Talking with Paul, entrepreneur and co-owner of Chill N Fill, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Office Space. Peter, the main character, after all the hilarity of the TPS reports and trashing of the office equipment, is happy. He is out in the fresh air doing what he wants to do. This is the feeling I got from both Paul and his business partner Steve-that they were happy to be doing the thing that they wanted to do-working for themselves.
The growler fill and tap room, located in the Portsmouth neighborhood of North Portland, Oregon, is true to its name and is a chill place. Steve, who co-owns Chill N Fill, hand built the wood tables and bar and helped lay down the tile behind the taps. This is perhaps what gives the space its relaxed atmosphere. It is also the laid back attitude of Paul and Steve who come across as totally genuine and easy going.
“It’s the rule of life, you know, you have things moving all around you and you don’t know where you are going but in the end it works out”
Paul and Steve met as co-workers and became friends. Several years later they are now business partners. When Steve had the idea to start the growler fill taproom, the two were working at different companies. Paul described Steve and himself as feeling “sick and tired of working for other people” and “wanted a job like this” as he motioned his hands to indicate the taproom.
While we were chatting there was the background noise of the locals conversing over lunch from nearby restaurants and of course beer. And it is that same community that is Paul’s favorite part of running the business. He shares that it often feels like “the neighborhoods living room”.
Although meeting people and being a hub in the community is Paul’s favorite part, it wasn’t what he expected to love the most when he decided to join Steve on the venture. Actually, becoming co-owner wasn’t the initial plan at all. The plan was to be a minority investor. But two weeks before the doors of the growler fill were set to open Paul was told he would be laid off. Paul then decided to view this situation as an opportunity and says, “it’s the rule of life, you know, you have things moving all around you and you don’t know where you are going but in the end it works out”.
And it did work out. Instead of having a job that was “just dull, writing reports…” he has a job like this-this being something extraordinary.
When asked what advice he would share with others that want to work for themselves he said without hesitation, “you just have to do it”. Cheers to that!
Visit the growler fill and taproom at 5215 N Lombard in Portland, Oregon. The location offers over 20 beers and cider on tap and several wines. www.chillnfill.com
Written by Andrea Garrity
Photos by Angelina Lusetti & Andrea Garrity