Entering Spartan Shop in bustling inner South East, located on the intersection of S.E. Grand and SE Salmon streets you are welcomed with a serene feeling. Owner, Currie Parsons, greeted us midmorning this Tuesday and we couldn't help but fawn over the inventory she has so carefully selected. The goal with Spartan’s Portland (located in Austin, TX too!) location was to “offer a carefully edited collection of beautiful, practical objects, influenced by the changing seasons without straying far from our core inventory of reliable, classic items.” Currie and her Spartan team have done a beautiful job on the design and execution of the store. You become absorbed into a minimal and peaceful environment that was previously a densely packed classic antique store. We appreciate that Currie has filled the store with objects that share both utility and beauty. Some of our favorites were; Kati Von Lehman’s stoneware and Sara Barner’s accessories, both talented ladies just happen to be from Portland! The current anchors of the shop are remarkable paintings by Portland artist, Amy Bernstein. The store fixtures and build out were executed in collaboration with by LA based De JONG & Co. The companies furniture is also beautifully displayed throughout Spartan.
1. Tell us about Spartan! (How long have you been open, where is it, etc.)
We opened our first store front in Austin nine years ago. While visiting the Pacific Northwest on a vacation, my husband and I absolutely fell in love with Portland and decided on a whim to relocate here in 2012, leaving our storefront in good hands with our partner in Austin and building Spartan Shop's online business here in Portland.
Last fall, we happened upon this gorgeous corner property in industrial South East which included an ideal work space for our online HQ, as well as a lovely shop floor with two 14 foot walls of windows facing the west hills. We were really excited to find a storefront with ample room to display furniture, lighting and large scale fine art (all new frontiers for us), in addition to our established offerings of homewares, tabletop items, stationery and jewelry.
2. What is the concept behind the store?
We offer a tightly edited selection of items with an eye for thoughtful design and timeless beauty. Our aim is to pair passionate, talented designers with a clientele that prioritizes quality craftsmanship, intelligence, and artistry over the latest trends.
3. How do you find designers you showcase in your shop?
We are proud to say that we have been working with many of our designers for almost a decade. It’s incredibly fulfilling to nurture lasting partnerships that evolve in such interesting directions over the years. Traveling as frequently as we can connects us to small artisans that you won’t find at trade shows or even in some cases online.
4. Who inspires your style?
One of the best things about this job is that we are able to find inspiration from such varied sources to influence what we are doing -travel, architecture, fine art, films. Right now I am really digging into photographers and writers working in Mexico in the early and mid twentieth century like Manuel Alvarez Bravo and his wife Lola Alvarez Bravo.