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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.”
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Oregon Business magazine's "Green Your Workplace" seminar featured a panel of sustainability experts from small, medium and large organizations. The seminar drew 70 people and took place in the Nines Hotel this morning.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
BY ANDREA DURBIN | OB GUEST BLOGGER
Last week, the Obama administration took an important and welcomed step in the effort to protect the health and well-being of all Oregonians by limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
I was in a rut. A few months ago, I was at my desk trying to come up with cover story ideas for our June “green” issue. But I was stuck on a concept that is a bit too tried and true in the magazine business.
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BY KIM MOORE
Transportation accounts for the second-largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S. (28% in 2012), and the use of renewable fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol, is booming in light of state and national programs to make transportation fuels cleaner.
Friday, July 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”
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