Spotlight on small business: Koi Fusion’s new spot, St. Johns antique store …

eric singer.JPGView full sizeBrent Wojahn/The OregonianEric Singer started carving wooden frames for sunglasses as a recent high school grad. Now the 25 year old’s idea has turned into Shwood, a Beaverton-based company that crafts more than 125 pairs a day.

A weekly roundup of small businesses featured throughout the pages of The Oregonian and Oregon Live. Check back every week for the latest stories.

Born on an artistic whim, Beaverton-based Shwood can’t make wooden sunglasses fast enough.

“Eric Singer snuck into a neighbor’s backyard six years ago to snip off a tree branch. He ended up carving his future.

Singer created sunglasses frames from the orange-hued Madrone branch, then popped in a pair of thrift store lenses.

The idea turned into Shwood, a Beaverton-based company that makes more than 125 pairs of wooden-framed sunglasses a day. Shwood’s sales are so brisk that it hasn’t had a chance to build an inventory since its online launch in 2009.”

sandy-facade-workers.jpgView full sizeQuinton SmithThe Surra restaurant in downtown Sandy, where a city grant is helping pay for remodeling.

Sandy’s building facade program is credited with revitalizing downtown

Contributor Quinton Smith writes:

“Coupled with a new $3 million police station on the east edge of town and a $2.6 million library under way in the middle, the improvement program is bringing new energy, people — and business — to downtown Sandy.

‘It’s created an excitement,’ said Scott Lazenby, city manager. ‘It seems as though people are enjoying downtown more than they ever had. The business owners are fired up. It’s had a lot of spinoff effects.’”

Antiques store in old St. Johns Honda building blends retail with social mission

Contributor Cornelius Swart reports:

“A new antique shop that opened in the big glass showroom of the old St. Johns Honda at 7810 N. Lombard St. is gearing up for a grand opening Nov. 19. Heaven’s Archives is set to showcase its roughly 2,000 square feet of antique furniture, rugs and glassware but also its unique social mission.

One part retail, one part job training center, the store is owned by the pastor of Celebration Tabernacle Church E.D. Mondaine.”

kwons.JPGView full sizeBrent Wojahn/ The OregonianBo Kwon at Koi Fusion in Bridgeport Village.

Bo Kwon’s moving Korean taco food carts: A profusion of Koi Fusion

Contributor Cornelia Signeur writes:

“Kwon grew up in a Korean household in Tigard; his parents emigrated from South Korea 33 years ago.

‘They came here with $100 in their pockets,’ says Kwon, 32. ‘In my fridge we’d have Korean food on one side — like kimchi and rice — and American food — like American cheese, hot dogs, peanut butter — on the other side,’ he says, adding, ‘and I’d ‘Koreanize’ (the American food) out of basic necessity.’”

St. Johns Booksellers co-owner says success comes from neighbor relationships, regulars

Contributor April Choi chats with co-owner Nena Rawdah, who talks about the struggles of running a small business and the importance of shopping local:

“You know, this business has struggled. Every business in this neighborhood
has struggled. Businesses in Portland have struggled. We’re here
because of our neighbors and our neighborhood.”

–Molly Young

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