Portfolio Coffeehouse: Java joint is a popular Rose Park hangout

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portfolio-coffeehouse-long-beachEverythingLongBeach recently spoke with Kerstin Kansteiner, owner of Portfolio Coffeehouse, via email. She talked about inspirations, challenges and what’s it’s like having a business in 4th Street – Retro Row.

How long has Portfolio Coffeehouse been in business?:

Since September 1990

Describe Portfolio Coffeehouse:

Among the tree-lined neighborhoods of 4th Street-Retro Row in Long Beach, Portfolio Coffeehouse renders culture, friendship and caffeine fixes to java junkies amidst an eclectic collection of people, vintage furnishings, an outdoor patio, and fine art.

With two extensive rooms and a large sidewalk patio, this neighborhood coffeehouse features a lunch/brunch menu, pastries, assorted bottled specialty drinks, and all the caffeine you’d expect from your neighborhood coffeehouse.

Why did you start Portfolio Coffeehouse?

I was born in there, they are a culture in Europe. When I moved here in 1989, I missed that sense of community and place where one can meet friends and make new ones.

What makes Portfolio Coffeehouse stand out?

The first coffeehouse in Long Beach to present poetry readings in 1990, Portfolio Coffeehouse earned the reputation of being on the cutting edge of artistic expression. Portfolio secures that reputation by serving as a venue for many emerging West Coast artists with ongoing fine art exhibitions, each running between six and eight weeks.

What is the biggest success Portfolio Coffeehouse has had?

Portfolio’s biggest sucess is being an integral a part of its community. This is where friendships are born, meetings are held and interesting conversations with strangers across the counter end up in marriage proposals.

What is your favorite part of running your business?

Connecting with new people daily.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

Many people think that it is just 18 hours of pure fun to work in a coffeehouse, but unless you have done this, it is hard work.

I am grateful for my employees who master this challenge daily.

What unique talents do you bring to Portfolio Coffeehouse?

I have a degree in business administration and marketing from Germany which helped me….very little. 🙂

How is Portfolio Coffeehouse involved with the community?

Involvement with my community is big for Portfolio. I strongly believe that you must give back to the community that you live in or do business in.

Portfolio helps with donations, tree plantings, street clean-ups, community events and much, much more.

I am personally involved as the president of the local neighborhood organization (Rose Park) and I am also the president of the 4th Street Business Improvement District.

Do you have any future plans for Portfolio Coffeehouse?

Portfolio just expanded to our second location next to the Art Theatre here on 4th Street.
We would like to continue to serve this community with great coffee and espresso drinks – one cup at a time!

What is the best advice that you received and who did it come from?

“If you like what you do, it will show.” — My dad.

One Last Thing:

Shop local. This not only creates more revenue in sales tax, but it is good citizenship to purchase things from your neighbor first – but that’s not enough. Shopping local does a lot of things that provide direct value to us and our community. We need to take all of this into account as we calculate value. Besides sales tax paying for things like police, fire, parks etc., shopping local keeps jobs in town. From a green point if view, less travel is good for the environment and less travel is safer as well. More important for me, shopping local is fun and convenient. I really enjoy knowing the people I buy things from and part of the experience is spending a few minutes catching up.

The Details:

  • Business Name:  Portfolio Coffeehouse
  • Business Address:  2300 E 4th Street
  • Business Phone Number:  562.434.2486
  • Business Website:  portfoliocoffeehouse.com

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