It doesn’t get more ‘local’ than Portland which makes it the perfect stop for our next LSMTours.
When people think of Portland these days, the popular tv show Portlandia, from IFC comes to mind. (If you haven’t seen it, it is a quite funny, and not far off, portrayal of Portland.)
What the show and a real life visit to the city show you is this is THE land of local brands and concepts…from local wine to micro breweries to local coffee roasters to food trucks.
Whether you take a walk down Division Street or downtown, you’ll see and feel Portland’s hip. It’s not a slick hip, it’s more local hipster, but not like NYC or Seattle. It can seem thrown together, yet it’s all put together well.
So take a walk with us through PDX for some real local marketing.
The Willamette Valley runs right through Portland and this wine region is world-reknowned for the incredible wines it’s producing, especially Pinot Noir. You’ll find Oregon wine throughout the city from restaurants to the cool proliferation of city wineries.
Irving Street Kitchen is a delicious spot in the happening Pearl District that has a full local wine list including their Barrel to Bar program with 11 wines on tap, several exclusive to them.
Southeast Wine Collective is one of several city wineries in Portland. Kate, Tom and Cass Monroe founded the Collective brining together like-minded wineries and providing a venue for a commercial custom wine production facility in town. If you want an awesome wine experience without leaving the city, go here! We had an awesome tasting with Lena walking us through the wineries making wine onsite…Vincent Wine Company, Bow & Arrow Wines, Helioterra Wines, Fullerton Wines and Division Winemaking Company. Great product and great customer service!
In a saturated category, you see it done better in Portland. With bigger chains focused on efficiency, these smaller shops are focused on small batch roasting, hand crafting beverages, pour over coffee and they can perfectly steam milk. In a time of rushing to get in and out, here patience has it’s rewards.
Stumptown Coffee has a cult following with their 10 locations (5 in Portland) and wholesale business. In November of 1999, Duane Sorenson opened Stumptown Coffee Roasters on Southeast Division, the name a nod to this beloved city’s historic logging legacy. It works in NYC but it especially works in Portland!
Public Domain believes coffee should be an experience. It shows in their shop and in their attention to detail from gorgeous Italian machines to low profile counters to the yummy bacon scones.
While Austin may have had the first food trucks/vans/campers, it definitely perfected and grown in Portland. There are literally a city blocks of trucks and carts. From exotic cuisine to spins on the every day, you’ll find it. Check out this site to see the variety.
Salt & Straw is one of those hip, cool and buzzing concepts in Portland. This is not your usual ice cream shop…it’s SO much more. Only a few years old and three shops strong, their ice cream is on and in everyone’s mouth. Started by a super cool ex-Starbucks marketing and product person (we used to work with her), she’s always wanted to open an ice cream store and she’s doing it the remarkable way AND extremely local. Read more here. The lines we saw out the door on their new Division Street location night and day show the popularity. Just check out these crazy flavors!
Beer & Breweries
Beer lovers will not be disappointed in Portland… there are plenty of micro-breweries and pubs, several are owned by the local company McMenamins.
McMenamins started as one pub back in 1974 by brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin. Today, McMenamins is a Northwest chain of 50+ brewpubs, microbreweries, music venues, historic hotels, and theater pubs, mostly in the Portland metropolitan area. The brothers are now considered pioneers of the Northwest microbrew and historic hotels industries.
Locals know “McMenamins” as great places to enjoy with family and friends in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. They are the fourth-largest producer of microbrewed beer, only sold in their pubs, restaurants, hotels and movie theaters. Their beer is brewed on site at their Kennedy School hotel.
Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom on Division Street has more beer than you’ll know what to do with…in bottles, on tap, served up in a cool space in a cool way. Love the electronic beer menu board.
Even hotels get local in Portland…and McMenamins Kennedy School is a perfect example.
We spent hours during our LSMTour at their very cool and very Portland Kennedy School. Since its 1915 opening, this historic elementary school has been a beloved fixture of its Northeast Portland neighborhood. McMenamins renovated the once-abandoned scholastic gem and turned it into Portland’s most unique hotel. It has 57 guestrooms with private baths and telephones (some fashioned from former classrooms), a restaurant, multiple small bars, a movie theater, soaking pool, gift shop and a brewery. As their motto says, “Come have fun in school…for once…” See more on our blog article.
And while the Ace Hotel isn’t locally owned, it’s a local spot for sure. This was where we stayed and it definitely fits with the Portland vibe and reflects it in their decor and offerings. As their website says, “Ace Hotel is a collection of individuals — multiple and inclusive, held together by an affinity for the soulful. We are not here to reinvent the hotel, but to readdress its conventions to keep them fresh, energized, human.”
New Seasons is the local market in Portland with 13 locations in the PDX area. Each one is slightly different reflecting the neighborhood it’s in. We had a great time in the Division Street store, checking out all the product offerings, samplings and talking to the very knowledgable and friendly staff. One of our favorite things about New Seasons, The Fine Print. (Read more in our blog article for the full Fine Print.)
Even Whole Foods is uber local in Portland. Portland’s first FEAST event, “a celebration of Oregon’s bounty,” was taking place a few weeks after our visit and Whole Foods, as a presenting sponsor, was all about it.
And of course there’s a booming local food scene in the city.
Pok Pok is casual Thai on Division Street that everyone recommends and it’s ALWAYS packed. No reservations so there their early. We had to settle for a tasting drink at the bar.
In addition to a delicious dinner at Irving Street Kitchen (mentioned above), we dined at Portland upscale (i.e. no fancy dress needed) The Woodsmans Tavern brought to us by the Stumptown Coffee creator. Very nice vibe and excellent food!
Last but not least, there’s no saying the book store is dead when in Portland. Just check out the huge and thriving Powell’s. It’s a one of a kind, used and new book stores, that takes up a city block. Rooms go on and on from floor to ceiling with color coding and maps to find your way around. A must stop in Portland.
We hope you enjoyed LSMTours: Portland and it provided you with some local marketing ideas and inspiration for your business.