Sunday, August 26; 11am – 6 pm
Celebrate 35 years with neighbors and friends!
Whether you bike it, walk it or drive to it, join Hawthorne Merchants, local non-profits and local vendors for live music, excellent children’s activities, adult fun and great food. End your summer with friends while gathering new information and/or must have items for school, home or work.
Main Stage | 38th & Hawthorne
11:00 – 12:00 Pagan Jug Band (Old time Jug/Bluegrass 12:30 – 1:30: Reverb Brothers (Good time Music
2:00 – 3:00: Sonny Hess Band (Blues)
3:30 – 4:30: Geebsville (R&B and Latin)
5:00 – 6:00: LaRhonda Steele (Soul Diva)
Outdoor Living Room | 37th & Hawthorne 1:00 – 5:00 pm
From Hawthorne to the Gold Door enjoy the comfortable outdoor living room while hearing an opera singer, a harmonica player and some awesome young hip-hop singers and other talents.
Acoustic Stage | 34th & Hawthorne
Activities extend further east to New Seasons Market, The Fernie Brae and more. A detailed map will be available at the Information Booth on SE 34th and Hawthorne
The stories beginning on the following page are about some of the long time retail anchors here on Hawthorne Blvd. Due to time and space we weren’t able to reach everyone. The merchants we did interview give a good idea of the entrepreneurial determination, vision, creativity, resourcefulness, quest for beauty and independent Zen nature of an owner/operator store. We are lucky to have our own local shopping area, a commodity that many cities are just beginning to reestablish–a commodity that relies on you to support. Remember that with every dollar spent in our community sixty cents stays in our community.
Twenty-nine years ago Cindy Zielinski opened her first Fyberworks storefront on Hawthorne Blvd. She had her eye on the little building on the southwest corner of 41st & Hawthorne, and when it became available, she jumped at the opportunity to express her passion for fashion.
In this little shop, Cindy made and sold customized athletic-ware specializing in colorful, fun gear for women’s aerobics and jazzercise classes. No one else was doing this at the time. Working on stretchy synthetic material is challenging as any seamstress can tell you, but she mastered it over the years. “I got into this business because I loved the fabrics designs and colors,” Cindy said.
The building was owned by Minnie Severinsen, the mother of the famous jazz trumpeter Doc (aka Carl) Severinsen. His dad had a dental office there until he retired. One day while Cindy was sewing away she heard the man himself playing his scales. Much to the joy of her parents, she got to meet him and received his autograph on a picture of the store. It was one of her mother’s cherished items.
Eventually the Severinsens sold the building and Cindy moved her business up the street to 4300 SE Hawthorne Apt. B, the back of the storefront she now occupies.
At first, Cindy featured locally-made clothing and accessories, but over the years the business evolved and Cindy was able to connect with other vendors that produce beautiful clothing much of which is made in the U.S.
What inspires her most in choosing the products she sells is color and texture rather than a niche market. “It allows me a broader range of choices and plays to my passions about the goods I carry,” Cindy said.
Most of the jewelry in the shop is created by local artists, so it helps support these women and gives her customers a wide range of styles to choose from.
During the month of August, Fyberworks will be having a clearance sale in the Sales room. Everything will be discounted 50 percent off the sale price. This will be the biggest sale of the year and will give the store room to move fall product into the shop.
For years Fyberworks was a one-woman operation, but over time, a little help was needed and she hired employees. They added the extra pizazz to help the shop grow and flourish. “These amazing women, each have their own creative endeavors that they pursue. They bring this passion with them to work forming strong relationships with my customers,” she said.
When asked about being on Hawthorne in 2018, Cindy said the challenges are the same as they have always been. There’s the economy, traffic, construction and competition to name a few but overall she said she wouldn’t want to be anyplace else.
“It’s been a thrill to see this business grow and change to meet the needs of my customers.”
Life’s serendipitous journey brought Karalee Sloan together with her English-born husband, David Whitehouse, in the exciting City of San Francisco. Karalee had worked her way up in the clothing industry eventually managing a small chain of clothing stores. It was David’s suggestion to start their own clothing boutique that landed them in Portland. At the time, Karalee was locked into a non-compete clause that meant she could only do this if they moved to another city.
A three day trip to Portland back in 2006 convinced them to go north. “We moved here in February of that year and opened the first Sloan’s on NW 23rd the following June,” Karalee said. In 2011, they decided to bring their business into their own neighborhood and opened the store at 3526 SE Hawthorne Blvd. In 2015 they opened a third store at 3824 N. Mississippi.
The Hawthorne location is now the hub of daily operations for the Sloan Boutiques. It is here that Karalee, David and staff members orchestrate all the behind the scenes activity of running this type of boutique.
“Every city has a fashion style,” Karalee said. Her observation is that, in Portland, woman prefer clothes that are translatable. They can shift effortlessly from work to everyday to going out on the town. The also like natural fibers like cotton and silk. “Woman today are also more accepting of their body types than ever before so we carry styles in a range of sizes from 00 – 26,” she said. “Our staff are well-trained,“ she said. ”They can assess an individuals body type and recommend brands that will fit them well.”
The excitement of David and Karalee for the trajectory of Sloan Boutique is palpable. “We began with the goals of carrying some U.S. brands, giving good customer service, staying current with the trends and offering affordable style to our customers,” David said. Over the years they have listened to what their clients have asked for.
“Sometimes we will have three generations of women in here shopping together,” Karalee said. It is this spectrum of ages, shapes and styles that makes Sloan Boutique the versatile store that it is.
Currently they employ thirty people, offering them medical insurance, IRAs and other benefits and advancements. “I am so impressed by how professional all the young workforce we employ is. Prior to opening Sloan, I worked as an employee in this industry. I know how hard those jobs are,” Karalee said.
David and Karalee are thankful for their skilled and talented workforce who help keep Sloan current and moving into the future. “We don’t have a lot of family living close so the members of the Sloan team have become our family.”
They like being here on Hawthorne, Coming from San Francisco, they are used to a few eccentrics and all the colorful people that make up a big city.
Memento PDX has had a presence on Hawthorne since the 1994 renaissance. During this time more small, independent businesses started opening and the boulevard transformed from a sparsely populated retail area to the lively street scene it has become.
Miranda Levin and Brian Boshart were employees of the original Greg’s. They bought the store in 2010, changed the name and continued to expand and refine the eclectic theme of the shop.
They named the store Memento PDX, which means memory in Latin. “It was the first word I thought of because it encompasses so much – the purchasing of a gift is a memento and the remembrance of a great friend,” Miranda said.
The merchandise in Memento hums with creativity, humor, whimsy, irony, beauty – oh and lots of cats with some skulls thrown in. Miranda moved here from Los Angeles in 1994 – a city known for its progressive creative scene. “I want to be edgier than the mainstream to reflect my personal taste,” said Levin.
This store is the perfect outlet for Miranda’s multi-faceted range of passions. “I only sell what I would buy or give to a friend.” They sell handmade Queen Bee bags, jewelry, artwork, T-shirts, candles, cards and notebooks. The button selection nails our cultural icons, the Blue Q socks are hilarious, characters from Studio Ghibli adorn many items and Hydro-flasks are practical. There is a special something for everyone.
While her history in the community has been well-documented, it’s her future that sounds the most interesting. “What I’d really like to see is a gallery-type space in the store so I can showcase larger and more original works by local artists.”
Momento had a taste of celebrity exposure too. Best-selling local author and long-time shopper Chuck Palahniuk chose Memento for a book signing for Bait, his coloring book and collection of short stories. He is the author of Fight Club. “He’s a real sweet guy,” said Miranda.
“What’s nice about being on Hawthorne are all my neighbors who we’ve gotten to know really well over the past twenty years,” she said. “There’s such a wonderful sense of community here.”
“We have a lot of talented friends who do the photography, cards, clothing, artwork and jewelry and I am proud to have their work in our store. Also, being from Los Angeles with its very Hispanic and Mexican culture, I’m able to incorporate that feel into the store as well.”
On the day of the Street Fair, Chris Stevens of Pop Octopus will have his booth with gifts for weirdos. Visit Memento at 3707 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
imelda’s and LOUIE’S shoes
Some of you might remember back to 1994 when, just off Hawthorne at SE 37th, the first Imelda’s Designer Shoes opened. It was a bold endeavor to undertake in this area since it was just starting the slow build to the bustling commercial district it is today, but Pam Coven had the vision. Since then, Imelda’s has offered Portland cool accessories and one the best selections of fashionable, comfortable and affordable shoes in the city.
Pam moved here after visiting a friend in 1991. “I loved the easy access to the mountains and the ocean and the sense of community,” she said.
SE Portland reminded her of the neighborhoods she grew up in. “Everything you needed was close to where you lived,” she said. A small town feel in a big city. Pam is a native of Chicago and lived in Bucktown but spent a lot of time in the Lincoln Park neighborhood where her family had their retail stores. She learned about the shoe trade working for them.
In the beginning, the store was called Imelda’s Designer Shoes and it was just that: designer shoes for women and men that were both fashionable and affordable. It was located in one of three tiny store fronts north of where Starbucks and Three Doors Down is today. “We were immediately well-received by the community.”
Coven already had the connections to buy job lots of the previous year’s shoe designs and sell them at discount prices. Imelda’s was one of the first shoe stores to carry Frye boots, Uggs and Dansko – names now familiar to the buying public. They carried Hobo handbags and accessories, many of which were locally-made.
When one of the first modern contemporary retail/apartments spaces became available in 2003 at 3426 SE Hawthorne, Pam was ready to expand. They rebranded their look and gave a name to the men’s department. Louie’s Shoes was chosen as a nod to Pam’s relative and the famous Louis XIV heel.
The men’s department expanded into a space of their own in 2012 when the business next door closed down. Now men and women’s shoes had their own department.
As times change, so do our choices in fashion. “The people here are not caught up in fads, but they do have a style and that’s what we speak to,” Coven said. Dansko is still one of the top sellers, but other trends Kork Ease, Blundstone, Born, Frye boots and Vans bridge the store to another generation of shoppers.
Imelda’s continues to carries accessories–handbags, hats, socks, jewelry and this year, Pam will add a line of outerwear coats made by Pendleton to the repertoire. What a fine compliment to the other merchandise at Imelda’s.
The importance of having good employees is vital to a successful business. Today’s market demands a lot of different platforms to reach the consumer and Pam’s employees are able to do all of this in-house.
“What is still most important is old school customer service and selling skills,” Pam said. This is where the real joy and satisfaction of retail is played out.
On the day of the Street Fair, Imelda’s will have great deals with closeouts and end of season sale items.
After years of working conventional day jobs and hardly ever seeing one another, Anton and Debra Cox decided to start a business they could do together. Their appreciation for the aesthetics of mid-century modern furniture came at a time when the general public was starting to wake up once again to the beauty and simplicity of this style.
They began small, renting spaces in different established shops. One of them was Sorels owned by Dan McDermott. In 2011, he retired and Anton and Debra took over the whole space, changing the name to Asylum.
The name Asylum was chosen as an acknowledgement to the past when Hawthorne Blvd. was named Asylum Blvd. and also for its literal meaning – to escape chaos or a sanctuary.
The interior of the store embodies how soothing, graceful and functional the sleek lines of modern furniture, lighting, and home décor can be. “We can also thank the series Mad Men for bringing the aesthetics of modernism to the mainstream,” Anton said.
Some of the pieces they select are brand new and some are from the mid-century. It’s hard to tell because they are in such good condition. “The difference in the tag will let you know what’s new and what isn’t,” Anton said.
Store owners strive to offer items that have both quality and affordability, reaching out to what they think is the forgotten or overlooked middle ground between bottom-basement prices (and quality) and the upper echelons.
The gift items complement the era with their leanings towards the atomic age. In other words: clever, forward thinking items that exemplify a love of design and simplicity, wit, and a curiosity about the world.
“Interestingly, the people who “get” our store the best – the ones who discover us and get excited – are people who come from larger cities (like L.A., Chicago, and San Francisco). They tell us they have never seen a store like ours before,” said Anton.
Debra added that, “We are the only place in the Portland metro area that carries some lines: Sacco, Bulbing, The Line Meori, to name but a few.
With the new furniture and lighting, they make sure to inspect and assemble every item. They do this because they know what it’s like to bring home something in a box, then discover it is damaged or missing key pieces. “We take care of that so you don’t have to,” Anton said.
With wood items, it adds the benefit of the customer getting to choose the wood grain that appeals to him/her most rather than accepting whatever is in the box.
The staff is friendly and excellent at finding out the needs of customers so that they get the products that are right for them and their specific circumstances. 3713 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Fred’s Sound of Music
Guess who John Lennon called when the Beatles needed a microphone for their Portland performance back in 1965?
Where did Paul Revere & The Raiders drive up in their hearse in the back lot to find pro gear that no other store offered?
The answer? Sound of Music on Hawthorne, which has been around in one form or another since 1948. Sound of Music is a family-owned business started by German Jewish immigrant Fred Lindemann who learned how to repair electronics in Shanghai and was hired over the phone by the store’s original owner. The store is now run by Fred’s son Steve.
The place was jumping on a recent weekend visit.
“Business is excellent,” said Devin Dahlgren, who also does custom systems in people’s homes. “We have a pretty well established, family-owned history. The store has been in this location since 1948. We cater to a large variety of customers’ needs from vintage to high end.”
A trip to the back of the store was like revisiting Howie Sklar’s bedroom, circa Syosset, New York in the late 70s — filled with silver front devices, old fashioned cassette players and sleek speakers.
“There’s a coolness and tangibility to vinyl and turntables that’s driving people to want to
play music, but if you compare the gear from 20-30 years ago to today’s digital systems, for about the same prices, you’re going to be absolutely blown away because of the improved accuracy and finer details you’ll hear,” said Dahlberg. “In fact digital is just as good as analog.”
A high quality system, including a turntable, digital player/speaker combo that’s small and wireless can be purchased for around $700. It’s not too early to planting a seed for an upcoming birthday/Christmas present.
Visit Sound of Music at 3760 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
P.S. If you’re looking for the type of mic John Lennon used, forget about it. The store hasn’t carried microphones for years.