A window into the Boys' Fort outpost, currently set up in the Governor Hotel. It's one of the West End pop-up shops open for the December shopping season.

For a change of pace this year, don’t bother downloading another app for shopping. Instead, check out the new shopping opps: head to Portland's West End district and see what’s been loaded onto the shelves of various pop-up shops that have opened for the holiday season.

Portland isn't the only city to boast of pop-up retail, but this relatively recent, innovative retail concept seems tailor made for the Portland ethos and aesthetic. In the heart of the downtown retail district, otherwise empty leasable retail spaces (or other underused, convertible interior spaces) are tranformed, temporarily, into posh, sophisticated, often quirky locally owned shops. It's the retail equivalent of the food-cart-to-restaurant business model. It's also how Boys' Fort, a charming store in North Portland, got its start last year.

This year, the boys are returning to their roots and popping up a shop in the lobby of the Governor Hotel as a temporary second location for their classy, creative home goods and mostly male-oriented accoutrements. The rustic, often recycled or nostalgic items they carry are a perfect match for the Governor's dark wood carved columns and evokative murals.

Other pop-ups in the West End this season are Wolf's Apothecary, Alpaca, and Caravan Pacific. The whole concept is the epitome of a win-win situation. The downtown (that is, retailers, city bureaucrats, and any others with an interest in a healthy downtown business environment – which should be all of us in the metro area) gets to activate an otherwise dormant retail space (empty shop windows are the enemy of a healthy shopping street). The prospective retailer gets to try out having a physical space instead of just a web storefront, for instance, or expand into a second location as in the case of Boys' Fort. 

This year's PDX Pop-Up shop project is supported by the Portland Business Alliance, Portland Development Commission, Downtown Retail Advocate, Downtown Marketing Initiative and the City of Portland. The shops will be open through December 31.

Pop-up locations are in downtown Portland. (Click here for a map)
902 SW Morrison Street 
and
Boys' Fort at the Governor Hotel
614 SW 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 

Caravan Pacific is also hosting an even more temporary shopping location at its space in Northwest Portland: Tinselbox. Technically, it's not really a pop-up shop, but more of a weekend shopping festival: over 20 Portland-based artists and makers will be offering handcrafted jewelry, textiles, pillows, fine glassware, bags, watercolors, silk-screened prints and more!

Tinselbox
Friday, December 14- Sunday, December 16, 2012
11 a.m. – 8 p.m. | FREE | All Ages
located at Caravan Pacific Showroom?
1720 NW Lovejoy Street
Portland, OR