Category: New Business

Flipside Hats Opens November 1st

Flipside Hats officially reopens in its new location on Monday, November 1st. The apparel maker relocated operations to 7850 SE Stark Street from the 4400 block of SE Belmont Street this month, after an extensive renovation period. Many long nights went into the move, but staff have now settled into their new home and are ready to show off the company’s renowned product lines in the new showroom.

The owners of Flipside Hats bought the Montavilla building at the beginning of 2021. The decision to move to Stark Street stemmed from a desire to embed the business in the neighborhood, explained co-owner of Flipside hats Jacob Wollner. “We are a community business, and Montavilla is our home, our community.” Owning the building means they can safely put down deep roots as they further grow the company.

Until recently, staff would design, manufacture, and distribute the products from a single location. Before moving operations, Flipside Hats partnered with clothing producers to manufacture the company’s designs at different locations. Production remains local, with 90 percent of the product line made within the Portland Metro area. This new location supports the store and showroom upfront, with design, operations, and e-commerce fulfillment occurring in the back portion of the building.

Although not complete, the shop already emotes a mature retail experience. It features ample open space between intricate displays packed full of clothing accessories. Throughout the store, staff insert antique furniture and luggage into the layout, creating an antique aesthetic that softens the edge of the new construction. 

Although built-in 1946, the building received a substantial update this year. Crews completely replaced the storefront that previously served as an office. A modern aluminum and glass wall now extends the width of the building, offering expansive views of Stark Street. The extended height doors and taller windows pour sunlight onto the showroom floor. The natural finish of the reclaimed wood floor bounces that light around the room, creating a muted but rich illumination, even on a cloudy day. The owners removed the flat interior ceiling to reveal the barrel vault roof structure in a bold embrace of the building’s form. The curved wood planks show grey stains from their original use as forms for the building’s concrete walls. The rough finish overhead sets the tone for the function of this space. It is not only a place for retail but where creators design the next season’s products, just beyond the rolling barn door behind the cash wrap.

Flipside Hats’ store serves two roles for the business. It is principally a retail shop ready to provide customers with whatever new product the company offers, but it is also a showroom featuring the complete product line. Flipside Hats and their other brand, Hats for Healing, rotate product lines twice per year—retailers from all over the country stock their store shelves with selections from the Fall-Winter and Spring-Summer collections. This storefront allows buyers to view the company’s offerings in a retail presentation. Due to the variety in styles created here, very few retail chains sell the full assortment of products. This showroom is the one place that has all available items on display. Currently, all but 15 hat lines are out on the sales floor. Wollner expects to have the remaining hats out soon.

Starting Monday, the shop is open to the public from 9 AM to 4 PM weekdays and 11 AM to 6 PM on the Weekends. Staff plan to adjust store hours based on seasonal changes and customer feedback. They are excited to be open in Montavilla and ready to outfit you for the Winter weather or assist with your holiday shopping.

Max’s Auto Spa on SE 82nd Ave

In August, Max’s Auto Spa opened at 145 SE 82nd Ave in the former Trendsetters Truck and Auto location. The husband and wife team named the company after their son, intending to build a multigenerational business. They started this venture further south on 82nd Avenue in a shared space. In less than two years, they have managed to grow the operation to the point it needed a larger dedicated location.

At just three years old, Max comes to work with his parents regularly. Sitting at his table, he works on puzzles and greeting guests. For both his parents, creating a family-friendly business is one of the core values of their company. As a mother, co-owner Denise Lazatin wanted to build an inviting business for women with respectful staff who do not pressure or talk down to customers. For her, a key component is creating a clean and safe waiting room where families can stay clear of the vigorous scrubbing happening in the nearby work bays.

In addition to the interior enhancements, the building’s exterior received some attention. The small structure next to Hong Phat now features a white band of paint wrapping the building, contrasting the dark grey body color. Cleaning up the 1950s era building took time for the staff at Max’s Auto Spa, but the work is essential for the type of service they provide. The business owners know from experience the need for good hygiene within the building and inside the cars. Before starting this business, co-owner Curtis Crandall worked for eight years in the medical industry. First as a surgical tech and then with the quality control group in a hospital’s infectious disease department. That experience cleaning medical facilities and hospital equipment prepared Crandall for the deep cleaning service his business now offers. Staff clean all vehicles with hand tools for the best reach. There are no spinning bush tunnels to drive through at this location. Instead, they invest in quality extractors to clean deep into fabrics where mold can grow inside a vehicle.

The building last winter before Trendsetters moved out.

Curtis Crandall is a former member of the US armed forces. That experience created a deep respect for the uniformed members of the community. He knows those professions consume a considerable amount of time, preventing some people from giving their vehicles a deep cleaning. Additionally, he knows public service professions aren’t the highest paying job in our society. For that reason, Max’s Auto Spa offers a 1% discount for each year of service. This discount extends to active or former US armed forces members, police officers, firefighters, and healthcare workers.

Max’s Auto Spa is scheduling appointments now, and customers can reach them at their website or by calling (503) 444-1100. They work Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5:30 PM.

Sushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant

A new Asian eatery has opened up in the former Imperial House Chinese Restaurant building. Located at 1815 SE 82nd AveSushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant continues a 20-year-long tradition of Chinese cuisine under the iconic Ah Fong Kitchen sign. However, this time the menu includes Japanese dishes.

Hints that this location was changing first operated in a Liquor Licence application from May 2021. Over the last few weeks, workers have moved quickly to update the space and change the signs. The transition from Imperial House to Sushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant was smooth, with minimal downtime during the transformation. Many things have changed at the restaurant, but others have stayed the same. The last three businesses at this location have maintained the same phone number, and the building’s exterior has remained mostly the same over the years.

The owners have bifurcated the menu into separate sections. Customers dining in will receive a two-sided color card showing the assortment of Nigiri and Rolls available, along with the expected sushi side dishes. Separately, another two-sided menu features Chinese restaurant standards. This combination is less common in Portland, but in Hawaii, diners celebrate the mixture of the two complimentary cooking styles.

Customers can dine-in, order online for pickup, or call 503-774-0061. They are open Wednesday through Monday, 11 AM to 10 PM.

Zuckercreme Opens Friday

On October 1st, Zuckercreme will open a new Montavilla location at 414 SE 81st Ave. After less than a year in the Brooklyn neighborhood, owner Brittany Sigal decided to relocate the shop closer to home, taking over the former INVOKE space. The store will sell a curated selection of locally produced products and menu items.

Seasonal variety guides the selections offered to customers at Zuckercreme. Starting Friday, the shop will feature items under the collective theme of pumpkin spice & everything nice. They work with different bakers to offer a special rotating menu, along with coffee and tea drinks. Seasonal treats and drinks are only one part of the shop’s offerings. Each theme will encompass a selection of fitting homewares, vintage items, artwork, clothing, accessories, and ceramics. The space will also host scheduled workshop events.

The idea of seasonality is essential for Sigal’s vision of Zuckercreme. “I love the idea of a shop telling time. Rotating themes and being in sync with the time of the year means I’ll always be moving forward, and I’ll never get bored.” Sigal imparts her excitement for seasonal transformation to the customer through all the senses. “Zuckercreme is meant to create a temporary world where you can fully immerse yourself in an experience and enjoy the tastes, smells, colors, and memories of that season. Food is a big piece and what I believe connects us to each other. I wanted a way to work with people that would allow them to participate based on their own nostalgia, culture, and personal taste.”

Like the store’s aesthetic, Zuckercreme’s name stems from nostalgia. “Zuckercreme is sugar cream in German. My family is German, and I’m from the good ol’ midwest, Indiana. Sugar cream pie is Indiana’s state pie and what I always grew up eating.” Explained Brittany Sigal. 

The business began last June as a Saturday market titled the strawberry museum. It contained a small retail area and space for food vendors to sell treats. By July, they had expanded into a cafe. Thursday and Friday featured morning cafe service with retail and the occasional workshop. Saturday continued as the collaborative market day, and Sunday featured a special brunch. By August, they started offering dinner service on Thursday nights.

Although expanded food service seemed to be the direction Zuckercreme would grow, the location did not fit. “I was unsure of the future of the space, and the cafe didn’t work as well because the shared space I was in was more of a destination spot rather than somewhere that would have foot traffic, which is what I needed,” explained Sigal. Over the few months at the shop’s last location, they were able to test out ideas and figure out what worked and what needed to change. “This [experiance] very much shaped my future shop because I realized I wanted to do more retail and workshops with a small cafe and still host the community markets. I needed a better spot to make that successful, where there would be foot traffic, and I could make my own hours.”

Mural artist Brianna Vizcaino (@briannasinpajamas) painting shop’s wall

These discoveries were not something that Brittany Sigal could instantly implement. It was not until the space in Montavilla opened up that the future iteration of Zuckercreme became a reality. “I don’t think I would have moved forward with taking on the risk of running my own space if I had not gotten the one I’ll be in,” commented Sigal. The new space does not contain a kitchen limiting the menu at this new location. However, according to Sigal, food is still an essential part of the shop’s future. “We will either have the seasonal coursed meal experiences off-site if we find another pop-up spot closer to Montavilla or do menus that don’t require a full commercial kitchen.”

Many details regarding Zuckercreme are in development and will likely continue to transform over the years. By design, the space will appear different to customers between visits but remain familiar. By continually changing, customers will need to visit often to see what’s new. Fortunately, being located within Montavilla Town offers a good amount of foot traffic to pull the curious and adventurous person of the street and into the shop. Starting this Friday at 9 AM, consider adjusting your path to stroll along SE 81st Ave and see what creations are for sale at Zuckercreme. The store is open from 9 AM to 5 PM, Wednesday through Saturday. Sundays, they host a community market from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Lux Lash on SE Stark

This month, Lux Lash and Beauty Bar opened in the red mini-mall located at 8838 SE Stark Street. Owner Donna Myer-Phimmasone, with the collaboration of Colleen St. John, brings near 30 years of combined lashing experience to the new business. The two full-time staff offer lash extensions, lash lifts and tints, and facial waxing.

The experienced staff can create precisely the look a customer wants. “It can range from just looking like they have naturally amazing lashes to super glamorous,” described Donna Myer-Phimmasone. However, the shop prioritizes the customer ahead of the product. Over many years working with people’s lashes, the pair have seen other lash artists become complacent. “When lashes are put on carelessly or when the client is wearing something too big or heavy for their lashes, it can cause long-term damage.” Lux Lash is committed to maintaining high standards so their clients can safely stay in lashes as long as they’d like without damage. “Our first concern is always going to be the long-term health and well-being of our client’s lashes,” explained Myer-Phimmasone. 

Image courtesy of Lux Lash and Beauty Bar

A licensed esthetician since 2012, Myer-Phimmasone has owned a shop before. However, the timing of that venture did not work out. Working with work Colleen St. John, they divide tasks based on each person’s strengths, creating a harmonious workplace build for success.

Donna Myer-Phimmasone always knew she would open a shop again but needed a fitting location for the business. “I had been looking for exactly the right location for a while and knew this was it as soon as I saw the listing. Montavilla was our first choice neighborhood, and everything lined up to make it happen.” The Stark Street mini-mall offers appropriately sized space for small groups while providing storefront visibility on a major road.

Lux Lash and Beauty Bar is open by appointment only. The building offers parking in front of the shop accesses from SE Stark Street. Clients can schedule an appointment online or by calling (503) 734-8549.

Sanctuary Tattoo on SE Stark

On September 15th, Ian Mcvay opened Sanctuary Tattoo and Piercing with his partner and wife, Drea Mcvay. Located on the second floor at 8504 SE Stark Street, the new shop offers body art in a welcoming and inclusive space.

After twelve years working at other tattoo shops, Ian Mcvay felt it was time to head out on his own and create a friendlier tattoo atmosphere. “I really wanted to create a place where all of our clients felt very comfortable coming in and that the people who worked there felt comfortable being there.” Mcvay explained some other shops play loud metal music or have artists who push clients towards a specific type of tattoo. Drea and Ian Mcvay instead built a warm and inclusive space that anyone could drop in for body art.

Owners Ian Mcvay and Drea Mcvay

Ian Mcvay knows the importance of trust and comfort for this type of business, explaining that “tattooing is a very personal experience.” Drea Mcvay added that it shouldn’t be a stressful experience, and it should be accessible to all kinds of people. Ian explained that his temperament lends itself well to the inexperienced client. “I always prided myself in being very good with nervous or new clients… Doing people’s first tattoos is one of my favorite things to do because I know that I’m a little bit more gentle and a little bit more easygoing.” 

Crafting the right image for Sanctuary Tattoo required finding a suitable location. “Well, we did a lot of searching for the perfect spot,” explained Drea Mcvay. They were looking for a section of Portland with a suitable culture and community. Additionally, they needed a neighborhood not over-served by other tattoo shops but still had a place for them. “We needed to find somewhere where there was space for us and also a welcoming landlord. Which was a little bit challenging.” Drea said that tattoo shops have a negative reputation among building owners, “they assumed we were going to be some rough and tumble biker shop.” Fortunately, the building they found previously housed a tattoo shop and was accepting of the business.

Ian Mcvay is currently the only tattoo artist on staff, but a second person will start work soon. Both of them are accomplished artists covering a variety of techniques. “I can sort of do whatever needs to be done. I can do fine-line or bold traditional work.” His tattooing experience also covers a full range of skin tones and placement. There are few limits to what Sanctuary Tattoo can provide. However, being well-rounded, Ian explained that they do not work on portrait tattoos. “I feel that if you’re doing portraits, you make that your career, and you really focus on that.”

Reception Desk between tattoo and piercing areas

On the other side of Sanctuary Tattoo and Piercing’s office is a glass display counter that will soon house quality piercing jewelry, and behind that counter is a private room used by staff piercer Xia Key. They are a licensed piercer and will work on people ages ten years old and up. Drea Mcvay stressed how important it is to have a professional piercer work on your body. She explained that some shops, especially the mall stores, offer lower quality jewelry, and the piercing guns used at those locations often cause infections. “Our piercer is registered with the Association of Professional Piercers, So they had to go through rigorous training and certification… Everything is extremely safe, extremely high quality.”

Front door leads upstairs to Sanctuary Tattoo and Piercing

The whole team at Sanctuary Tattoo and Piercing is excited to be in a business district where their company can expand along with the area as a whole. “We really want to be a part of the neighborhood,” said Ian Mcvay, adding “when we first looked at this place, we walked up the street up to the little area up there that’s got all the bars and restaurants, and we just got a really good feel for the area. We wanted to grow with the spot as opposed to just jumping into a place where we didn’t really fit.”

Sanctuary Tattoo and Piercing is open on Wednesday and Thursday from 12:00 PM to 08:00 PM. On Friday and Sunday, they are available from 12:00 PM to 09:00 PM. Walk-in customers are welcome, and staff will do everything possible to make you feel safe and appreciated.

Dual Storefront Remodel on SE Stark

Yesterday, construction crews began installing the new aluminum and glass storefront at 7850 SE Stark Street. The owners of Flipside Hats bought this building at the beginning of the year to become the new headquarters and factory for their apparel company. When completed, two new shops will occupy this space.

The majority of the building will support hat production, retail, and other business operations for the company. However, Flipside Hat owner Jacob Wollner thought the showroom did not need to occupy the entirety of the storefront. There was an opportunity to split the space and create a second 609 square-foot shop for another tenant. That second storefront will have a separate main entrance and restroom. Wollner explained that it would be an ideal space for a small flower shop or jewelry store. Although prospective tenants have shown interest, none have committed to opening there.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

The buildout was delayed by a slower than expected city permitting process and a personal matter that took Wollner out of the country. Until recently, the installation of six gooseneck barn lights above the windows was the only outward sign of construction at the site. Now work has ramped up again, and progress is visible. Wollner’s full vision of the building has taken form now that the new aluminum and glass storefront is in place.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

The building began its existence in 1946, housing the Hook Cycle Shop. Later, Mt. Tabor Schwinn Cyclery took over the space until the mid-1980s. In 1998 a group bought the building for their business, Electronic Claims Services. At that time, the owners removed the storefront and transformed the structure into an office building. This current renovation work is restorative, bring back the shopfront appearance lost in the last century’s remodel.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

Soon, Flipside hat staff will relocate from their current store at 4438 SE Belmont Street to this new Montavilla location. For twenty years, the building has had its shades drawn and doors shut to the neighborhood. However, even before the store opens on Stark Street, this refacing project will reconnect the continuous retail on the block. Once again, the inviting light of shops will shine out onto the sidewalk and guide shoppers along Montavilla’s historic main street.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

New Adult Entertainment on Glisan

This month, a new adult entertainment venue appeared on NE Glisan near I205. PDX Peaches opened to the public on September 10th in the former Northern Pediatrics building at 9243 NE Glisan Street. The woman-owned business offers lingerie modeling services for men and couples.

Lexi, the manager at the location, explained that PDX Peaches strives to deliver a better class of lingerie-shop. “I [designed] it to have an upscale, clean, comfortable, and safe location for our models as well as our customers.” Lexie lives in the area and appreciates the opportunity to create a uniquely premier Adult entertainment club in the neighborhood.

The shop’s manager went on to describe the specific entertainment niche they fill. “We specialize in fetish and fantasy shows… [for] men and couples, but anyone is more than welcome to come get a show.” Soon they plan to offer a bachelor party and event-space room.

This section on NE Glisan is a mix of residential and commercial properties. The Top of the Hill Tavern sits across the street from PDX Peaches, but most properties on its block are homes. This area’s proximity to the freeway makes it a highly accessible location for businesses. Many of the houses along NE Glisan converted to commercial use over the decades, and the Commercial Mixed Use zoning in this area allows for that use.

Zoning Map around the property

This location supported a dentist’s office and pediatric clinic before its current use. There is no onsite parking for the building, and a number 19 bus stop prevents street-side parking on Glisan in front of the property. However, there is ample street parking on NE 92nd Ave.

9243 NE Glisan Street when it opened as Northern Pediatrics in June of 2020

PDX Peaches is a 24 hour a day business, and the staff is hoping it will quickly succeed in this location. They are open now and will respond to customer inquires through their website’s contact form.

A Market Built for Delivery

Recently, a new market opened along SE 82nd Ave. However, it’s not designed for you to peruse their aisle or visit at all. REEF Technology opened this new location at 1133 SE 82nd Ave to host a collection of impulse-focused brands serving the growing online delivery market. These sellers advertise their products for quick local delivery through various app-based delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Postmates.

Before the pandemic, Miami Florida based REEF Technology began developing their nationwide network of parking lots into delivery hubs and ghost kitchens. That business grew immensely during the pandemic, as customers moved to pick up and delivery services for their dining activities. According to the company’s website, “REEF helps property owners transform their parking assets into micro-distribution centers, in turn connecting the surrounding community with the goods and services they need.” This Montavilla location features a refrigerator trailer for ice cream and other cold packaged products. Next to that trailer is an unlabeled food cart that can provide cooked meals for a host of delivery restaurants under REEF’s NBRHD Kitchens program.

Unlike other customer-centric businesses, this location opened quietly. In late May, Portland City inspectors marked electrical permit 21-041316 as complete. It covered the installation of a new outdoor 200 amp electrical panel with service hookups for the mobile distribution center and food cart. Between the trailers, a portable toilet provides washroom facilities for the few employees working the site and the stream of gig-workers showing up to collect the outgoing deliveries.

REEF owns and operates Light Speed Market from this site, offering connivance store products exclusively through delivery apps. Other brands listed on the locations signboard are independent companies that sell directly to customers online or through regular grocery distribution. Their partnership with REEF allows them to advertise their products on delivery apps alongside local restaurants and more prominent brands. The growth of this model is an indication that it works for REEF’s partners. Less-known brands gain national exposure through the listings in delivery apps, and restaurants can launch in new locations without needing infrastructure or staff.



An environmental conservation argument could support this model as well. Micro distribution centers placed throughout a city will reduce the distance delivery drivers travel, decreasing greenhouse gasses generated by those vehicles. Additionally, shorter routes promote fossil-fuel-free delivery methods like bikes or electric scooters.

Despite the benefits, parking lot markets and unlabeled kitchens could potentially cause damages to a neighborhood. Established businesses in the area now have to compete against a brand with significantly lower costs. Rent on a shared kitchen is substantially less than staffing a dedicated restaurant. Additionally, these micro-distribution centers and ghost kitchens employ minimal staff and do not add to the vibrancy of the streetscape.

REEF has discovered a successful business model that feeds the growing appetite among customers for instant gratification with little effort. Demand may subside after the pandemic, but this type of delivery-only operation is likely here to stay unless people put away the delivery apps altogether.

Volunteers of America Buys Glisan Property

In May, the Oregon branch of Volunteers Of America (VOA) bought a large property on NE Glisan Street from Central Bible Church. The property spans two blocks, encompassing the large church building at 8815 NE Glisan Street and the unpaved parking lot across NE 90th Ave.

In a message from the Central Bible Church about the sale, they described VOA’s intentions for the property. VOA of Oregon runs programs throughout the State that focus on serving the elderly, youth, individuals released from incarceration, people with disabilities, and recovering addicts. At this facility, they will repurpose the existing building and campus to expand the availability of programs they currently offer in Portland. Although VOA is in the early stages of planning, some services expected at this site include the VOA Family Relief Nursery, recovery services, and counseling services.

The Central Bible Church supported its members for 89 years. However, financial difficulties forced the organization to cease operations last year. They held their final service on Sunday, February 23rd, 2020. In a letter to the congregation, church leaders explained that the staffing levels and size of the property were more than what members could support. Mounting utility costs for the 60,000 square-foot facility outpaced its active use, and 65% of the operating budget went to employee-related costs, 15% greater than similar faith-based operations.

Church leadership also pointed to new seismic requirements in the Portland code and over one million dollars in deferred maintenance as deciding factors in the church’s decision to shut down. Staff gifted historically significant documents and pictures from Central Bible Church to the Multnomah University library, which will become part of the school’s permanent archive. Displaced members and leaders created a new church in NE Portland called Stone Table Church and are slowly building up that congregation.

Central Bible Church leadership was happy to have sold to an organization in line with its goals. Like the previous owners, Volunteers Of America is a faith-based organization. Unfortunately, the sale has displaced the SkateChurch that shared the property with Central Bible Church. SkateChurch is currently seeking a new location. 

With such a large property, VOA has many options to develop the land further. Although, there are significant changes needed to the existing structures to meet future requirements. Look for the long-vacant building return to use soon, as it transforms to serve its new function in the community.

View of unpaved parking lot across NE 90th Ave from the main property