Home Back Issues May 2009 The PDX-BK connection

The PDX-BK connection

| Print |  Email
Archives - May 2009
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

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

Political Clout

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

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


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