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Welcoming shop also offers a play area for kids



YOUNG-ELLISI am the self-professed queen of vintage shopping. I love styles from previous eras, and I'm known to haunt vintage shops and secondhand stores as part of my ongoing dedication to recycled and reused clothing — all while looking for good buys and interesting things to wear.

I have many favorite Portland secondhand shops that I frequent, but I’ve recently come across one in my own neighborhood that I found very intriguing.

Multnomah Marketplace in Multnomah Village is the brainchild of Mella Kaufman. She opened the shop in the Village on June 3, after having run a similar establishment called The Factory for several years on Northeast Alberta Street. But I didn’t yet know anything about the owner when I first glimpsed the newly opened boutique at 7642 S.W. Capitol Highway and wandered in for a look.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GEORGINA YOUNG-ELLIS - Multnomah Marketplace carries a wide array of vintage and secondhand handbags at affordable prices.What struck me at first was the clean, natural look of the place. It wasn’t cluttered with merchandise from top to bottom; instead, everything was neatly arranged and easy to look through.

I was greeted by Lori Rosen and her adorable daughter, who were manning the shop in Kaufman’s absence. Rosen is the creator of a line of clothing that Kaufman features at Multnomah Marketplace called Reform League — new pieces, in particular cute and summery tops, made from mostly vintage fabric. She and I chatted for a few minutes about her philosophy in making and buying clothing, which is to recycle as much as possible.

One reason Rosen and Kaufman work together is their shared commitment to sustainability. As a matter of fact, a later conversation with Kaufman informed me that the materials used for the interiors of Multnomah Marketplace nearly all come from repurposed sources.

Kaufman also carries a charming line of repurposed children’s items by local designer Sue Augustyn, which were displayed in the store window when I visited.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GEORGINA YOUNG-ELLIS - Multnomah Marketplace on Southwest Capitol Highway features recycled and repurposed clothing.I must admit, though, that it was the vintage and secondhand items of clothing that I was most interested in looking over — each piece obviously selected for quality, though reasonably and appropriately priced. I was particularly drawn to the handbags, as I am a big fan of buying secondhand in that area. I like a quality handbag, but feel uncomfortable about spending what retail stores sometimes ask for them. I found ultra-high-end names in previously owned handbags at Multnomah Marketplace, in great condition, at really good prices.

The designers that Kaufman works with do sell their pieces on consignment, but she doesn’t take in consignment pieces from the public, as some other secondhand shops do. With a couple of children already and another on the way, Kaufman has to limit her time to what she can reasonably handle — she also is a therapist and has her practice just across the hall — and dealing with consignment from the public is currently too big a time commitment, she said.

On the other hand, the designers she works with are local, and she will be looking to acquire some additional consignment denim and kids clothing in the future. She will also soon be featuring new and repurposed maternity clothing from, of course, a local designer.

Clearly a business owner with children on her mind, Kaufman has fashioned an environment where you can feel comfortable bringing your kids; one area of the store has fun stuff to keep children busy (depending on age) while you look around at your ease. She will also soon feature artwork on the walls from local artists, adding to the interest of the space.

“I have my heart in it,” she told me. “I want it to feel like a home away from home — a place to engage the community.”

She certainly has done just that.

Rating: Very Sincere

Georgina Young-Ellis moved to Multnomah from Queens, N.Y., in 2015. She explores the world outside of big-box chain stores to find local businesses intent on customer service, customer satisfaction and a pleasurable customer experience. To read more about her experiences at Portland-area shops, visit Searching4Sincerity.com.

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