are looking forward to breaking into it and making Rohst the type of place that people want to begin every day at,” she said. 

Behind the scenes, she added, the four of us (Bill, herself, Thomas, and his wife, Alicia) want to make Rohst a great experience for employees as well.

“Job creation isn’t always easy in today’s climate, but it is important, and we would like to contribute by bringing fun entry-level positions to the table with the opportunity for advancement,” she said. “We are hoping that with the expansion of the business, we can later offer our team members some unique experiences and perks.”

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