PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Alsherif Eskander hand-picked all of the artists featured in his pop-up shop in Pioneer Place after he got to know all of them over the years at various art shows.
The Egyptian immigrant’s shop, Alsherif and Friends, is one of the small businesses getting a chance to show their good through the PDX Pop-Up Shops. He hopes this leads to a permanent location.
“I just felt like if I ever open a store, I’m going to have those people with me because they have great art and also it’s important to me to have art that’s usable, something you can use, too,” he told KOIN 6 News. “So local, usable but also artistic and beautiful.”
Eskander fell in love with Portland after looking at art schools across the US.
“We came here for one weekend. I saw Portland, the mountains, the green water and this is it,” he said. “This is where we want to be.”
He and his wife settled on the St. Johns neighborhood and that bridge, along with all the other Portland bridges, became a focal point for his art work. There are now bridges featured on towels, bags and sweatshirts.
For a decade, the PDX Pop-Up Shops have taken over unused storefront space, helping small businesses like Alsherif and Friends while also helping downtown Portland’s economic revitalization.
He’s focusing on giving underrepresented artists — women and people of color — a way to sell their art. And he’s hoping to make it permanent in the future.
“My goal is to open a retail store one day and this is a great opportunity for me to get into this feeling,” Eskander said. “This environment and see what I’m getting myself into in a very low-risk way.”
Alsherif and Friends will be in Pioneer Place next to the Gap on the lower level through December 31.
This is the last year for the pop-up shops. Next year, a project co-sponsored by the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Prosper Portland are unveiling a retail hub that will showcase small businesses.
Follow KOIN 6 for the latest news and weather