The allure of one-stop shopping is undeniable. Abundant locations and cheap prices may explain the success of big box home and garden stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. But cheap and easy can be misleading as big box stores do little to support the local economy or maintain the independent retail landscape that makes Portland unique.
With spring giving way to summer, as well as yard and household projects awaiting, we have six indie options that will help you improve your home, garden and the local economy.
Gardening Supplies: City Farm
“City Farm is all about bringing the freshness of locally grown foods and herbs right into your backyard," states its website. With an array of plants and vegetables, picking what to sow may be the easy part. But when it comes to amending your soil and keeping your plants alive, that’s where it gets tricky. Fortunately, City Farm has the tools and supplies to keep your edible garden thriving. And to make your own city farm complete, chicks are often available to get that coop started.
City Farm, 7636 N Lombard St., 503.285.0855
Electrical and Plumbing: A-Boy Plumbing & Electrical Supply
With an abundance of electrical and plumbing materials, it would be easy to confuse A-Boy with a national retailer. However, the self-described “bathroom and kitchen remodel experts” are indeed local and have all your plumbing and electrical needs covered. Looking for circuit breakers or ceiling fans? Check. Bathtubs? Yep, that too. And everything else from sinks to toilets and water heaters. Anything over $99 will be shipped for free, as well. What’s not to like about this local alternative to Home Depot?
A-Boy Plumbing & Electrical Supply: NE Portland, 4010 NE Broadway, 503.287.0776; SW Portland, 7365 SW Barbur Blvd., 503.245.0714; SE Portland, 7344 SE Foster Rd., 503.777.3877
Tools and Hardware: W.C. Winks Hardware
Going strong for more than 100 years, W.C. Winks Hardware is a Portland mainstay. Evolving from its westside roots, this supplier of tools and hardware for the home, commercial, retail, and industrial space, now serves Portlanders in its current, central eastside location. Opened in 1909, Winks still offers customer service similar to what you’d expect from an old-time hardware store. And with many hard-to-find items accessible on its aisles, a stop here makes shopping for tools easy. From cleaning supplies and rope, to power tools and fasteners, you can usually find what you’re looking for at Winks.
W.C. Winks Hardware, 200 SE Stark St., 503.227.5536
Paint: Kaleidoscope Paint
With 3,500 color samples in stock, you’d be hard pressed to not find the color you’re looking for at this independently owned paint store. Whether you want eggshell or semi-gloss, non-toxic, interior or exterior, Kaleidoscope Paint will assist you with any painting project, large or small. The SE Portland, one-stop paint shop will not only help you pick your color with an on-site consultant, but it has the supplies you need to get the job done, and can even assist you in getting bids from painters, saving you the hassle.
Kaleidoscope Paint, 909 SE Salmon St., 503.236.6919
Building Supplies: The ReBuilding Center
With the goal of “promoting the reuse of salvaged and reclaimed materials,” as stated on its website, The ReBuilding Center “provides resources that make home repairs affordable to everyone.” Born in and by the community, The ReBuilding Center’s emphasis on sustainability cannot be rivaled by its big box counterparts. From cabinets and doors, to sinks, windows and bathtubs, it will help make that kitchen or bathroom remodel cheaper and easier on the environment. Plus, the staff can even help deconstruct your old spaces, which adds another dimension to its local contributions.
The ReBuilding Center, 3625 N Mississippi Ave., 503.331.1877
Lumber: Parr Lumber
Despite its presence in five states, Parr Lumber was born in the Northwest. Suppliers of lumber, deck and fencing materials, as well as doors and siding, Parr is an easy, local choice that matches the convenience of its big box competitors. After opening its first lumber yard in 1930, the family-owned store has expanded into a full-service operation and now has a cadre of professionals ready to help with the design, delivery or installation of your timber-related projects.
Parr Lumber: NE Portland, 6250 NE MLK Blvd., 503.287.1136; NW Portland, 1320 NW 19th Ave., 503.223.8141; Raleigh Hills, 4605 SW Scholls Ferry Rd., 503.292.4471
This list is merely a primer, and we want to hear from you. Where do you get your home and garden supplies? Does your neighborhood have a local alternative to Home Depot?