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.
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.
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.
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.
Portland-based hat manufacture Flipside Hats is relocating to Montavilla later this year. In late February, the company purchased 7850 SE Stark Street to become the new production hub and retail showroom for the nineteen-year-old clothing maker. Upgrades to the company’s future location are in the planning phase, with a tentative opening date in the fall.
Although the hat maker sells most of its products through wholesale channels, the showroom will offer direct-to-consumer sales. Flipside Hats owner Jacob Wollner expressed his enthusiasm for the new location, “We are super excited to move to Stark Street and the Montavilla area.” The showroom’s placement at the center of Montavilla Town will increase walk-in traffic, spotlighting the American-made and sustainably produced work from this apparel manufacturer.
Efforts to restore the former home of Electronic Claims Services into a retail location are already underway. Issued April 8th, permit 20-227665 changes occupancy for the building from Business to Mercantile and proposes a reconfiguration of interior walls. Demolition of two front rooms will create an open area street-side, eventually becoming the showroom. Crews will remove the drop grid ceiling above the front area and expos the entire vertical space to the retail floor below. New LED track lighting replaces the older fixtures to create commerce-friendly lighting. Other alterations are likely as the new owners begin the redesign process.
People interested in a preview of Flipside Hats’ showroom should visit their current location at 4438 SE Belmont Street. They are open seven days a week, from 11 AM to 6 PM on weekdays and weekends from 11 AM to 4 PM. That location will stay in operation until the business and its eight staff relocate to the renovated building on Stark Street.
Mixed manufacturing and retail historically perform well in the area. Located just a block away from Flipside Hats’ building, Union Rose successfully combined clothing production with an existing storefront business. Montavilla retail is known to favor locally created products, and this latest addition strengthens that reputation. Look for activity at the site to increase over the summer as staff prepares the space for opening.
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