It's all over the news that the recession is backing off, but what's being trumpeted doesn't lessen the reality that the tough times are far from over. Within the bubble of Portland retail, Olio United—a store that not long ago seemed poised to thrive—went from four walls and a roof to a briefly online-only enterprise to nothing at all. Meanwhile, even the historically thrifty craft scene is whimpering, with the recent announcement that the monthly Crafty Wonderland event is scaling back to just two events in 2010, the annual Super Colossal Holiday Sale as well as a new event to be held in May, both of which will be held at the Oregon Convention Center (777 NE MLK). In the meantime, the last Crafty Wonderland at the Doug Fir (830 E Burnside) goes down this Sunday, November 8, from 11 am-4 pm.

On the flipside, a brave new wave of businesses continues. Local Goods (2136 E Burnside)—which is sort of like the Eastside answer to Seven Planet (412 NW Couch, Ste. 112) in that they are both ecologically concerned "general stores" selling everything from basic necessities like toothbrushes to splurgier items like jewelry—is having their first art reception on Friday, November 6, from 5:30-8:30 pm. Local Goods will be showcasing work from Amaren Carosi and Sarah Cruse. Meanwhile Land (3925 N Mississippi), the newly opened storefront of, is hosting a show of new work from the locally ubiquitous Trish Grantham titled The Secret Society of Our Hearts, on Friday beginning at 6 pm.

Just down the street is the brand-new Jet boutique (3753 N Mississippi) where owner and in-house designer Jennifer Thomas mixes her own line of neutral-hued go-to basics like leggings, wrap sweaters, and cozy dresses with big pockets with local jewelry and a great selection of shoes. Thanks to Thomas, you now needn't leave North Portland to find sought-after brands like Repetto, Cydwoq, and Chie Mihara. There's a satisfying practicality to the shop, which stacks heaps of cute hosiery and rubber Wellingtons in funky colors like fiery orange. It's a clever arrangement, as it has to be—its location in the former Blue boutique is a reminder, and it will have plenty of competition on the increasingly developed Mississippi strip.

This week Parallel (1022A NW Johnson) is hosting a trunk show for Maytee's spring 2010 collection, "Safari Dreams," which was shown at the high-ticket FUSE fashion show earlier this fall. (Thurs Nov 5, 4-8 pm) The following evening, Content '09 co-producers Gretchen Jones of MothLove and Anna Korte of AK Vintage are having a trunk show at Lille Boutique (1007 E Burnside) featuring special holiday editions of MothLove lingerie in soft bamboo and AK Vintage's versatile jewelry in salvaged materials like vintage glove leather. (Fri Nov 6, 6-9 pm) Stay tuned for next week when Local35 (3556 SE Hawthorne) will thumb its nose at the economy by celebrating its sixth anniversary!