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This guide features members of The Localist, Portland's independent business directory. These locally owned businesses understand thinking and buying local matters to our economy and neighborhoods. We hope you'll think of them first when making buying decisions because when you spend your money at these businesses, you're making an investment in your community and the local economy.

Portland is shopping Shangri-La. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful and abundant. Locals enjoy living comfortably and expressing themselves creatively through music, art, food, fashion and entrepreneurial pursuits. It’s no coincidence that so many people flock to Portland to chill out and get inspired. What’s not to love?

Our diverse neighborhoods and charming business districts offer a variety of lovingly curated indie shops, perfect for poking around and finding one-of-a-kind goods from local craftspeople and lauded designers.

No sales tax is nice too, but it’s really just the bacon on your maple bar.

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Want to shop by neighborhood, business district or citywide? Check out The Localist, Portland's locally owned business directory.

What began in 2008 as an online clothing shop run by a husband-and-wife team has now blossomed into a 1,100-square-foot women’s boutique. Tightly tucked into Beaumont Village, Nicole and Ethan Whitesell's shop features tops, dresses, skirts and premium denim pants designed for women by well-known national and local brands, such as Bridge & Burn, Nau, Hubris, Curator and Prairie Underground, as well as lines of locally crafted jewelry and organic socks made at a small family-run mill in Pennsylvania. Whitesell says she’s carefully chosen her inventory so that it ranges from refined to affordable and easy-to-wear pieces that run from casual to just shy of formal. But, her main specialty is creating the kind of customer experience unique among boutiques: Rather than sell you an article of clothing here and an article of clothing there, Whitesell and her staff track your purchases (without being invasive about it) so they can assist you the next time you drop by. The reason? They don’t want you to simply have an outfit—they want you to have an entire wardrobe that’s made just for you.

Amelia Blakeman has a degree in psychology and was a clinical researcher before she realized that cubicles and computer screens weren't her thing. She'd been making her own clothes for years and, in 2011, decided to start making them for others too, selling what she'd sewn wholesale and on consignment to boutique retailers like Radish Underground and Union Rose. Now, she's has her own women's clothier and is returning the favor to other local designers, as well as some favored national ones, by selling their lines in her new space. Everything in the store is manufactured in the U.S., she says, and a majority of it is designed by people right here in Portland. But, what she really finds fascinating about clothes are the stories they tell through their disparate fabrics and the handmade techniques employed by the people who make them. When we know the stories of our clothes, as well as their makers, we're not only closer to what we wear, but whom we wear. 

Sarah Shaoul's children's boutique specializes in selling items she and her staff consider both "timeless and classic." In other words, Black Wagon sells the kind of books, clothes and kid-friendly furniture that you'll want to pass on to your grandchildren. But the shop's magic ingredient, Shaoul says, is its customer service. Not only will she and her staff help you find the perfect gifts and educational toys for the kids in your life, chances are they'll remember your name, your child's name, and what you purchased your last time in, whether you live around the block or visit Black Wagon but once a year. 

If you need something for your home or community garden, chances are you'll be able to find it at City Farm. The gardening center, which occupies a former mechanic's shop, has three greenhouses—two for production, one for retail—where Nik Hahn and her staff grow and sell several hundred varieties of vegetables and herbs (including fruit-bearing trees and more than 150 varieties of tomato plants) as well as medicinal herbs (and the tools necessary to make your own remedial tinctures). In addition to carrying soils, seeds and starts, City Farm also sells ducklings and chicks, and specializes in stocking quality used gardening tools. You can even grab a bite at the Leyland Cafe, an on-site food cart housed in a double-decker British tour bus parked in the farm's lot, where you can order meaty, vegan and gluten-free eats.

Rachael Donaldson says she never set out to design jewelry, but she did prime herself for it—she earned her degree in fine arts and installations from Evergreen State College, where she created large visual displays by "accumulating" thousands of tiny objects, like bundled clusters of gel caps filled with teensy handwritten notes. Her jewelry designs are not only inspired by her Southwestern roots (think silver, turquoise and Native American bead patterns), but by other design movements (like Art Deco). In addition to creating her own line in-house—and offering a curated line of vintage pieces she's collected throughout the years—Donaldson's Demimonde also carries the works of several other Portland jewelers, including Sword and Fern, Julia Barbee, Upper Metal Class, Stone & Honey, Betsy & Iya, and Better Late Than Never.

If a handwritten card arrives in your mailbox, does it so seduce you that you open it immediately? Or, do you open it later, when you can savor what's inside? Both answers are correct because, as Ecru owner LeAnn Dolan points out, there's not much left these days that can charm someone quite like a handwritten card. And while Ecru provides services like custom-designed wedding invitations and personalized stationery, its bread and butter lies in its stock of greeting cards, creative office supplies, and its vast library of blank journals. Need that journal gift wrapped? You can choose from Ecru's many varieties of wrapping paper, and Dolan and her staff will seal it up. Don't need that journal, but nonetheless have an armful of gifts that need wrapping? Just bring them in and, for the price of the paper and a small fee, Dolan and her staff will wrap those too.

Portland's definitely a dog town (most towns are), but it's also a cat town, and a rat town, and it's most definitely a chicken town too. Animal lovers and pet owners Nancy and Matt Fedelem know this, and that's why they've looked beyond the dog- and cat-only approach to pet care and opened a shop where you can pick up feed and bedding for your chickens, lizards, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillas, bunnies, rats, and dogs and cats, of course. The Fedelems even carry a line of raw food for pups with nervous stomachs, as well as live crickets to feed your tarantulas and pet frogs.

Tiffany Bean says the Doris Day movies she watched as a child dazzled her. Each film's costume design was "always so colorful and cheery." Even household items from that era like toasters were exciting to behold, she says. As a nod to those films, and the stylish boutique her grandmother once ran in East Texas, Bean and her husband, Corey, aim to bring those bright colors to the City of Roses and spread them around. For a while, she says, her women's boutique was known as the store where you could find the special dress for that special occasion. But, the shop has broadened its scope and now features plenty of locally designed, stylish casual wear, as well as a line of Bean's own design and a line of retro-inspired modern luggage. 

The threads that fifth-generation clothier Justin Machus chooses for his men's store are clean, modern, contemporary and fashion forward, often coming in neutral colors like white, grey and black. His goal, he says, is to provide Portland's men with clothes they might not have considered wearing before visiting his shop. "Fashion should be fun, but I also want to push trends of what guys can wear,” Machus says, which is why he carries lines by avant-garde designers. In addition to the unexpected, expect slim-fit shirts, well-fitting raw denim jeans, classic black suits, handmade jewelry, and handcrafted scents from international designers (ADYN, A.P.C., Nudie) as well as local ones (Lauren Main, The Sum, Imaginary Authors).

Lynn and Steve Hanrahan have backgrounds, respectively, in the music industry and sound engineering, but it was their love of DIY kitchen culture that inspired them to open what they call their "kitchen hardware store." The shop, Lynn Hanrahan says, is about going "back to basics," long before the age of microwaves and TV dinners, when people spent the whole day in the kitchen cooking, canning, fermenting, and preserving, which makes it the go-to source for Portland's industrious, curious, DIY-driven culinary culture. 

There's no better place to get a good cup of coffee than in the Pacific Northwest, and few cities take as much pride in a good cup as Portlanders do. But these days, you don't always have to swing by your favorite cafe because Trevin and Ginny Miller will supply you with all the goods—and expertise—you need to make your own cups right in your kitchen. In addition to carrying more than 42 varieties of raw coffee from all over the world, the Millers will outfit you with roasters, brewing devices, coffee delivery systems (French presses, pour overs), and the training classes necessary to give your own special coffee blends the characteristics that best suit you.

At Peter Rossing's art supply store, you can expect to find quality tools and materials at the best value, but Rossing and his staff have a trump card that’s not often played at other art stores: They are practicing artists who’ve researched, studied and worked with every tool in the shop, giving the Muse team an uncanny expertise to help you choose which supplies will best suit your artistic needs. His staff, Rossing says, can of course point beginners in the right direction, but their true specialty lies in connecting and consulting with other working artists, whether they’re sketchers, painters, printmakers, sculptors, calligraphists or bookmakers, to put the right brushes, oils, canvases and papers in their creative hands. Get ready to take home hard-to-find products like proto-oil and water color paints from Rublev and Natural Pigments, Trekell brushes and fuss-free ink and fountain pens from Noodler’s.

This North Killingsworth Street dog supply store opened on Earth Day 2011, and that was no accident. NoPo Paws prides itself not only on its products for our furry best friends, but also on its dedication to sustainability and support of various rescue organizations. In fact, 10 percent of all the store’s profits are donated to animal rescue and advocacy groups. Sarah Fuller, the owner of the store and creator of the “10 percent pledge,” says she started NoPo Paws because of the time she's spent working to help animals. “I basically started this business for the love of dogs,” she says, “but also because I was inspired by my experience volunteering for different rescue groups.” On the environmental side of things, Fuller feels that it simply makes sense for a dog supply store to offer sustainable products. “I think that people who love animals also inherently have a respect for the earth,” she says.

Jennifer Rich compares her wholesale and retail urban paper mill, which she owns with her husband, Ron, to a Paris flea market, "because you never know what you're going to find,” she explains. The shop carries a wide selection of letterpress and locally designed greeting cards, pencil cases, wrapping paper, paper weights, and business card cases. And lately, Oblation has even begun carrying vintage typewriters and fountain pens. The Riches also offer gift wrapping services for a small fee, which is waived if the gift comes from the shop. Of course, their true expertise lies in their letterpress printing services, which provide Portlanders with wedding and party invitations as well as graduation and birth announcements on a variety of handmade and recycled papers. And every October, they give back to their community by halving the paper and printing costs of personalized stationery and business cards.

When she was 6 years old, Cindy Abernethy learned to crochet from her babysitter. Before long, she'd taught herself to knit, and later, to wheel-spin fibers into a variety of functional fabrics. After spending years as a technical writer, Abernethy decided to become her own boss and, in 2010, opened what is now the city's largest retailer of locally hand-dyed, all-natural fibers. So whether you prefer wool, cotton, bamboo, linen or alpaca, Abernethy's shop has what you need in just about any color you wish. The shop also provides plenty of services too. Have a hole in your favorite cashmere sweater? Drop it off and the staff will mend it for you. Live outside the city but want more of something you've bought in the past? Call Abernethy and she'll email you photos of the fiber you want in all its available colors. Plus, the shop stays open late on Tuesday nights—till 9 p.m.—so the spinning public can bring their wheels and spin yarns, both literally and figuratively. 

If you've ever walked by Jo Carter's dazzling window displays and stopped to do a double take, then you most likely have adventurous tastes. Carter’s boutique carries carefully selected women's lines from European, Japanese and Portland-based designers—including designs of her own—whose works appeal to an intrepid sense of style. Think coats, dresses, sweaters, hats, and, recently, shoes, all designed with conceptual, linear and architectural aesthetics. If you like that dress in the window, imagine the impact it will have on others when you're wearing it. 

This indispensable nursery has been serving Portland gardeners and urban farmers for more than three decades, but the five acres of land on which it operates has been the site of nurseries for well over 100 years. And, it's more than just a place to pick up seeds, shoots, shrubs and soils—the folks at Portland Nursery pride themselves on their expertise and selection of houseplants, roses and fruit-bearing trees. They also offer free gardening classes and will pot your plants for you. Plus, it's home to the annual Apple Tasting, an October event that draws families from all over the city to participate in scavenger hunts and scarecrow-making contests while chomping on crisp apples and sipping fresh-pressed cider. But what really separates Portland Nursery from others is its ties to the community, giving back annually by donating to more than 400 organizations.

Rebecca Pearcy caught the "sewing bug" at the age of 13 and spent her subsequent high school and college years reclaiming vintage materials from thrift stores and sewing them together into a personal wardrobe of her own design. Throughout the years, she scoured the market for specific things she wanted, like custom-built bags, only to realize that the only way she was going to get what she really wanted was to make it herself. With that in mind, Pearcy founded Queen Bee Creations in 1996, and, before long, she had created her own market for unique, one-of-a-kind, functional products (wallets, cases, accessories, diaper bags, coasters, towels, throw pillows, and items for bicyclists including panniers) made from materials like faux-leathers, organic cottons, hemp and, increasingly, waxed canvas. Drop by her studio, or visit her "mothership" store online, to peruse her catalog of Queen Bee products or to see what she's got cooking in her two subsidiary studios, Chickpea Baby (products made for parents) and Rebecca Pearcy Textiles (accessories and home decor). 

Five days after tying the knot, Nancy and Matt Fedelem adopted Monk, an 18-month-old Rottweiler-Lab mix. He was the first dog either newlywed had ever cared for, and he was also, and continues to be, the couple's teacher when it comes to animal care. He was the impetus behind their purchase of Salty's, which they took over from a friend in 2005 just six months after moving to Portland. Whatever you need for your dog, cat or even bunny rabbit—whether it’s kibbles, litters, chew toys, leashes, collars, rainproof coats, or vitamin supplements—you'll find it here. And of course, as long as they're well behaved, your dogs, cats and bunnies can shop alongside you.

There’s no question that kids are the guests of honor here. You find yourself in a playroom as soon as you enter. The fort, by the way, was built by the same guy who makes kids’ archery sets for the store. Other locally made products are featured, too, including exquisite fairy houses made of twigs and moss, rustic sailboats and mobiles with fabric birds. The shelves are bulging with lots of handmade wooden toys and a wonderful selection of books. There’s free gift wrapping and customer rewards, such as $1 credit for every $10 spent. 

In 1989, Kay Newell, aka “The Light Bulb Lady," opened Sunlan Lighting, making it the oldest single owner-owned businesses on what's now become a bustling commercial strip. What's inside is a collection of light bulbs for every occasion, including lone decorative bulbs and strings of holiday, party and patio bulbs, as well as therapeutic light bulbs powerful enough to mimic natural sunlight, which is something Portland doesn't get much of, Newell jokes. But, it's what you see from the outside that brings potential customers inside: Newell's known for her elaborate and illuminating window displays that, for years, have provided a compelling subject for anyone with a camera.

In the words of owner Debbe Hamada, Tilde "feels like a home more than a shop." Decorated in bright, brilliant, can't-miss colors, Tilde is a modern lifestyle shop where you can find accessories, handbags, jewelry and scarves to augment your personal style, as well as hip mugs, glasses, placemats, and locally produced rotating art to spruce up your home. "Chances are, if you like one thing in here," Hamada says, "you'll probably like just about everything."