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|Articles - September 2012|
|Monday, August 27, 2012|
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When Andrew Neerman opened Beacon Sound in Northeast Portland with Josh Tuntland last August, he was not concerned with the digital threat.
“The digital realm was already established,” he says. “Music Millennium had to deal with the upheaval. We’re riding this new little wavelet that’s almost running counter to the digital.”
Instead, Neerman was more concerned with whether Portland had hit its saturation point with indie record shops. With so many throughout the city, including one now less than a mile away, he had his doubts.
“It seems like a small miracle that we’ve been breaking even,” he says.
While most all of the shops earn enough to pay for themselves and any employees, owners say sometimes just barely. Many supplement their own incomes with side jobs.
“It’s a real scrappy business model,” Isaacson says, likening the small record-shop scene in Portland to that of the city’s food carts. “Get what you can where you can, and throw it together. It’s very DIY, and it’s very small-scale.”
Rachel Rhymes, owner of Record Room on NE Killingsworth Street since October 2010, works at least 60 hours a week without compensating herself for the extra time to keep her doors open.
“I’m the buyer, the grader, the pricer, the bookkeeper, the janitor and the promoter,” she says.
To attract additional business, Rhymes offers beer, wine, pinball and deejayed events in addition to records and cassettes.
“The idea was to be a space where people could come and hang out whether they were buying music or not,” she says. “It’s definitely month-to-month, but it’s wonderful and it’s growing and it’s going to be great.”
White at Clinton Street supports himself with side jobs like deejaying in Portland, Seattle and San Diego, and while he’s still paying off the store’s startup costs on his credit card, the shop funds itself completely.
“I carry pretty hard-to-find stuff,” he says. “I tell people I’ll find them anything and cater to them very directly, which is different from most places.”
For his part, Isaacson supports the Mississippi Records shop by running a record label with the same name from the back room. He has released 125 records, mostly reissues of old blues, gospel and international recordings. While 30% of his business comes through the store, 70% comes through the label.
“If it wasn’t for that, I don’t know that we’d be in business,” he says.
On a Saturday afternoon at Isaacson’s North Albina shop, the sun filters lazily through the half-closed blinds and Rocksteady Fever spins on the turntable. A customer brings three records and three mix-tapes to the sales counter.
“We’ll make it 60 bucks square,” Isaacson says, writing down the album names in the lined notebook he uses instead of a computer system.
The man pays and, leaving the shop, passes under a bright red, hand-lettered sign that reads: “Always … Love Over Gold.”
“It’s a cultural Portland thing,” Isaacson says. “People decide what their dream job is and just go for it, and they find a way to survive.”
Thursday, January 29, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Power Lunch at the Imperial.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?
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The official launch will be Jan. 14.
In a switch on the traditional trade show, representatives from UO departments and local and state agencies will host tables to connect with businesses and vendors. The fourth Reverse Vendor Fair will take place Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Eugene.