If you're going to be out and about doing First Thursday viewings, venture outside of the Pearl to check out Orox Leather Co., a fourth-generation family run leatherworking business that's celebrating the opening of its big, spacious new brick 'n' mortar at 450 NW Couch. With roots in Oaxaca and a Japanese influence, they're primarily known for their traditional Mexican sandals, but they've diversified quite a bit to include outdoor-friendly waxed canvas bags, fashion-friendly slick clutches, iPhone cases, roomy totes, and much, much more. They can even take orders for custom dress shoes, a difficult feat that few even attempt. This week I interviewed Martin Martinez, who owns the company with his father Jose Martin Martinez Hernandez, who gave me the lowdown on his family's impressive lore. Locally made leather goods have proliferated in recent years, but few can boast the kind of lineage Orox has—something they'll also be showcasing in the window space next door that used to house the Church of Elvis (pour some out).

Inside the Orox shop and workroom.
  • Inside the Orox shop and workroom.

The party will run from 5-9 pm with Ninkasi beers, a raffle, and storewide discounts on First Thursday art you can wear out the door. This is also a good example of the work the PDC has done to bring up local retail in the downtown core, assisting businesses like Orox with the cost of opening a permanent space. If you've swung through that core of downtown lately it's impossible to miss the fact that its steadily bubbling up as another destination for everything from comic books to Comme de Garcon—pretty neat trick for a historically sketchy pocket of the city.