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

Greenpeace (temporarily) prevents Shell oil ship from leaving Portland

The Latest
Thursday, July 30, 2015
hangersBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge in an attempt to prevent a ship from heading to the Arctic.


Read more...

Inside the Box

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY GINA BINOLE

Screening for “culture fit” has become an essential part of the hiring process. But do like-minded employees actually build strong companies — or merely breed consensus culture?


Read more...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Tuesday, August 04, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

The Cover Story

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 27, 2015
01-cover-0915-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?


Read more...

Back to School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone. 


Read more...

Reader Input: Fair Play

May 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Former Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation in February prompted some soul searching in this state about ethical behavior in industry and government.


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


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