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Chapterfour and the New Sofadaby

Marjorie Skinner

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Yet another has been added to the seemingly endless procession of stores filling out the retail scene in Portland: Chapterfour (4702 N Albina) has set down its roots just off the Mississippi drag, and if you haven't picked up a hat to keep your ears warm on those crisp fall bike rides, stop in and check out the new neighbors.

Mita and Wes Pasqualle came here from Detroit, where they had opened, in 1993, their first store, Magic Bus. Catering to a younger, mostly teen set, the store's California-esque surf and skate merchandise proved popular enough that a second location was opened, and eventually Mita was able to open a third shop, this one selling high-end, hand-blocked, and stitched hats and accessories.

With Detroit's economy in decline, the Pasqualles "hopped ship before it sank" remembers Mita, who effuses about Portland's good feel and affordability. Scouting the local boutique scene during her first year here, she noticed that while many boutiques offered a few hats scattered here and there, there was a lack of stores that specialized in them. Seeing a niche that she could fill with something she knows and loves, Chapterfour (the name comes from the fact that it is the Pasqualles' fourth store) does indeed offer a wide selection of everyday casual hats at a budget-friendly price point. As for the high-end market that brought her success in Detroit, Mita says she'll have to feel that out gradually and gauge the public's interest before investing in headwear that retails between $200-400.

Another observation she made was that Portland's stores for men still have a lot of catching up to do compared to the wide options available for women. Chapterfour's streetwear focus translates to merchandise that is dominated by labels like Triple Five Soul and WESC, with solid basics like button-down shirts and jackets. For women, Triple 5 Soul and WESC also represent, along with an appealing and not-too-spendy line called Hazel that's girly but not too frilly—look for their cute coats, dresses, and sweaters.

Meanwhile, Sofada, local Alice Dobson's line, which debuted its spring '08 collection recently at Portland Fashion Week, is picking up from its NE Fremont retail location and heading south to ever-evolving E Burnside (2937 E Burnside, to be exact). In addition to the in-house women's wear line of instant wardrobe staples, the new Sofada store, which will also offer expanded hours and lots more space, will be carrying... wait for it... shoes! Doors open on Tuesday, November 6.

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