Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Title: Historic Portland Store Hippo Hardware Calls for Support from Customers Amid Struggles
Word Count: 350
Portland’s beloved Hippo Hardware & Trading Co., a secondhand store specializing in building materials from the Victorian era to the midcentury modern “atomic” age, is facing uncertain times. The long-time owner, Steven Miller, recently issued a heartfelt call for help in keeping the store open.
In a candid Facebook post, Miller outlined the challenges that the business has endured over the past year. He emphasized the need for customers to rally behind the store and support its continued operation. The response from the community has been overwhelming, with numerous customers expressing their support and choosing to shop remotely for unique, hard-to-find items.
One sign of the outpouring of support was the brisk sale of Hippo Hardware-branded t-shirts, which quickly sold out and had to be reordered. The store also received a significant endorsement from Restore Oregon, a preservation organization, which promoted the business on their Facebook page. Both regular customers and curious first-timers have been exploring the store’s three levels, marveling at the oddball objects and engaging in conversation.
However, declining foot traffic and fewer spontaneous purchases, coupled with rising costs of rent, utilities, and labor, have created significant challenges for Hippo Hardware. Miller emphasized that his primary goal is not to make enormous profits, but rather to provide a good life for his dedicated employees who put their heart and soul into the business.
Several factors contribute to the store’s struggles, including a decline in the renovation of historic homes and decreased demand for vintage items. However, as word spread about the potential closure of the iconic store, customers who had been postponing their home improvement projects started flocking to Hippo Hardware. They shared stories about how the store’s inventory played an essential role in their renovation projects and expressed their gratitude for its iconic status within the Portland community.
While the future remains uncertain for Hippo Hardware, the overwhelming support from customers has brought new hope for its owner, Steven Miller, and his employees. The dedication and appreciation shown by the community underline the store’s significance in preserving Portland’s architectural heritage and embodying the spirit of sustainability and recycled materials.
As the beloved establishment fights to keep its doors open, the rallying support from loyal customers demonstrates the value of Hippo Hardware to the community and reinforces the need for its preservation.