A little boost for downtown retail

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

By Jessica Hoch

Downtown Portland will try to inject the fun back into shopping this fall by joining a host of worldwide cities to indulge in a “Fashion’s Night Out” of events, fashion shows and parties to showcase downtown retail.

The event was created last fall in New York city in coordination with Vogue and others including the Council of Fashion Designers of America to lure back shoppers who have kept their plastic hidden since the recession hit.

FashionPortland will feature its own version of the fashion celebration on September 10 and it’s free and open to the public. Events will include a public fashion show in Director Park as well as an after-party in the Nines Hotel.  Free-standing stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Banana Republic will host in-store events as will many Pioneer Place retailers including J. Crew, Kate Spade, and Betsey Johnson amongst others.  The in-store activities will start at 4:00 p.m and the after-party will go from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Portland will join cities such as New York and San Francisco as well as international fashion meccas in Italy, Britain and Spain that will each celebrate on a night between September 7 and September 16.  CBS will also feature a one-hour on the worldwide event special September 14.  Each of the cities was free to add in local flavor and personalize the event, so Portland added free pedicab rides from the fashion show to the retail stores.

After losing over 3,000 jobs in downtown Portland in 2008 and only gaining back 300 in 2009, retail, amongst other sectors, was hit hard in the recession, and cautious spenders aren’t expected to dole out cash this fall for back-to-school shopping either.  The hope with Fashion’s Night Out is to create more of the downtown vibe that was alive before the economy dove.

“It felt like last year people were on a spending diet, and so we wanted to create an event that made the public know that shopping is fun again and that even if you don’t spend money you can still go and enjoy the art and design for the entertainment value,” says Lisa Frisch, the downtown retail development manger for the Portland Business Alliance.  “Plus it helps puts Portland on the map as a fashion destination.”

Fashion’s Night Out in Portland is put on by the City of Portland, Downtown Marketing Initiative and the Portland Business Alliance.  The event is part of the Downtown Retail Strategy initiated by Mayor Sam Adams last year to clean up empty store-fronts along the downtown signature streets of Morrison and Yamhill.

Retail in Portland suffered a big blow with the Saks Fifth Avenue announcement in March that it would close its 60,000 square foot main store and men’s location in Pioneer Place.  In place of the men’s location will be the Swedish fashion clothier H&M to open this fall, a fast fashion store with inexpensive designs, and a growing international label.

Retail is crucial to Portland’s tourism industry, an industry which brought in an all time high $3.75 billion in 2008.  The industry dropped in 2009, but 2010 is stabilizing and the market is expected to rebound and experience slow positive growth through 2011, according to a report from the Heritage Consulting Group.  Downtown pedestrian counts were up in June compared to results over the last two years, a positive sign, yet it doesn’t signal that shoppers are ready to spend. Neither do the empty store fronts still scattered throughout downtown.

But the September event holds promise to bring some much needed vibrancy – and free is always a good price in a down economy.

Jessica Hoch is an online reporter for Oregon Business.

 

Comments   

 
Lisa
0 #1 Downtown Is DifficultLisa 2010-08-11 15:27:43
The concept is great and the welcoming approach is very appealing but have you driven downtown lately? The construction, the lack of parking, and the aggressive street people (along with those sleeping in doorways) make a trip downtown less that enjoyable.

I worked downtown for 10 years and back then,it was not nearly as great a logistical problem as it is now. And I am sure the answer is "Ride Max" but not everyone is going to make the effort for a fashion show. Make it easy, make it pleasant, and how 'bout doing something about the panhandlers and urban campers? You'll find many more people downtown if you make it more enjoyable
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
styleofaudrey
0 #2 FNO NYC 2010styleofaudrey 2010-08-13 13:48:34
I heard you can win a free trip to FNO in NYC at cbs.com/fno!
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Car Talk

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

Courtside

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Power lunching at the Court Street Dairy Lunch in Salem.


Read more...

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

6 highlights from the Craft Brewers Conference

The Latest
Friday, April 17, 2015
thumbcbcPHOTOS BY  JASON E. KAPLAN

The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000)  to the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


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