ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, Justin Machus opened the doors to his second boutique, Machus, following a family tradition by incorporating his own name into his new venture. A fifth-generation retailer, the Machus logo subtly substitutes its "A" with an inverted "V" in a nod to his heritage, after a year in which Machus fought (and won) a battle with cancer and renewed his bonds with his family.
Before Portland became known as a city with a thriving independent retail scene, Machus led the charge with his original shop on SE Hawthorne, Local35. Over the years he's developed and re-branded the store's concept, which has come to offer a wide range of price points. "It was getting just a little too polarized," says Machus of Local35's high/low price-point divide, so the new store will be dedicated to more of the higher-end merchandise. Machus says he's just as excited about expanding Local35's mid-priced goods, as he is the new store's roster of brands, which includes Alexander Wang, Apolis, Surface to Air, and Porter.
Machus' location, in the corner space of the BSide6 building, also puts it at the heart the East Burnside district that Machus says he has "no question [will] become the next major area of development," and which has already seen a great deal of growth in retail and restaurants. In addition to neighboring up to likeminded businesses like Rontoms, Lille Boutique, and Stand Up Comedy, the new location helps cement Burnside as a thoroughfare for shopping tourists, who can follow it from NW 23rd all the way east and find some of the city's best shopping by taking short detours off the main drag.
Asked why he thought Portland retail seems to be doing so well these days despite so many dour economic indicators, Machus laughs and admits he doesn't know, but points out that he's seen an uptick in shoppers coming in for the weekend from San Francisco, Vancouver, BC, Los Angeles, and New York. "There's a lot of good energy in the city right now in terms of fashion," he says. "It seems like more of a small-store city. Anything that's small and independent is doing really well." Machus, 542 E Burnside
Meanwhile, on the Westside, boxes are being unpacked at the Portland Design Collective (PDC) for the advent of Zebra Club and ROAD, two new roommates for the PDC's existing selection of vintage and locally designed goods. Owned by parent company Shah Safari—the CEO of which, Raj Shah, is a longtime friend of PDC's Tacee Webb—Zebra Club is particularly well known in Seattle, where its parties and fashion shows are legendary, while ROAD caters to a well-heeled male customer. Together the trio is poised to offer a unique mix for an even broader base of customers, and it's probably safe to anticipate even more events designed to draw people down to the PDC. Early birds can scope things out as new merchandise trickles in, but look for a finalized configuration in time for Black Friday on November 25. Portland Design Collective, 902 SW Morrison
Flora's Fifth Anniversary: Downtown shop Flora has a great little mix of jewelry, paper products, art, and other curiosities, and they're ringing in their five-year anniversary this week with a party, a sale, and a raffle in which you can score a variety of their in-house goodies. Flora, 917 SW Washington, Thurs Nov 17, 5-8 pm
Champagne Under the Chandelier: Citrine is throwing a holiday party, with the aforementioned bubbly in addition to a shopping incentive: Buy two items, and get 20 percent off the lower-priced one. Citrine, 2937 E Burnside, Fri Nov 18, 6-9 pm
Trina Turk Trunk Show: Mabel & Zora is hosting a holiday dress event for one of their favorite lines, Trina Turk. Purchases over $275 include a bonus cocktail ring. Mabel & Zora, 748 NW 11th, Fri Nov 18-Sun Nov 20
Lulu's Vintage's First Anniversary: West Burnside shop Lulu's Vintage's birthday party does double duty as the release party of the Shop Vintage Portland maps, neighborhood guides geared toward the retro set. Lulu's Vintage, 916 W Burnside, Fri Nov 18, 6-9 pm
Siljan Studio Open House: Say hello to your new obsession. Siljan Studio's online boutique features top-notch clothing and accessories for men and women from carefully selected Scandinavian-centric designers. Tonight's a rare opportunity to check out their new brick and mortar. Siljan Studio, 2127 N Albina, Sat Nov 19, 7-10 pm