The most delightful way to support Portland’s small business community.
Author: Andrea Bailey
Posted: November 23, 2016

Back in 2011, Betsy Cross - founder of rising-star jewelry studio betsy & iya - had an idea to turn the post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza into a pleasant experience and at the same time support Portland’s vibrant small business scene: Little Boxes.

Every last Friday and Saturday of November since then, Portland locals and visitors have been exploring participating shops - and winning some pretty spectacular prizes along the way. If you are in town this year, you can join in at

Of course, small businesses are worth supporting any time of year. Part of Portland State University’s School of Business, the Business Outreach Program (BOP) is constantly working with entrepreneurs, makers, artisans, and other small businesses owners - many of them women and/or minorities - to tackle challenges and move toward their vision. In fact, Betsy Cross was once part of the BOP long term support program.

Whether you are looking for holiday gifts, entrepreneurial inspiration, or a way to invest in the small business community that contributes so much to Portland’s vibe and reputation, we’d like to introduce you to a few other former BOP clients:

Overcup Press

An independent publisher of books on art, travel, design, and more. Sold online at and in retail locations such as Boys Fort in downtown Portland.

Portland Bitters

Small batch bitters for cocktails and more, sold at Also found at New Seasons and other local retailers.


Jewelry inspired by ancient cultures, designed by Lindsey Alonzo. Available at Mizuba Tea Fine matcha imported from small family farms in Japan. Available at as well as in Portland retail stores such as Food Front.

Red Sail

Home items and gifts, ready for discovery in the Alberta Street retail location and at Red Sail is also a Little Boxes stop.


Designer and owner Alejandra Oyervides line of soft hats, available on Etsy.

Bull in China

Durable, unique barware. Available in their Northwest Portland store and at

>> Support local small businesses by starting your holiday gift search with the above list.

>> Be part of the next group of small business owners developing their vision or growing their business through a five-week workshop series. The Business Outreach Program is offering these series multiple times each year with the next one starting January 10, 2017.

>> Meet another PSU alumni who grew a top shelf brand from a classroom project: Christopher Joseph of Wild Roots Spirits.