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Michael Phinney

For Michael Phinney, owner of Full City Coffee Roasters, the typical workday (seven days/week) begins at 4 am at the roasting plant. On MWF, he follows up with an 8-11 am shift behind the counter at the Palace Bakery, his companion business adjoining the Pearl Street store. He puts in hours at both FC locations and does maintenance and deliveries. Two or three times a year, he visits his coffee growers in the Americas and Africa. "I was the only kid in my class in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade," says Phinney, a student in the two-room Fisher Grade School in the Five Rivers area who later rode the bus two hours each way to high school in Waldport. "I learned to sleep on the bus." Working in plywood mills to pay his way, Phinney earned a UO history degree in four years. He also learned to hang out in coffee shops. In 1979, he took a job at the Coffee Corner. "I was a barista before we called it that," he says. "I found I have a knack for roasting." In 1990, he and two partners opened Full City. Now the sole owner, Phinney is celebrating FC's 20th Anniversary this month by donating a full day's gross receipts to CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected kids. Learn about CASA at casa-lane.org.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 8 July 2010

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