This month, Family Fun RV closed its location at 333 SE 82nd Avenue after relocating the last reaming inventory to the new lot in St. Helens, Oregon. Construction fencing now surrounds the former vehicle sales establishment. Last year this company closed its other Portland location at 1027 SE 82nd Avenue to focus efforts oping a larger facility along Columbia River Highway.
Since 2017, Family Fun RV sold new and used recreation vehicles from the 82nd Avenue location. Although suffering recent thefts at the site and navigating challenging conditions on surrounding streets, this business’s relocation stemmed from the imminent sale of the property. The owner of this 28,212 square foot car lot listed it for sale at the beginning of 2022, along with many other properties in the area. Information regarding the pending sales of the site is not yet known. However, Family Fun RV staff indicated in a phone call last month that they would only close the 82nd Avenue location after being informed of an offer on the property.
Family Fun RV’s new sales lot is substantially larger than the old Portland location, giving the woman-owned business the space to grow operations. Whoever buys the now-vacant 82nd Avenue location will gain a propionate property near downtown Montavilla. The half-block site has street frontages on three sides, making it highly accessible for many concurrent uses. Although it could easily host another automotive business, it is an ideal location for a mixed retail and housing project.
Later this year, the Mia and More restaurant will relocate from its original Beaverton shop to 326 SE 82nd Avenue. The store’s menu features fresh-pressed sugarcane juice, milk tea, fruit smoothies, and Vietnamese street food. Located in the Annex building near SE Stark Street, the retail space previously housed Las Tres Flores and All-Ways Warm fireplace store. Remodeling crews are now waiting on permit approvals before they begin transforming the space.
The Mia and More brand originated in Kent, Washington, several years ago. The owners license the name to other independent store operators across the country and supply licensees with sugarcane sourced from trusted farms in Vietnam. The Beaverton location was the first Mia and More in Oregon. Local restaurant owner Michelle Tran wanted to open her Mia and More location in Portland. However, an existing commercial lease in Beaverton allowed Tran to test the market before committing to a dedicated space.
Tran is no stranger to Portland eateries, having owned The House of Ramen on SW Columbia Street for many years. However, with a 22-year-long career in the medical industry, Tran wanted to expand her food service work to include more fresh and natural products. The Mia and More brand had built a reputation for high-quality ingredients that appealed to her. “We blend the sugarcane juice with real fruit instead of powder. The only powder that we use with the taro powder, chocolate, and matcha, those are the ones we can’t help,” explained Tran.
After a short time in Beaverton, Tran began looking for a location closer to her most active customers and a community with an appreciation for the menu items. “So when we were in Beaverton, people had to drive all the way from Portland, Vancouver, Salem to get to the Beaverton location. We chose the Montavilla area because it’s quite packed with Vietnamese population right there.” Said Tran. Designers started work on the new location in March, but City permitting delays stalled construction. Tran could not staff both sites simultaneously and had intended to close the original restaurant around the time of opening the SE Portland spot. However, construction delays have pushed the opening date past August, and it is still uncertain when renovations will be complete. The old location is now closed, leaving customers eager for the Montavilla restaurant to open.
Michelle Tran explained that the new storefront is smaller than her old location. Consequentially, the staff will need to cut down the menu some. However, the popular drink offerings will remain the central focus of the store. Look for an update within the next few months announcing the official opening date for Mia and More on SE 82nd Avenue.
Las Tres Flores has relocated down the street to 24 SE 82nd Avenue, inside the Santa Cruz Bakery and Taqueria.
Hand Therapy Specialists relocated to Northwest Portland In January of 2022 and appears to have changed ownership. The hand rehabilitation clinic had occupied the building on SE 80th Avenue for twenty years. Now the former clinic owners are selling the facility located in historic Montavilla downtown.
Crews completed construction of the 1,878 square foot building in 1948. It has undergone several updates over the years, including a project to enclose the front porch around 2018. The long building is surrounded by well-maintained landscaping on a quiet street. Although last used for medical work, it can easily convert into office space. Contact the Nick Shivers Team at (503) 594-0805 for more information about purchasing the property.
African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) is in the process of buying the Flex Building located at 2110 SE 82nd Avenue. The youth mentoring organization currently operates out of the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) building on NE Glisan Street. Developers will soon transform the TBN site into affordable housing, prompting AYCO’s move to a new facility. However, the group needs to raise $5.5 million to purchase and renovate the new building.
In January 2021, AYCO relocated to 432 NE 74th Ave from SE 122nd Avenue. Although the group knowingly committed to a short-term lease for the property on NE 74th, they hoped to become a partner organization in the supportive housing planned for the site. Unfortunately, Metro did not select the development group they partnered with, making another move inevitable.
This week the developers submitted a type 2 Land Use Review for the first of two buildings planned for the Glisan and 74th housing project. That four-story wood-framed residential building will contain 41 units of permanent supportive housing above a ground floor commercial kitchen, cafe, and retail incubator space. Additional amenities include resident services, laundry rooms, bike parking, and a community room.
With the permitting process underway, securing a new home for AYCO takes on a new sense of urgency. The Flex building on SE 82nd Avenue is several years old but has never found a tenant. Constructed in
2017, the building’s owner anticipated demand for high-end office and commercial space on 82nd Avenue near SE Division Street. Lower demand and the pandemic kept the building vacant except for a short-term popup COVID testing site. Crews only constructed the basic shape of the space, waiting for tenants to dictate the placement of interior walls. This unfinished condition will add to AYCO’s overall costs for the project. “The building is a shell and needs huge construction [and] tenant improvements,” explained AYCO Executive Director Jamal Dar.
The Flex building will cost $3.6 million to purchase. AYCO staff have allocated the remaining $1.9 Million to cover construction and furnishings. Fortunately, they have already received commitments for $1.5 million from supporters. An additional $2.5 million is expected to come from Federal funds and contributions from the City of Portland. Now, AYCO is seeking donors at any level who can help bridge the $1.5 million gap. They must find those funds within six to ten months or incur debt from loans.
The Flex building offers many benefits to the AYCO community, and buying the building will provide the permanent home this group has sought for many years. Dar explained that the building is centrally located near the community his organization serves. He feels its proximity to several schools, shopping, and transit options will be an invaluable benefit to the immigrant and refugee community using this resource center.
At 18,682 square feet, the increased building size means AYCO will continue to offer all existing programs with room to expand. “[The building] will allow us to conduct all of our programs, including establishing early childhood education and many other programs we currently don’t have,” said Dar. Buying the Flex building has the potential to take AYCO to a new level and secure its space in the supportive services community.
People or groups interested in investing in AYCO’s future location on SE 82nd Avenue should visit the group’s website www.aycoworld.org and click this Donate Now button at the top of the page. Jamal Dar and his staff are available to talk to groups interested in large sponsorship opportunities.
This month, DB Dessert Company removed store signage at 6824 NE Glisan Street after recently closing its original Montavilla retail location. The bakery began its brick-and-mortar operations from this space in 2018. Since then, they have launched two new Portland locations that will remain open.
During its four years on NE Glisan, the dessert, pastry, and custom cake maker served a valued role in the community. DB Dessert Company quickly developed a positive reputation for made-to-order cakes and other sweet items. However, the brand’s popularity enticed founder Damala Badon to expand operations to other neighborhoods. As new locations opened, storefront hours at the Montavilla location sometimes became irregular.
Although predominantly a successful and safe space, on January 3rd, thieves broke into the Glisan Street location and vandalized the shop. That event did not deter Badon from reopening the shop to the public for an additional four months. Now the bakery is empty and clear of all DB Dessert Company branding. Customers are encouraged to visit the Alberta District location at 2624 NE Alberta Street or their Rockwood Location at 458 SE 185th, Suite 116.
After nearly a decade in the neighborhood, Toast Inc. has relocated from its shop on SE 80th Avenue to a new purpose-built facility at NE 42nd and Killingsworth Street. The manufacturer of laser cut wood and leather products expanded operations over the years to encompass an extensive collection of device covers, offering personalized designs and promotional items. The former workshop at 403 SE 80th Avenue is now vacant, awaiting its next tenant.
Moving to the new location enables Toast to grow its business and make space for other similarly creative people to work on their craft. “We got the opportunity to build a new building to our specific needs that would also have additional maker-artist spaces to lease out,” said Toast Founder Matias Brecher. The second floor of the new two-story commercial building offers leasable workspaces while Toast works out of the main floor. Tenants have rented all but one of the artist studio rooms, firmly establishing Brecher’s vision of a creative community building.
Toast launched in January 2012 as a Kickstarter project with 300 backers. Crowdsourced funds facilitated the initial purchase of a CNC laser and materials that Brecher developed into Toast. Initially, the company produced walnut iPhone 4 covers in a basement workshop but soon hired staff and relocated to the Montavilla workspace. Now, growing further, Toast is making its new home in the Cully neighborhood.
The move is biter-sweet for the business. “We miss the restaurants and bars and the Academy theater for sure, but we are excited to be part of growing the 42nd Ave community,” explained Brecher. Montavilla has incubated many independent manufacturing operations dating back to its earliest days. Toast is another example of the quiet success seen in the workspaces around the neighborhood. Look for the shopfront on SE 80th Avenue to become available soon, and visit Toast at 4232 NE Killingsworth Street if you are in the area.
Last Thursday, Elizabeth Guerrero and David Doyle finalized their purchase of the historic Taylor Court Grocery property. The pair own the La Osita PDX food cart located on 122nd Avenue near Market street. After renovating their newly acquired storefront at 1135 SE 80th Avenue, they will sell the cart and relocate their Mexican restaurant and coffee house to the Montavilla location.
La Osita PDX opened in a small food cart in January of 2018 after Guerrero and Doyle noticed a lack of a good breakfast location near their home in east Portland. The partners bought the cart from a friend and found space on 122nd in the parking lot of the Plaza 122 building. Combining a shared food service background and recipes inspired by Elizabeth Guerrero’s Mexican heritage, the partners brought Coffee and their unique brunch/lunch menu to an underserved area.
At first, the parking lot space was ill-equipped for carts, and they had to run their operation from a generator secured in a nearby cage. The location received strong community support, and business picked up throughout the year. However, before making their first anniversary, someone stole the generator and shut down the business. Fortunately, the building owners saw the value in the cart’s continued operation and allowed the installation of a dedicated electrical hookup.
Business continued to grow, and they eventually upgraded to a larger cart. Unfortunately, the theft of critical equipment continued, prompting the group to consider a more permanent solution and give up the cart life. “Being a cart in Portland is kind of a bummer. You’re really exposed, and people think nothing of just stealing whatever they can off your cart that’s critical to opening up your store each day,” explained David Doyle.
Doyle expressed that remaining in their current community was a primary goal for the move. “A lot of the businesses on [122nd Avenue] come for lunch, and that’s a big part of the business.” However, searching for a suitable small brick-and-mortar location near the cart proved challenging for Guerrero and Doyle. An expanded search surfaced the Taylor Court Grocery, and they instantly saw the potential in the 100-year-old retail space. Although three miles from the original location, they hope customers will follow them to SE 80th Avenue.
In December, Guerrero and Doyle applied for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and worked through the challenging process of acquiring the Montavilla property. The deal includes both the storefront and single-family home on a shared lot. To make the finances work, the new owners will need to rent out the house on the property. They are considering many options, including a childcare facility.
The grocery store building will require substantial renovations to transition into a restaurant. It will start with some sizeable deferred maintenance projects. “The storefront, we just wanna get it stable,” said Doyle. “We don’t know the extent of damage, but it looks like the roof needs a repair or replacement.” Once crews repair the outer shell, work will focus on the inside of the building. Contractors will add a commercial kitchen to the back of the building and an ADA-compliant bathroom. The new owners expect a large number of customers will take their meals to go. Consequentially, they will use a counter-service layout for the restaurant with customer seating upfront.
Guerrero and Doyle plan to refresh the street-facing appearance of the storefront but maintain the historic appearance, including the Taylor Ct Grocery sign. “We love that sign. It almost feels like a shame to cover up the Taylor Court grocery part of it, but we’re thinking we’re going to refinish it,” said Doyle. After repairing and weatherizing the sign, they will repaint it with the restaurant’s name but maintain its original shape.
La Osita PDX offers an extensive menu from the cart, and the team does not feel they are missing many options. However, staff will grow the selection slightly after the move while keeping all of the favorite to-go friendly dishes. Guerrero plans to add Aguas Frescas and horchata to the drink offerings, with traditional Mexican pastries to balance out the savory options. Elizabeth Guerrero and her sister Maria Guerrero run the restaurant, with Maria playing a critical component in kitchen operations. They both are thrilled to move out of the cart and into the larger space. With the number of customers they serve and the size of the menu, space was always the constraining factor for La Osita PDX.
Much like the previous owners of Taylor Court Grocery, Mel Hafsos and Errol Carlson, La Osita PDX is a family business wanting to serve the community. Look for construction to begin within the next few months and check for updates on the company’s Instagram page. Until the restaurant opens later this year, Elizabeth Guerrero and David Doyle encourage you to visit the cart on 122nd Avenue to explore the menu.
Portland’s food carts tend to stay in one place, causing patrons to forget that they have wheels. However, these mobile kitchens can change locations, and at least two local carts are on the move early next year. Although these popular dining destinations are heading out of Montavilla, they are still a short trip away.
In an Oregonian interview released last week, Erica Montgomery revealed that Erica’s Soul Food would be moving from the space next to Henry’s Market at 803 SE 82nd Avenue. “Early next year, Montgomery plans to transport her truck to the courtyard next to Lottie & Zula’s, a New England style sandwich shop in the former Toro Bravo space at 120 N.E. Russell St.” The new location is just under six miles away, near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Erica’s Soul Food will share an outdoor dining space with Lottie & Zula’s at the new site. This move appears to be the next phase of a strengthening relationship between the two ventures. Lottie & Zula’s co-owner frequents Montgomery’s cart, admiring her cooking and work ethic. This year, both restaurants collaborated on a meatloaf sandwich sold as a fundraiser for Equitable Giving Circle. Later, Montgomery used the restaurant’s larger kitchen for a catering event when it exceeded the cart’s capacity.
Just down 82nd Ave from Erica’s, La Taquiza Vegana is leaving the food cart pod at 8220 NE Davis Street. As one of the original carts from The Yard at Montavilla’s opening this summer, its time in the area was short-lived. Devyn Marie, Co-Owner and Operations Manager for La Taquiza Vegana, explained that they only planned to stay in the old location for five months. “The Yard was always just a temporary spot for us while we waited for our permanent location to be completed.” They are relocating to a new food cart pod at 2216 SE 50th Ave. Although the owners appreciated the community in the neighborhood, Marie said the team wanted to work closer to the city center. “We really enjoyed being a part of the Montavilla neighborhood for the short time we were there. The location is just too far out for us as we like to be more centrally located.”
The loss of these two neighborhood carts will likely disappoint some customers, particularly area vegans. La Taquiza Vegana only serves vegan foods. Erica’s Soul Food offers an extensive vegan menu and standard options. The other vegan food cart located at the Yard, Little Ethiopia Eatery, closed down permanently last October. With these two carts’ departure, there are very few vegan cart options in the area.
The exciting part of food cart culture is the constant change in options. People create new dining experiences, and customers rarely have the chance to become bored with the selections. Although these moves may disrupt some customer behavior, dedicated patrons will seek them out. Look for something new to arrive at the soon-to-be-vacant cart locations and visit some old friends when they settle in their new homes.
After six years serving the community from their cafe on NE Glisan Street, the owners of Fillmore coffee shop decided to close the physical store and embrace online coffee delivery. The pandemic closures and customer tensions stressed this early pioneer of Glisan street, forcing the family business to adapt. What had begun as a temporary financial bridge during the COVID-19 lockdown turned into the permeant path forward for the coffee company.
In June of 2015, when the Fillmore coffee shop opened at 7201 NE Glisan Street, there were few options like it on the street. The shop’s co-owner Tim Willcox perceived the lack of food services in the area as an opportunity to take his passion for coffee to the public and perhaps start a trend. “[I] saw a need for a community space on this stretch of Glisan. This was back when there was pretty much nothing happening aside from East Glisan Pizza. It was sort of a dead zone, and I think Fillmore helped to fuel some cool businesses developing in the area,” explained Willcox. Within a few years, bars, bakeries, and other dining options filled in around their shop.
Tim Willcox and his wife started the shop with a loan from his mother. For years, they struggled to build a stable business but saw success as others joined them on Glisan. Then COVID-19 brought that all to a halt. “We decided to cease our cafe operations due to the pandemic. Our sales had dropped nearly 80 percent in just a matter of days, and the lockdown on March 15th cemented our destiny. We had to let all of our staff go,” remembered Willcox. “Our only path to keeping the business alive was to start delivering bags of freshly roasted coffee to our customer’s doors.”
The roasted coffee delivery program kept them afloat until the cafe reopened in mid-May 2020. They served to-go orders through a plexiglass window with inside seating closed to the public. The business was nothing like before, and working in this reduced capacity stressed the staff. “Nobody was allowed inside the shop, and Monika was working her other full-time job while making all the food orders. Our daughter was doing remote learning on a laptop at the shop. It was a grind, to say the least. We managed to do this for a year until spring 2021,” explained Willcox.
After trying to make it work, it became apparent to Willcox that the new business model was not sustainable and no longer rewarding. “Things had just become too complicated and stressful with the pandemic, and while most of our customers were great and thankful about our safety protocols, we had to deal with quite a few people who were genuinely angry that they couldn’t come inside to order and hang out. We were screamed at and insulted by disgruntled customers.”
For the family business, it was time to move on from the cafe. However, Willcox did not want to give up on the delivery service. It is a way to keep roasting great coffee and remain connected to loyal customers. As an online-only business, Fillmore is still evolving, according to Willcox. “It’s still a work in progress. We’re building out a small Roastery and coffee lab. Things have been slower, yet still steady.” As the team builds onto the delivery business, they hope to gain a few wholesale customers and develop a nationwide mail-out service.
For Willcox, the transition to online coffee sales was the right choice for his family. “Right now, I’m happy with what we’re doing, and it gives me time to take my kid to and from school every day. It’s definitely less stressful.” If you miss your morning cup of Fillmore Coffee or want to try out one of their roasts, schedule a delivery online at orderfillmorecoffee.com
After one year on NE Glisan Street, Tigersden Vintage relocated to 3900 N Mississippi Ave. Last month staff closed their Montavilla shop at 7035 NE Glisan Street and moved into a new retail space four and a half miles away. Despite strong ties to Montavilla, safety concerns prompted the shop’s relocation outside the neighborhood.
Owner Salina Nuñez is a Montavilla resident, making the retail space on NE Glisan Street a natural choice for her first physical storefront. “Our location on Glisan was my first brick & mortar [location], which we opened in the heart of the pandemic. I am so proud of the work that we were able to accomplish there and the vibrant community of vintage sellers that were financially supported by our success,” said Nuñez. She continued to explain that the supportive community fueled their early prosperity. “We loved our neighbors in Montavilla and grew to have many regulars. The folks [in] Montavilla are the best, and we learned so much from them about how to be a customer-oriented small business.”
The positive customer base could not always counteract other forces in the area. Eventually, concern for her staff’s safety caused Nuñez to relocate the business. “We were prompted to move due to the amount of violence and harassment that was taking place in the neighborhood. We had our front door smashed in and had to suffer through the mental illness crisis of many houseless folks who would come into our shop and harass the women who are employed [by] me. After a year of trying to build a sustainable resale clothing store in our neighborhood, I made the decision to move to a safer neighborhood.”
Moving a business is a difficult choice with many costs and the potential to lose customers. However, Nuñez noted some regulars have already ventured to the new location to show support. Tigersden Vintage staff are happy with the move and feel comfortable in the North Portland neighborhood. “Our new location on Mississippi is safer and has more support from the city and the police. We love the diversity of folks who shop with us, and Mississippi is a street that brings everyone together.”
This last year in retail challenged Nuñez, but ultimately her waste-reducing retail business thrived, and she sees a better future with these recent changes. “In this last year, we have sold over 100k of preowned clothing, accessories, and home goods that would have ended up in the landfill. The last year has been a wild ride, and the next few years will be even more awesome for Tigersden vintage & Modern.”
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