Daniel Maynard

ONE SCANT YEAR ago, Mary Luczycki and Marcy Landolso took a gamble. As the city's collection of stylish boutiques continued to proliferate, they noticed a relative dearth of independent retailers putting out streetwear for men and women at everyday price points, despite the city's population of students, the fact that many people aren't interested in saving up for sophisticated investment pieces, and its general hordes of penny-pinching creatives who are in the prime of their street-style years. (I can't believe I just wrote that, but it's true.)

When the timing was just right, they went for it, and opened Communion with the express purpose of filling that void in the market. Now, at the one-year mark, Luczycki looks back on what they've learned and how they're marching forward. Communion anniversary party w/DJs Jen O and KM Fizzy, 3556 SE Hawthorne, Sat March 30, 7-9 pm.

MERCURY: How has Communion evolved from your expectations?

MARY LUCZYCKI: We did not anticipate how happy people were going to be about the store opening! We got a lot of regulars right away. Keeping to the original idea of a lower price point has really worked, but I've started carrying things at a more middle price point too. Our customer base is a bit wider than we expected, and we needed more for professionals.

What can we expect from Communion in the coming year?

We've had our sites on a lot of Australian and Danish brands. I see a lot of print stuff, especially for men. We have a menswear line called Zanerobe from Australia that we are terribly in love with. There's also RAINS from Denmark, which makes really beautiful rain jackets and capes that are very Portland. Leather goods from Orchill, and the Levi's Commuter line is a big one. Oh, and I'm also seeing a lot more light denim.

What do you think of where SE Hawthorne is headed as a retail destination?

It's one of the few streets in Portland that doesn't really change. But we've got a good corner, it's very neighborhood-y, and we get a lot of travelers. We kind of feel like the odd one out on the street, though.

Since you started Communion it seems like other local businesses have begun to hone in on that lower-priced market too, would you agree?

It's a brilliant business plan and more people should do it—just not right next to us!