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Multnomah Village mainstays change

A series of Green Street facilities on Southwest Capitol Highway is not the only thing new to Multnomah Village this summer. Two stores in the business district — Indigo Traders and Sweets, Etc. — have been changing as well.

Indigo Traders

Samir Naser — until recently a resident of the Multnomah neighborhood — opened Indigo Traders with co-owner Karla Bean in 2003. Over the years it has become a one-stop shop for Southwest Portlanders seeking home wares of Mediterranean origins.

The shop, however, has not had just one location. When it first opened a decade ago, it was housed in what is now the home of Medley Coffee & Tea. After a time, Bean and Naser opened a store across the street specifically for its staple: hand-woven Turkish bath and hand towels. Eventually, they moved the entire enterprise into that second location. by: CONNECTION PHOTO: DREW DAKESSIAN - Indigo Traders co-owner Samir Naser with the Multnomah Village shop's staple, hand-woven Turkish towels.

“This (location), to us, was a little bit smaller … I would say about a third of the size we used to have, so it was a challenge to put everything in here and get it going,” Naser said. “But we did really well even in this small space.”

Still, Naser and Bean saw the benefits that a potential expansion could bring, especially after successfully opening a second store in the nearby Hillsdale neighborhood, and when an opportunity came, they seized it.

“Space became available next door. We were waiting for that. We really did have some of the inventory ready. … We were just waiting for the right time. … We thought it’s a good idea to just have more space: It’s more comfortable for customers and it’s not as crowded,” Naser said. “We serve food on First Fridays; that makes it really busy, and this is a lot easier.”

Naser said that the expansion should give him and Bean the opportunity “to provide more high-end foods,” such as premium olive oils, pesto and various vinegars, ingredients used in cooking classes offered at Indigo Traders.

“We (already) sold foods like olives, spices and olive oil, and it’s been really great,” he said, “but we’re adding more ideas and some things we really enjoy. We just want to share it with people.”

With about four times the square footage, Indigo Traders will now have more room for the linchpin of its retail offerings as well.

“We want to present the towels well,” Naser said. “It dries quickly, doesn’t get musty … it’s not high-maintenance, and I think people want to buy things these days where it’s practical and … also … just easy to use. Because they dry quickly, they’re efficient … you’re washing a lot less.”

Sweets, Etc.

by: CONNECTION PHOTO: DREW DAKESSIAN - Some of the scrumptious sweets available for purchase at Hattie's Sweet Shop, formerly known as Sweets, Etc.

Twelve years ago, frustration with her career in the chemical industry inspired Bridlemile neighborhood resident Tricia Leahy to take ownership of Sweets, Etc. This year, everything about the shop is getting a makeover — from the color of the walls to the shop’s very name.

Starting this month, Sweets, Etc. will be known as Hattie’s Sweet Shop. There were several reasons for this decision.

“We wanted something that’s easier to remember,” said Leahy, “and that was more consistent with … who we are.”

Who they are, she said, is a tribute to Leahy’s late grandmother and the store’s new namesake, Hattie.

“She was the holiday grandma,” Leahy recalled. “The one that baked, made candy — specific candy for specific holidays.”

Another reason for the onomastic revision is a simple desire for brand consistency: In November 2012, Leahy opened her second candy store — the first to bear the Hattie’s Sweet Shop name — in Northeast Portland’s Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood.

Beyond all that, Leahy said that for whatever reason Hattie’s Sweet Shop is just an easier name to remember.

And it’s a name Leahy said would be showing up elsewhere in the city.

“Right now … our plan is to have somewhere between six and twelve stores in the Portland metro area,” she said, adding, “It may take many, many, many years to get there. We’re on a slow growth.”

Leahy declined to share what potential locations she is considering, but said, “We are a neighborhood candy store, and that’s where we go: neighborhoods.”

For now, Patron's of Hattie's Sweet Shop in Multnomah Village can expect vintage display cases, a new pink color scheme and even more candy.