By Michelle Frost
Once upon a time, a massage therapist and a corporate software technician dreamed of owning a store that would offer ‘healthy kitchen’ solutions to the community. In 1999 that dream came true and Mirador opened in their first location at SE Market & 11th Streets.
Owners Lynn and Steve Hanrahan have always been interested in the food movement, organics, supporting farmers, and shopping locally. “A part of our mission, a big part of cooking, is ‘where does your food come from’ and from the very beginning we have been thinking of all of this,” Lynn explains. Mirador was promoting ‘Shop Local’ in the early days of the health food movement.
By 2001, needing a larger space to offer more products, they re-opened in their current location at the corner of SE 21st & Division in a brick building constructed in the 1920’s that was originally a gas station. “We live nearby and always had our eye on this building and in 2000 it became available!”
Lynn and Steve eventually left their former careers to put everything into growing the store. They share the responsibilities of this thriving business. “Steve likes to cook. He enjoys it, so he handles most of the kitchenware,” Lynn motions with an arm at the east end of the shop where the kitchen goods are displayed. “I take care of the other half of the store, for the most part,” which includes any food items, table linens, organic cotton bedding, Ball jars, greeting cards, and a myriad of gifts for the home.
“This is not retail therapy,” Lynn explains, “This is shopping for home life, for better eating and cooking for families. We have lots of mothers in.” Mirador offers healthy alternatives such as glass food storage, non-stick cookware, and pressure cookers for people interested in energy savings. “Uncle Harry’s is a product line we carry that has very few ingredients…it’s just simple,” Lynn points out.
Mirador has several focuses, “made in Portland, made in Oregon, made in the West, and made in the U.S.” Lynn reports, “but some things just aren’t made here, some kitchenware, it’s just not possible to get.” For imported items, Mirador does support the Fair Trade movement, ordering from four companies who have recently been impacted by the earthquake in Nepal. “It really hits home,” Lynn says, “we don’t even know who is okay.”
Many new products have arrived for summer, including purple Ball jars with interchangeable tops (from sipping straw to lotion pump or spray bottle), a whole set of products for packing your lunch, travel mugs, and all the supplies needed for canning and preserving. “We’re all set,” Lynn says, “it’s an early season, and we’re ready to go!” The owners and both employees are available to give a mini-lesson as needed, for example, in fermentation or canning. “It’s easy to give a five-minute lesson for making sauerkraut,” Lynn explains. Also, many customers may not realize that Mirador offers a gift registry, not just a bridal registry but “any kind of gift.”
When asked about the store’s name, “We had a cat named Mira, and we were just sitting around the living room one night with a Spanish dictionary when we found ‘mirador’ which means ‘a wide view of the landscape’ and the next morning we decided, ‘That’s it!’”
On July 22 Mirador celebrates 16 years in business. They invite the community to their big anniversary sale, “Everything in the store will be on sale,” Lynn reports. For more information on the history of the business or the building, and for services and products offered, check-out the website www.miradorkitchenandhome.com and ‘like’ them on their Facebook page Mirador Kitchen & Home. Address 2106 SE Division St, Phone 503.231.5175, Hours: Mon-Sat, 10-6 and Sun 11-5.