Downtown Vancouver is playing musical chairs, of sorts. New stores are coming in, others are moving down the street, and some old establishments have closed up shop.
It’s par for the course for Bradley Richardson, who as curator at the Clark County Historical Museum takes people on walking tours and talks about the businesses and people that used to occupy these historic buildings.
Whatever moves in today could become something totally different 20 years from now, he said.
With that in mind, here are six new shops that are bringing their own flavor to Vancouver’s historic west side.
Shane Work wants Pacific House to become a local hangout where people can have a nice dinner. The goal is for it to be similar to what former tenant Chronis’ Restaurant and Lounge was for many years.
Work has bartended at Topshelf and Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro in downtown Vancouver, so he knows the local food scene and several restaurant owners. When Work heard the landlord of 819 Main St. was looking for another tenant, preferably a restaurant, he decided to add to Vancouver’s growing food scene. The restaurant had a soft opening on Dec. 15.
“It’s nice to be back downtown and working in a group,” said Work, who still bartends at Portland City Grill.
He wants to help revive downtown and keep people from crossing the Columbia River for their dining experiences.
Work and his girlfriend, Courtney Jensen, decided on the name Pacific House before learning about its local historical significance. Pacific House was a hotel in downtown Vancouver in the late 1800s on Main Street, according to the history museum’s records. W. Foster Hidden, who took over the Hidden Brick Co., was born in the hotel.
The building at 819 Main St. was estimated to have been built in 1920. It was Claassen Electric, an electrical supply store, Myerson Sol Shoe Store until 1980 and then Chronis’, the history museum said.
• Location: 819 Main St.
• Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday; happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close daily. The restaurant is kid friendly until 9 p.m.
• Website: www.facebook.com/PacificHouseNW
Be Well Nutrition
Be Well Nutrition’s shake shop whips up protein-packed shakes that come in several flavors, such as bananas Foster, chocolate hazelnut and pi?a colada.
Owner Cortney Gillam opened the new location at 1012 Washington St. in mid-November. The certified nutritionist has been in business for 29 years in downtown Vancouver providing wellness consultations, and she sells wholesale wellness products. Having a strong clientele and a network of people she knew in the downtown area, she decided to add a shake shop and retail storefront. Her goal is to improve the whole community’s health.
“I have a very strong connection to downtown,” said Gillam, who lived there before moving to Felida. “There’s this very great sense of family and community and camaraderie.”
With just herself and another employee running the business, she looks to add more workers this year. The shake shop has already gained a following among new and old customers, so she’s wondering how busy it will get in the warmer months.
Work is being done on a neighboring space in the former Koplan’s Home Furnishings building with signs previewing Sushi Mo, a Japanese restaurant and sake and wine bar. The whole building is owned by Gravitate, a digital marketing and design company that occupies the second floor.
The building was originally built in 1920 and housed Farm Tractor & Implement in 1937 and 1938 before it became a series of furniture stores, according to the Clark County Historical Museum.
• Location: 1012 Washington St.
• Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
• Website: www.facebook.com/bewellshakes
Lo-Lo on Broadway
Kismet Andrews, owner of Lo-Lo on Broadway, likes to consider her store part of midtown — right on the fringe between uptown and downtown. The store at 1507 Broadway opened this summer. Before that, Andrews was working out of a smaller space in Brush Prairie that couldn’t accommodate tour groups and that people often couldn’t find using a GPS.
“I was tired of turning down people and people getting lost. I wanted to come and be part of a larger community,” Andrews said.
She said her Portland clients don’t mind the shorter commute.
“It’s such a different energy between downtown Brush Prairie and downtown (Vancouver),” Andrews said. “We feel very much welcomed.”
Andrews’ Bar-Maids line of eco-friendly moisturizers and soaps are made in the back of the store. Besides skincare products, the store sells gift items that Andrews picks up during her travels. The building the shop is in was built in 1947 and used to house welding supply shops and a paint shop.
• Location: 1507 Broadway.
• Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
• Website: www.bar-maids.com
Vintage Vignette, a “vintage-inspired marketplace,” is moving from an 800-square-foot space in Hazel Dell to a 1,700-square-foot space in downtown Vancouver. The storefront at 108 W. Sixth St. has high ceilings and skylights. It’s part of the Schofield Building built in 1935, according to the Clark County Historical Museum.
Vintage Vignette owner Terry Jensen opened her store in Hazel Dell about 1 1/2 years ago. Inventory at the packed store spilled onto the sidewalk outside. The owner of the French Door, another vintage-inspired shop, told Jensen, who had been wanting a bigger space, that she should move downtown. Earlier in 2015, the French Door opened in downtown Vancouver on West Mill Plain Boulevard next to Urban Barnhouse.
Vintage Vignette is scheduled to open Saturday.
Back in the day, 108 W. Sixth St. was a piano store and a Salvation Army service store. A couple of doors down, the former Vancouver School of Beauty is being gutted and readied for future leasing. The beauty school opened in 1965 and remained there until recently, despite a fire in 1984.
• Location: 108 W. Sixth St.
• Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
• Website: www.vintagevignette.net
Salmon Creek Outfitters
Salmon Creek Outfitters owner Randy Larson says his store celebrates the Pacific Northwest. Some of the shelving is made from wood salvaged from a 115-year-old barn in Ridgefield. The baseboards are made from reclaimed fencing. Cedar timbers in the front display windows came from Kalama. Products are displayed on logs from a tree that the city removed from Fourth Plain Boulevard. Larson and his wife, Trina Larson, simply stripped the logs, sanded and refinished them to make the display.
The store at 2309 Main St. opened three months ago. The main thrust is embroidery work — designed by Randy and done inhouse — but they also do screen printing, glass etching and plasma cutting.
“I’m very proud of the work that he does,” Trina Larson said.
The store mainly carries tops, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets, that can be monogrammed or embroidered with one of Randy’s hunting or fishing designs. One of the most popular items is embroidered baseball caps sealed with Otterwax, which makes the hat waterproof and gives it a distressed look.
After operating a wholesale business out of their Vancouver home for nine years, the Larsons decided to open a retail store. While dropping off a work order at Bleu Door Bakery in the Uptown Village area, Randy Larson noticed a nearby store was available for lease — and jumped on the opportunity. The former tenant, J2 Blueprint Supply Co., moved to a more industrial location, the Padden Business Park, off St. Johns Road. Before that, 2309 Main St. was a series of bicycle shops and a key shop.
“We’ve looked all over. We were looking for something with a high volume of traffic,” Randy Larson said. “We saw that uptown was more active than downtown. … It really is a great community.”
• Location: 2309 Main St.
• Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday.
• Website: www.salmoncreekoutfitters.com
Bryan Wray is excited for Compass Coffee to move about six blocks away from its current location. The new digs at 817 Washington St. are twice as big as the current space 1304 Main St., which adjoins the historic Hidden House.
Wray has been with Compass since 2009, back when it was Paradise Cafe, a sandwich and deli bar. Since then, the food was nixed to focus on making high-quality, small batch coffee and homemade syrups.
“We’re way busier now than I could have ever dreamed of us being back then,” Wray said.
A lot of time and work has gone into redoing 817 Washington St. to make it a suitable, up-to-code coffee shop, and there have been some setbacks. The place is part of the Ludescher Building built in 1910 and has housed several businesses including Cigars & Pool, the Trading Post, City Cleaners, Furniture Clearing House and the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, according to the Clark County Historical Museum.
“It’s kind of hilarious how perfect of a spot it is,” Wray said.
The bigger location means they’ll be able to accommodate more people during the morning rush. Most of the wood features in the space were repurposed, Wray said, such as black walnut wood from a barn that was torn down and a church pew from The Academy on East Evergreen Boulevard.
Compass’ new location should open by Saturday, Jan. 23, Wray said.
• Location: moving from 1304 Main St. to 817 Washington St.
• Hours: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; hours may change when the new location opens.
• Website: www.compasscoffeeroasting.com