Owners Angie Heiney and Aly Wykhuis opened Frock on Alberta Street in 2003, with a commitment to local, independent and handmade fashion. Stop in to Frock and you won't be able to resist the vintage charm and cute accessories — not to mention picking up one of our Stumptown-themed tees. We talked with the ladies from Frock about some delicious local eateries, the perks of shopping for a living, and their perfect day in Portland.
When you started your business, did you have a particular kind of customer in mind? What sort of needs were you trying to meet?
Our customers are looking for something different and fresh. We want to facilitate radical self expression via fashion and accessories. Our lines are funky, accessible, often local, independent, handmade, and unique. Whether you are 5, 95 or anywhere in between and whether you spend $1, $10, or $100, everyone's a winner at Frock. It is the most unique boutique experience without the steep boutique prices.
Are there any fun, unusual perks that come with your job?
Shopping for a living is its own reward! Interacting with our customers is also wonderful as they are often very surprised by and happy with our store. To say there are a lot of laughs within our walls is an understatement!
It is very rewarding to be an independent business owner in a successful 9-year partnership. Watching tons of people lose their jobs has made us thankful that no one can fire us! Having a partner to rely on keeps us going and allows us to set our own schedules and travel.
Being able to make a difference in our community is extremely gratifying too. Watching our location, the Alberta Arts District, go from every building boarded up in the early nineties to becoming one of the most thriving neighborhoods in the city has been amazing.
Describe your idea of a perfect day in Portland. What would you buy, do, see, eat and hear?
My perfect day is a summer day in Portland walking up one side of Alberta Street and then down the other. I'd walk my dogs to the Tin Shed were I can get "Fetch," a delicious scramble served atop their famous potato cakes. Dogs are welcome, and served chicken and rice, plus water in bowls. Then I would go in and out of our boutiques and galleries including pedX shoe store, Amy Dott's custom made dresses, Guardino Gallery, HiiH lighting gallery, and Hail Mary mosaics.
I'd have to stop by Random Order for a pick-me-up with the best coffee on the street and the best pie in the entire city (or should I say America?!): Tahitian, vanilla-salted caramel apple pie. It has organic apples tumbled in homemade caramel and laid to service under a vanilla sugar salted crust. Crimony!
There's too many amazing places to eat at on Alberta Street. I could go on and on.
What does Portland offer that other cities don't and why did you decide to start a business here?
There's something in the water here! We have a thriving, supportive artist community and it seems like everyone is looking for something different. People want to support local. People want to know where stuff comes from, who made it, etc. We love the flavor of the Alberta Arts District and knew long ago we wanted to be a part of it. We have a monthly street festival on the last Thursday of very month and it's great exposure for any business.