Portland is a city of specialties: coffee, wine, bikes, beer, books, dogs and dope, food, flowers and fashion, all free of sales tax. And as a city, we value our local, independent stores, many of which have been hit hard during the past 18 months of a pandemic both global and local. But there’s good news for retail junkies and supporters of local businesses: Lots of little shops and boutiques launched by scrappy business owners emerged during the uncertainty of the last couple of years, and we've found new gems all over the city. Check out these 10 great new spots, all recent arrivals making our city blossom like new buds after winter.
This Southeast apparel boutique sells a combination of vintage and modern pieces of laid back women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories curated by owner Leann DiPaola. The shop also carries luxurious extras like candles, incense, plants, body products, greeting cards, and even some vintage home goods. DiPaola was living in Lake Tahoe and managing a retail space where she sold her vintage items, as well as on Etsy, but while searching for retail space to open a shop of her own, she found the prices were too expensive and space too hard to come by in touristy Lake Tahoe. She decided to move back close to home in Cleveland, Ohio to open her own boutique, but when her boyfriend relocated to Portland, she found herself in town a lot and decided to open up here as well. DiPaolo eventually closed the Cleveland store in February 2020, focusing her energy on the Portland location where she mixes vintage with new apparel. When the pandemic hit, in-person sales dried up, forcing a shift in her business model. DiPaola introduced pop-ups and invited women-owned businesses to sell their products on her sidewalk; she also started doing local delivery and pick-up, and embraced Shopify to streamline taking store sales and tracking inventory, and used Instagram to boost her customer base. But even with the e-commerce part of the business ramped up, she continues to emphasize the uniquely fun experience of shopping in person.
Opened 2019 on 3638 SE Division
Queer and BIPOC-owned Linus on Williams opened on January 2, and slings a variety of flowers, plants, gifts and other goods like body products, candles, knives, jewelry, greeting cards, wallets, and more. They specialize in making bouquet arrangements in mason jars for any event: anniversaries, holidays, congratulations, get well soon, graduation, funerals, and just because. They also put together some snazzy gift baskets. These days, the staff sets up on the front patio to sell bouquets and other items, ideal for those who prefer an open-air shopping experience. Inside, they’ve got a small space with a delightful witchy vibe, decorated with taxidermy and cedar cuttings.
Opened January 1, 2021 at 3936 N Williams Ave
Beezle Bikes is the brainchild of owner Tom Booth, who has long had a knack for tinkering and repairing bikes, and a dream to own his own bike shop. Located inside the historic Ford Building in SE Portland, and near Ladd's Addition and the Orange Line bikeway, the Beezle Bikes wall is painted to read “Making Your Bike Dreams and Your Bike’s Dreams Come True.” Carrying minimal retail, Beezle Bikes’ main hustle is servicing bikes and specializing in custom wheel builds and full custom bike builds. Bonus: The store boasts the city’s quickest turnaround times for bike repairs at 24-48 hours, unless parts need to be ordered in. Whether you want to make your bicycle feel like a whole new bike, get some new lighter wheels with Berd spokes, buy a new chain, or get a tune up, this place might be your best bet if you’re on a time crunch. Tune-ups range from $50-175, and a full overhaul is $350. Services are also available for purchase “a la carte,” with replacements, builds, and installs going for $15 to $80.
Opened April 1, 2021, on 2505 SE 11th Ave Suite 100
While there are several Black Portlanders who sell books online, Charles Hannah and Michelle Lewis run Portland’s only Black-owned brick-and-mortar bookstore, Third Eye Books, Accessories, and Gifts. The small shop began in the back of their house and grew to a brick-and-mortar shop by the end of 2019. Their business boomed during the protests and racial unrest in response to the murders of Black Americans like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and Third Eye Books needed a large space to keep up with the demand. After a successful GoFundMe, they opened a new SE location in June. Customers can find various excellent and culturally relevant titles either online or in their physical including Anti-Racist Baby by Prof. Ibram X Kendi, classics like A Raisin in the Sun, Barack Obama’s new memoir Promised Land, local author Mitchell S. Jackson’s memoir, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, and many, many more.
Opened June 20, 2021 at 2518 SE 33rd
A new shop on NE Alberta sees owners and married couple Brant Ozanich and Gabriella “Gabby” Terracciano fusing their love of wine and flowers by slinging locally grown bouquets and small production wines with a predisposition toward BIPOC producers. Both former San Francisco residents, Ozanich is a sommelier and Terracciano a florist; they both studied their respective fields in France. Located in the former home of Bristlecone Vintage, the Dogwood tasting room is often host to shop dog Otis, but only the patio seating is where customer's canine companions can hang. In case you didn’t already know it, this space is definitive proof that flowers and wine make for an exceedingly beautiful combination: a bright room with a feature wall of flower power, and on the opposite wall, an impressive bottle collection. Bliss! For her wild and whimsical arrangements, Terracciano tries to get flowers from locally grown and women-owned flower farms, while Ozanich will pull wine from Europe, as well as Oregon winemakers that showcase promising grape varieties like gamay noir and Grüner Veltliner.
Opened May 29, 2021 at 4932 NE 30th
Native Portlander Kamelah Adams is the owner of the popular Black-owned Mimi’s Fresh Tees. The t-shirts featuring social justice messaging were a common sight at Black Lives Matter protests over the last year and a half, and the Portland Thorns women’s soccer team even wore her “Love Over Hate'' shirts on the field at Providence Park. In volunteering and remaining active in the public school system, Adams saw the great extent to which BIPOC (and Black boys in particular) were subjected to systemic disadvantages, and launched the business in 2018 to help young Black students and students of color spark social-justice based conversations in their schools without even uttering a word. Tees bear phrases like “Unity,” “Pride Over Hate,” “Be Kind,” and “Black History Didn’t Start with Slavery.” Now, in addition to the website, Mimi’s Fresh Tees sells t-shirts from a new brick-and-mortar in Old Town/Chinatown. The new storefront joins a neighborhood of other local and BIPOC-owned retailers such as Produce Portland, Deadstock Coffee, and Laundry PDX.
Opened June 5, 2021 at 123 NW 2nd #420
While so many businesses were shutting down, Portland native Eric Lilley was busy opening the excellently curated Good Dog PDX smack bang in the middle of the pandemic. Located on a very dog-friendly block in the Buckman neighborhood —right across the street from the dog park at Revolution Hall and near a couple restaurants that are known to welcome canine company—Good Dog PDX is one of Portland’s newest pet supply stores. The shop is pretty specific to dog owners, offering basically everything you need for a new puppy or resident dog—from bully sticks, chews, healthy dog food, collars, leashes, and safe chew toys for all life stages. Feline friends are not entirely ostracized, though; there is a “Kitty Corner” with some things for cats. There’s also an indoor dog park, “Good Dog Park,” in which anyone can reserve a 30-minute or one-hour time slot for $20-$30. Additionally, the Good Dog Park hosts training sessions, enrichment days, puppy socials and more led by Samuel Power of Power Skill Dog Training (another recently opened small business that offers affordable, humane, positive-reinforcement dog training).
Opened August 8, 202o on 1411 SE Stark
Southern Oregon farm East Fork Cultivars is breaking ground on its flagship brick and mortar shop, as it marks Portland’s first-of-its-kind Amsterdam-style cannabis cafe, where smoking (low THC) hemp is legal at outdoor tables. Focusing on growing and often breeding USDA Organic craft hemp at East Fork Cultivars, Hemp Bar serves as more than just an all-ages space to consume smokable hemp flower, as well as buy edibles, pre rolls, tinctures, topicals, and relax with a CBD-infused mocktail for under $10. The owners also aim to create an environment for learning and having science-based conversations about CBD, and helping cannabis consumers learn more about the complexities of what they’re consuming. Prompting customers to add 10 mg ($1) or 20 mg of CBD to their drinks, they offer simple, no-brainer trios like one mocktail called a “Purple Llama” that’s made of lavender, lemon, and bubbles, and a more tropical “Cocomo” made with coconut, orange, pineapple, lime juice, and fresh nutmeg. They’ve also got plenty of beloved Portland favorites like bottled Brew Dr Kombucha, as well as on-tap kombucha, and life savers like CBD cold brew, chocolate cold brew, seltzer, and tea. Beyond all the drinks and medical remedies, they’ve also got snacks, apparel, hemp seeds, and essential oil. Making them even more accessible, all products sold at Hemp Bar are completely plant-based and vegan.
Opened May 29, 2021 at 6258 SE Foster
Owned by Kimberly Dam, Portland Cà Phê is a Vietnamese American-owned micro-roaster and coffee shop, importing robusta and arabica beans from the Central Highlands of Vietnam and roasting them in Portland. Since Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world and number one for robusta beans, Dam aims to change attitudes and spread awareness about the versatility of Vietnamese coffee by also creating house roasts for stellar vegan spot Mama Dút and Việt Kiều cart Matta. Dam works with owner Lan Marberry, who imports coffee from her family’s farm in Vietnam, roasting and packaging the coffee berries at Bon Mua, Marberry’s facility in Salem. Since the majority of Dam’s beans come from Marberry’s family farm, she’s able to make traditional drinks with real Vietnamese robusta beans, as opposed to chicory-mixed coffee by New Orleans brand Cafe Du Monde, which became a popular substitute in the Vietnamese community in America for its similar rich and robust flavor. In addition to selling beans and making drip coffee, mochas, cappuccinos, lattes, and more, the SE shop specializes in traditional Vietnamese beverages like cà phê sữa đá, AKA Vietnamese iced coffee. Simultaneously strong and sweet, the drink is made with espresso-strength robusta beans and mixed with condensed milk (a condensed coconut milk option is also available for those who don't drink dairy).
Opened April 23, 2021 at 2815 Southeast Holgate
Blackthorn Mercantile on N Williams sells all manner of household essentials: think everything from decor, gifts, and self care products to pantry items, books, jewelry, furniture, and much more. Their offerings are presented with a focus on products by BIPOC, womxn, and LGBTQ suppliers. Discover ceramic egg trays, macrame plant hangers, palo santo sticks, table cloths, soap, tea and the like. Blackthorn Mercantile also hosts outdoor markets (socially distanced, with masks required) that took place every Saturday from 12-5pm this summer, featuring a slew of BIPOC vendors, artisans and makers. On the shop’s website, an array of bakery items are available to order: holiday pies, Swedish cardamom buns, DIY cookie kits, and more. In the future they plan to hold space for local farmer stands, and Blackthorn Mercantile has opened up its auditorium space to community classes and local events of 30 or less people, with affordable rates at $75 per hour or $200 for two hours.
Opened August 5, 2020 at 3954 N Williams Ave