I miss Steve

I will admit that I do not buy as much music as I used to.  Part of it may be my age.  Part of it may be the availability of music from other sources (Amazon Prime on Echo).  Part of it may be that I listen almost exclusively to NPR when I am driving near home.

But one of the main reasons is that I have lost touch with Steve.  Steve was not an old friend or a work colleague.  He was not a music reporter for some hip website, publication or YouTube channel.  No, Steve was just an employee of a record shop I used to frequent in Seattle, Silver Platters, at their old South Center location.  I didn’t really know Steve. In fact the time that I ever spoke with him was when he happened to be the cashier that rang up my purchases at the front counter.

Even though we exchanged few words, he did communicate with me and significantly influenced my musical tastes and my purchases.  You see Silver Platters used to have a display located at the front of the store that featured music that the staff members were listening to.  Over time, I came to realize that of all the staff members, Steve had musical tastes that paralleled mine the closest.  If Steve recommended a cd (this was the early 00s), I would buy it.  I was never disappointed.  I miss Steve and his musical recommendations.

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Grabbing their attention.

Door handles of the DQ Grill & Chill in Bend, OR

Door handles of the DQ Grill & Chill in Bend, OR

Almost as iconic as the trademarked curl on the top of their cones is Dairy Queen’s red spoon.

It is a stroke of branding genius that DQ restaurants are beginning to adorn their stores with oversized red spoon as door pulls.   This photo was taken last weekend in Bend OR.  I always appreciate themed door pulls at specialty stores.  The pulls are a great way to create a positive customer impression!

You do not have to take my word for it.  The red spoon door pulls were featured in LockNet, the website about doors and locks for businesses. See link below.




Kit and Ace – a closure with class

Version 2

Unlike the “For Lease” sign from the landlord or a hastily scribbled note taped to the door, when Kit and Ace closed their pop-up shop in Portland they left a strong message.  On the shop window was a professionally printed poster with the message that they had accomplished their mission.  During their short lease, they connected with the community, tested things out, collected feedback and hoped to stay in touch, for now, through their website.  Nicely done.

Retail @ PDX

I had the opportunity to drive out to the Portland International Airport (PDX) on the December 31st to pick up my wife returning from Vancouver, BC.  Many people dread a trip to an airport particularly if they are not taking off to some exotic place and I would generally consider myself one of those.  I have done enough travel in my time to generally dislike most airports.

But not PDX.  Those of you that have had a chance to use PDX know that it is a pleasant airport with decent parking, a manageable size, quick & friendly TSA security and operated efficiently; all of which adds up to make PDX a great airport.  But you do not have to take my word for it.  Travel & Leisure magazine has named Portland’s airport “The Best Domestic Airport” for four years running and Conde Nast ranked PDX the second best airport for 2016 recognizing it for its local shops.

While in the car, I was listening to Oregon Public Broadcasting that was featuring authors talking about the first adult book the read when they were young that influenced them as a writers today.  One of the interviewed named The Heart is a Lonely Hunter as being most influential to her.  After describing the book, I decided that I would have to get ahold of the book and read it.  Which brings me to the focus of this post.

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End of an Era


I took the opportunity to wander through Holiday Land at Macy’s in downtown Portland last week.  This particular Macy’s store is closing in the coming months; the building started as a Meier and Frank’s in 1909.

As I watched the children anxiously waiting to visit with Santa, I could not help but think of the countless other children who made Macy’s a family tradition for Christmas that will soon only be a memory.

Here is a little homage to the store and its logo.



In retail history



On December 25th, 1813, William Debenham joined William Clark at Clark’s drapery shop on 44 Wigmore Street in London.  This partnership was the creation of Debenham’s Department Store.

Clark had been in operation since 1778 meaning that Debenham’s can trace its roots back over 238 years,  The company has grown to over 175 stores operating in the UK, Ireland and Denmark (Mostly though acquisitions).

In retail history

Toad Lane Museum from the outside, first premises of "The Rochdale Pioneers" early successful retail Co-operative, Rochdale England. by Scarletharlot69

Toad Lane Museum from the outside, first premises of “The Rochdale Pioneers” early successful retail Co-operative, Rochdale England. by Scarletharlot69

On December 21,1844, the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers opened their tiny shop at 31 Toad Lane.  After working months to recruit 28 members and collect £28 in capital (£1 from each member), the store had finally opened. Unlike other shops, the Pioneers operated as a cooperative.

The shelves were sparsely stocked with butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and a few candles. Merchandise was soon expanded to include tea and tobacco and the co-op earned a reputation for providing unadulterated, high quality goods at a fair price.

While certainly not the first cooperative, the Rochdale Pioneers was the first successful modern co-op.  What set the Pioneers up for success was the adoption of the now famous Rochdale Principles.

  • Voluntary and open membership.
  • Democratic control.
  • Member economic participation.
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Education training and information
  • Cooperation among cooperatives
  • Concern for community

The principles continue to guide all modern retail co-ops. From their humble beginning, the co-op movement began and within 10 years there were nearly 1,000 cooperatives operating in Britain.

The Rochdale Pioneers work continues today with 4500 locations, 4.5 million active members, over 70,000 employees and revenue of £9.36 billion. http://www.coop.co.uk


Lolli and Pops

I forgot that I had taken some shots of the Lolli & Pop shop in Washington Square.  Thought you might enjoy seeing a few.

Lolli & Pops is a San Francisco-based “candy boutique” with locations in 17 states.  The store is part nostalgic, part artisanal, part whimsical and all-around fun.  Free samples are gladly purveyed. Check out a store if you have the chance, it is simply magical.