The PDX-BK connection

| Print |  Email
Friday, May 01, 2009

ATSBrooklynPortland

PORTLAND For Lexy Funk, opening the only West Coast chapter of her clothing company, Brooklyn Industries, in Portland was a no-brainer.

The longtime Brooklynite founded the company with her artist husband, Vahap Avsar, in 2001 in Williamsburg and made hipster staples like the bike messenger bag and graffiti T-shirts into fashion for the masses. “We could have more easily opened a store on the Upper West Side, but Portland really resonated with us,” says Funk about launching their 11th location at the corner of Northwest 23rd Ave. and Johnson St. last February. “A lot of the creativity we see in Brooklyn we also see in Portland. There is a natural synergy.”

This synergy has long been palpable for the aesthetic similarities between the cities (think bikes, skinny-jeaned artists and industrial backdrops) and has established a sister-city immigration pattern of sorts among Portlanders with big-city dreams and Brooklynites weary of paying $1,800 per month in rent. Or in the case of Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall, relocating from southeast Portland to Brooklyn last winter to launch her fashion career, instead of to Manhattan: “It just felt right. It felt like home.”

Businesses are catching on, say entrepreneurs like Funk, because there is a sense in both cities that inspiration and financial reward are not mutually exclusive. Matt Lounsbury, head of operations for Portland’s hometown java empire, Stumptown Coffee, says this word — inspiration — comes up often in his dealings with clients in Brooklyn, where the company recently opened a roasting plant in the sparse industrial neighborhood of Red Hook, and where a dozen or so local restaurants and retailers are serving and selling Stumptown’s coveted fair-trade brews.

“Manhattan is the big city; Brooklyn has that neat indie feel that we’re all about,” says Lounsbury. “People in Brooklyn ‘get’ Portland. There is definitely a mutual admiration.”

Funk says the Brooklyn Industries store in northwest Portland is already faring better than their only other store outside of New York City, located in Chicago, which opened more than a year ago. Sales associate Korina Emmerich says she’s meeting a lot of longtime B.I. devotees and also a lot of newbies. “People are a little confused when they see us. They’re like, ‘What is a Brooklyn store doing here?’” she says. “They’re totally interested, and also a little weirded out, too.”

In a city like Portland, that’s never a bad thing.

STACEY WILSON
 

Comments   

 
Chris Masagatani
0 #1 eROI AgreesChris Masagatani 2009-07-03 12:29:42
Love the article. I moved to NYC 2 years ago to start eROI NYC. The transition was one of the most exciting of my life. There is a ton of truth to this line "inspiration and financial reward are not mutually exclusive." The odd couple NYC-PDX.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Water World

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Fred Ziari aims to feed the global population.


Read more...

Corner Office: Marv LaPorte

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

Streetfight

News
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS