The New Spot!

It's official: I love my new spot on North Williams. Most of you may remember that I moved a mere 1/2 block north of my initial spot and joined forces with Wanderlust’s Vanessa Lurie. The bus is now sandwiched between amazing bars and businesses like Lompoc's Side Bar, Hopworks Bike Bar, Grizzly Tattoo, Lark Press, Che Café and Queen Bee Creations. The employees of these establishments have become my surrogate co-workers, giving me restroom and microwave access, making change for me, hand-delivering my lunches and giving me sweet discounts on their wares. I feel blessed.

The new spot is also just a few doors down from two new food and drink establishments. Las Primas serves Peruvian street food and The Box Social serves cocktails and small plates, akin to the owner's other popular Hawthorne staple, The Sapphire Hotel. It’s great to have two buzz-worthy restaurants bookending the north end of our street.

Las Primas {Photo: PDX Eater}

The Box Social {Photo: Portland Monthly} 

I love the "nook" feel of the new space. The bus is more protected from the elements, and no longer seems like a fishbowl where patrons and passersby have nowhere to hide. The bus is all windows, after all. With the new space, the bus has a purpose: it's one-half of a retail pod. It even has its own parking spot. 

Vanessa and I have made lots of improvements to the parking lot: it now has AstroTurf, planters, an awning, lights, and other elements that draw attention to our shops. While we feel like the new spot is very welcoming, we're finding that we still need to encourage folks to "cross the threshold" and enter our stores. The concept of one retail cart is foreign to most people; they’re not sure what to do when they see two of them.

We've started playing music outside, which seems to encourage folks to enter the space. A few days ago, my iPod decided to stop working, and I could immediately sense the impact on passersby. They just weren't as apt to come and check out the shop when there was no browsing soundtrack. (My next goal for our space is to find someone to open a record store cart next to us. They could provide a constant soundtrack for our pod – on vinyl, no less!) 

I'm so happy that I was able to keep the bus on Williams, and that I found a spot that's even better than my initial home. I look forward to new adventures in 2012!


  1. So cool! I've never been to your bus/shop but I live in St John's so you're pretty close! Also I've heard about Las Primas but haven't been yet either, my husband is part Peruvian and we haven't yet tried any Peruvian cuisine in Portland so that's exciting! Now we can kill two birds with one stop. See you there and good luck! xo

  2. Yes - come and see us and partake of some scrumptious Peruvian street food! I'd love to hear what your husband thinks of it...

  3. Thanks again for the fantastic interview, Erin. Keeping my fingers crossed for that vinyl cart springing up before too long.

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