Locally Owned and Founded Companies in Portland: The Big Guys!

We’ll say it once and we’ll say it a hundred times — at Piece of PDX we KEEP IT LOCAL! Off shooting from our lovely, local Get to Know Portland series, we are whipping up a series of blogs, featuring Portland’s beloved local businesses. Starting off strong, we are looking at “The Big Guys” — Some of Portland largest and most notable locally founded businesses. 


What's in the pipeline? Keep your eyes peeled for future blogs in this series, including: Local Women-owned businesses, Local Queer-owned businesses, and Local BIPOC-owned businesses!




Find them: 638 SW 5th Ave
What: footwear, clothing, and sports accessories
Who: Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Nike Swoosh logo was designed by a student at Portland State University for just $35? The student, Carolyn Davidson, first created the iconic design in 1971. Later on, she was given more than $640,000 worth of Nike products.




What: Stylish and functional swimsuits and accessories for men, women, and kids of all shapes and sizes
Who: John A. Jantzen
Fun Fact: Jantzen first started selling bathing suits in 1915 and they were knitted from pure wool! Today that sounds itchy and impractical, but at the time, using a fast-drying material like wool was highly innovative.



Leatherman Tool Group

What: Multi Tools and knives
Who: Tim Leatherman
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Leatherman Tool Group has become so iconic, that there is a special section called "Tool Tales" on the company website where readers submit their own stories of using their Leatherman in life-saving moments.



Columbia Sportswear

Find them: 911 SW Broadway
What: outdoor and active lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment.
Who: Paul and Marie Lamfrom
Fun Fact: Did you know that Columbia Sportswear is the official apparel provider of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association?



Powell’s Books

Find them: 1005 W Burnside Street — One of five locations!
What: New and used books
Who: Walter Powell
Fun Fact: The flagship store in Portland is the world's largest independent bookstore with more than one million books!



Fred Meyers

What: groceries, apparel, home goods and electronics
Who: Fred G. Meyer
Fun Fact: Fred Meyer is best known for pioneering the concept of one-stop shopping, which eliminated the need for trips to several stores when doing groceries. 



Old Spaghetti Factory

What: Italian-American cuisine
Who: Guss and Sally Dussin
Fun Fact: The original Old Spaghetti Factory included a vintage Trolley cart that was turned into a seating area. Since then, many of the stores include replica trolleys.



Voodoo Donuts

What: Over 50 different types of donuts!
Who: Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon 
Fun Fact: Did you know that Voodoo Doughnuts earned its place in the Guinness Book of World Records when it constructed a 666-pound, 3,880-doughnut filled box for the Portland Bridge Festival in 2011?



Salt & Straw

What: Ice cream
Who: Cousins Kim and Tyler Malek
Fun Fact: Their flavors are inspired by local farmers and artisans from the area where the store is located. For instance, in Portland, you can find flavors like pear and blue cheese and dill pickle sorbet.



Pizza Schmizza

What: Pizza
Who: Brothers Andre and Roger Jehan
Fun Fact: Pizza Schmizza made headlines in 2003 when they got some heat for hiring homeless men to hold signs that said "Pizza Schmizza paid me to hold this sign instead of asking for money"! Talk about a creative way to help the homeless and make sure everyone gets a slice of the pie.


Stay tuned for even more deep dives into PDX local businesses. Don’t forget to share when you visit our favorite places!
Head over to the Piece of PDX blog page for more tips on home maintenance, selling your home for top dollar, design inspiration, community engagement, and MORE! Thinking about moving to our beautiful city? Or, moving to a new Portland neighborhood? Check out all of our featured community blogs and find the perfect Portland neighborhood for you! Last but not least, REACH OUT! We can't wait to chat.

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