The countdown to Christmas has started and if there’s still someone on your list who deserves a special present, local artisans are ready with last-minute suggestions, from Powell’s Books’ limited-edition Storytime candle to Uncle Nearest whiskey barbecue sauce and rub.
It’s easy to shop artisan markets, pop-up stores and online. Oregon makers, once isolated by COVID-19 pandemic, are thriving amid the holiday shopping season.
“Building locally with U.S.A.-sourced materials can certainly bring challenges, like producing high-quality products at a reasonable price,” said Ron Khormaei, co-founder of Steelport Knife Co. in Portland. “At the same time, the recent global supply chain disruptions have highlighted one great advantage of building close to home, which is the access and availability of parts.”
At Steelport and another all-American made company Khormaei co-founded, Finex Cast Iron Cookware, the majority of parts are from companies near their Northeast Portland factories.
“Our close proximity further allows for quick fixes and real improvements in the product,” said Khormaei.
Portland urban winery Flat Brim Wines sources fruit from sustainable vineyards in Eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley as well as the Columbia Gorge, Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon.
When restaurants temporarily closed to guests during the coronavirus pandemic, winemaker and owner Ian Atkins launched a web store and now it’s easier to get Flat Brim Wines shipped directly to consumers.
Are houseplants on your shopping list? Look at this gift guide to Oregon shops offering options from flowering classics to Venus flytraps.
Don’t know what will inspire you? The one-stop Built Oregon Marketplace site has works by 400 Oregonian food purveyors, fashion creators, wellness promoters and makers of crafted holiday gifts — like cards of photographer Samantha Barsky’s Portland landmarks — and presents for beloved pets.
At the online Built Oregon Marketplace, products can be searched by region, gift types and categories, and delivered to your door. Some makers also allow in-store pick ups.
Here’s a sample of some bestselling, locally made products:
“We are seeing strong orders for our flagship Steelport eight-inch chef knife with sheath as a set for $445,” said Eytan Zias, co-founder and bladesmith of Steelport Knife Co. “It’s been especially rewarding to see many of our past customers now buying Steelport again as a gift, which is the best vote of confidence and indication of customer satisfaction.”
Zias said companies are giving premium, heirloom-quality products to employees and clients to thank them for their support during the COVID-19 crisis. Shipping is free in December.
Another trend: Customers want to shop in-person at the factory store at 3602 N.E. Sandy Blvd. Suite B to see the hand-finish knife-making process from grinding and etching to handle assembly and sharpening.
“We’ve expanded our shop hours in December to accommodate that, in addition to [steering shoppers to] our great local retailer partners,” said Zias.
“The holiday shopping season has been very successful, especially at our Wild Roots x Wyld Washington Square pop-up” in Tigard, said Ali Joseph, co-founder of Wild Roots Spirits, which produces hand-crafted vodka and gin made of locally sourced, whole natural fruit and herbs. No artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors are added.
The most popular product this holiday season is Wild Roots Marionberry Infused Vodka, which is a year-round favorite, Joseph said.
“The holiday shopping season is keeping me very busy between wholesale and online orders,” said Kylie Antolini, founder and owner of Wildwood Candle Co., which produces eco-friendly, ethically sourced scented candles in Portland using only materials made in the United States. No petroleum, lead, GMO products or phthalate are used.
Each candle is made of soy wax, which is hand poured, and has a wooden wick from naturally processed and sourced wood approved by the nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council, which partners with Trees.org.
The best-selling candle is Forest Park, which has scents of fresh mint leaves, oakmoss and grapefruit and a sandalwood based. The 11-ounce candle in a recyclable glass jar is $28, with 5% of profits donated to the Forest Park Conservancy.
This year, Powell’s Books collaborated with Wildwood Candle Co. to create the limited-edition Storytime candle, with scent notes of blue spruce, cedarwood, cardamom and vanilla. “The scent is warm, cozy, and inviting – just like a good book on a crisp fall day,” said Antolini in a news release.
“People in Portland are really striving to support local small businesses,” said Sarah Marshall, owner of Portland’s Marshall’s Haute Sauce company, which uses fresh produce sourced directly from local farms to make small batches of gluten-free spice blends and sauces such as Habanero Carrot Curry, Serrano Ginger Lemongrass and Red Chili Lime.
“We have seen a huge effort from our community to buy gifts directly from local makers, and we are so thankful,” added Marshall, a cookbook author, recipe developer and food activist.
The bestseller for a barbecue lover is the Uncle Nearest sauce and rub gift set (on sale at $15) with a four-ounce bottle of Whiskey Smoked Ghost Sauce and a one-ounce pack of Uncle Nearest BBQ Rub.
“We partnered with the first woman-owned whiskey distillery to create this special box,” said Marshall, who explained that dates are soaked in Uncle Nearest whiskey, freeze dried and powdered to create the sauce and rub.
Worried about shopping online this holiday season? You’re not alone, wrote Rosemarie Stein of the Oregonian/OregonLive. Shopping locally and having gifts in hand can sidestep shipping delays.
A variety of pop-up markets and gift fairs are open this season to help, many with locally made goods, in stock and ready to wrap.
Portland Saturday Market is open on Saturdays until Dec. 18 but will not host the annual procrastinator’s fallback, the Festival of the Last Minute this year.
MadeHere, a gift shop at 40 N.W. 10th Ave. in Portland’s Pearl District representing more than 200 regional producers, is also seeing a “bustling” beginning to holiday shopping, said general manager Lauren Stumpf.
Makers Union PDX pop-up shop at 820 N. Russell St. has vendors selling handcrafted goods and hosting free, maker-led demonstrations, classes and tastings . A rotation of more than 70 local vendors will have a variety of items, from art to presents for pets, Wednesdays through Sundays through Dec. 24.
MESO Holiday Market has items from Black-owned businesses. Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) welcomes 14 small businesses over the course of the six-week market. The market will include two food vendors rotating every two weeks. The family- and community-oriented event is open to all ages. It will include live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays and a Black Santa available for photos noon-3 p.m. Dec. 4, 11 and 18. Market hours 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through Dec. 24, at 1237 N.E. Alberta St.; free admission; 503-841-3351 or [email protected]
My People’s Market lets downtown window shoppers see products on display on the corner of Southwest Yamhill Street and Ninth Avenue and scan a QR code to buy directly from more than 30 Black, Indigenous and People of Color businesses participating in My People’s Market, where you can also shop in-person noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 5, 12 and 19, at The Redd, 831 S.E. Salmon St.
2021 PDX Pop-Up Shops are open now in Portland’s downtown and Old Town. Local designers and artists moved into vacant storefronts around the city and offer gifts just in time for the holidays. This year’s shops include items created by Indigenous artists, wellness products, socks, ceramics and Portland Pickles team swag. The shops are open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. most Tuesdays-Sundays through Dec. 31; details and a map of stores are available at downtownportland.org
Slabtown Holiday Makers Market offers a chance to give and give back. Shop for gifts from jewelry and textiles to household goods and more. When you buy an item, 5%-10% of the sales go to various local nonprofits, including Raphael House of Portland for domestic violence survivors and their families, the Pixie Project for rescued animals and the Urban League of Portland, the state’s oldest civil rights and social service organization. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 18-19, N.W. Marine Art Works, 2516 N.W. 29th Ave; free admission; slabtownmakersmarket.com
— Compiled by Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072
More great deals for yourself or to give as gifts:
• Amazon’s hot deals on beauty products: Take up to 40% off makeup, fragrances, hair volumizers and more
• Amazon’s ‘epic daily deals’ continue: Save on Roomba vacuums, kitchen appliances, TVs and more
• Pet presents: Put something purr-fect and dog-gone fun under the tree with Cyber Week savings
• Coach is offering designer products at 30-50% off. Some of the biggest discounts are on the Wyn Soft Wallet ($90, originally $150), the Ergo Shoulder Bag ($197.50, originally $395) and the Gotham Tall Tote 34 ($297, originally $495). Read more: Coach leather totes, wallets, phone cases are up to 60% off: Cyber Week has gifts to impress on discount