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During closure, Sisters Coffee puts workers above profit

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The team at Sisters Coffee in the Pearl District is thrilled to be back up and roasting.

Megan Patterson is the assistant manager at Sisters Coffee, Jan. 11, 2019. (KOIN)

Back in August, a fire in the apartment above the coffee shop set off sprinklers and brought in the big hoses from the fire department. 

“It just became a waterfall in here,” Megan Patterson, the coffee shop’s assistant manager, told KOIN 6 News.

The water damage was so bad, Sisters Coffee had to shut down for more than four months.

Despite the financial loss, the owners of the coffee shop — the Durham family — chose to invest in its team.

The family said they’re thankful to Farmers Insurance for their robust policy that covered all managers at Sisters Coffee. The Durhams also wrote a letter to the insurance company to be sure to include shift leads under the management coverage. 

“Farmer’s Insurance was there for us from day one,” said Justin Durham. “We recently increased our policy at our annual review and we’re very glad we did.” 

Hourly employees were covered during the first 60 days, which ended Oct. 20. After that, the Durhams continued to pay those employees out-of-pocket. 

Sisters Coffee is located in the Pearl District, Jan. 11, 2019. (KOIN)

All of the employees at Sisters Coffee received pay throughout the months-long closure — something employees said went a long way.

“So valued, so supported, so seen and cared for,” Patterson said. “It was really special.”

During the temporary closure, the Sisters team stayed in touch and met up once a week, so the coffee shop’s reopening on Monday felt more like a reunion.

Mackenzie Williams is a shift lead at Sisters Coffee, Jan. 11, 2019. (KOIN)

“We wouldn’t be Sisters without our team,” Patterson said.

The story of Sisters Coffee comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of federal employees are struggling without pay due to the government shutdown.

“We’re so glad this story is getting out there, and seeing that this family is setting an example, hopefully for the whole country,” shift lead Mackenze Williams said.

Williams added that the Durhams are “really kindhearted individuals” who created a great work environment for them.

“We put our trust in the right people,” Williams said. “We knew they were going to come through for us. It made us even more stoked that we chose to work here and stay here.”

Employees at Sisters Coffee said they’re so grateful to the family-owned company that puts people above profit.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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