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The PDX Pop-Up Shop Project

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THEY'RE SNEAKY, but somehow the holidays have crept up, and downtown Portland retail will once again benefit from a welcome dose of excitement. After last year's success, the PDX Pop-Up Shop Project has multiplied. Through a web of partnerships between the Portland Business Alliance, Portland Development Commission, Downtown Retail Advocate, and Downtown Marketing Initiative, among others, five new pop-ups have opened their doors this week in formerly un-leased storefronts. Giving local designers and crafters equal footing on the map, and "activating" the spaces available for lease, in an ideal world one or two of these stores might also consider permanent residence.

Such as this year's Crafty Wonderland pop-up (802 SW 10th), which cofounder (with Cathy Pitters) Torie Nguyen notes is an opportunity to experiment with what it would be like to own a store, as opposed to the semi-annual craft fair model (though the pop-up doesn't negate this year's Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale—it's still on December 11 and 12 at the Oregon Convention Center). The much-murmured-about Portland Design Collective (902 SW Morrison) is debuting as a pop-up with an option to renew their lease at the end of December, which would be a wonderful present to independent fashion. Headed up by Tacee Webb and Claire Anctil, the store will mix top-shelf Portland designers' work with high-end vintage for a mix that should lure any savvy shopper in for a peep on the way to Nordstrom. The same is expected from cloth/gold FACTORY (723 SW Salmon), which will sell curated selections of work from collaborators Jen Goff of Paper Wings Jewelry, Rachel Ancliffe of Charles and Victoria, Liza Rietz, and Chelsea Heffner of plainMADE, as well as act as a working studio so that shoppers can get a look at the work going into the merch.

Flurry, the ground zero of 2009's pop-up cluster is back (750 SW Yamhill), with a brand-new lineup of designers offering a broad age-range of merchandise. Situated in what used to be part of Banana Republic (the chain store reduced their retail square footage nationally in response to the economic meltdown, though did not close any stores in Portland), Flurry also boasts a lower level room that will be used for a fashion show on November 20. Downtown Artistry (940 SW Morrison) rounds out the group, a gallery/shop headed up by art consultant Bridget Larrabee, offering prints, paintings, photos, and other art along with jewelry and hand-printed wrapping paper and cards.

The pop-ups officially opened their doors on Tuesday, November 9, but the next two months are full of happy hours and trunk shows giving you added excuse to drop in. This week alone, Flurry is kicking off its happy hour shopping on Thursday, and both Crafty Wonderland and Downtown Artistry are having grand opening parties on Saturday. Something tells me the holidays are going to fly by as well. Keep up with all the happenings on mod.portlandmercury.com.

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