One day, in the middle of the first week of this past Winter term, a note curiously appeared just inside the museum entrance to Fariborz Maseeh Hall (FMH), on the counter of the Case Study Coffee shop. The note seemed to have been hastily written in permanent marker on a pastry bag, which read “CLOSED FOR THE DAY! Be back tomorrow!!” A line-drawn smiley face beneath the text softening the blow. But the next day, the same mysterious scene was set. It appeared nothing had changed since the abandonment. The lights and machines were off, there was no visible barista, and the pastry bag with the friendly note laid in roughly the same place it had been the day before.
“There is not much to tell other than sales were slow due to the mask mandate,” Wes Russell stated in an email last week. Russell and his wife Christine Herman co-founded the first Case Study location on NE Sandy in 2010, and the Portland State location opened in January of 2020, just before COVID-19 made it to the United States. Like many businesses in the early days of the pandemic, the local chain had to temporarily close all of their cafés, including the PSU location. As understanding about COVID-19 has increased and restrictions have decreased, they have slowly been able to reopen four locations to the public, including PSU just this week—welcome news for any under caffeinated Vikings.
When in person learning is in session, the café is a popular spot for students and faculty to grab a morning coffee or an afternoon boost between classes. Located on the first floor of FMH, just below the main entrance to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the café space has a small table and enough chairs to host a small study group or meet with friends. PSU changed guidelines after the Spring break to no longer require mask wearing in classrooms, offices, and most other public and private indoor spaces. Naturally, this decision changes the dynamic surrounding beverages in a class setting. For those who have been waiting, the promise written on the mysterious Case Study pastry bag has finally come true.
Case Study is open in FMH Monday-Friday from 8:30am-11:30am and 12:00pm-2pm
Photographs by Jeremiah Hayden