Small Biz Spotlight: Cultural Blends
In just a few short years, Troy Douglass, Grand Ronde, has cemented his place as one of Portland’s most visible Native-owned business owners. Influencer, entrepreneur, and innovator, Douglass and his Cultural Blends line of clothing have become fixtures in the Pacific Northwest Indigenous community.
Douglass has participated in NAYA’s Microenterprise Program as well as the Business Accelerator. He also is a participant in the Individual Development Account Program and has been a popular vendor at NAYA’s marketplace events. Prior to the quarantine, it was difficult to walk through any local pow wow or other cultural event without seeing someone in the crowd wearing one of Cultural Blends’ The Best Coast shirts—the company’s best-selling item.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon business has been Douglass’s biggest challenge since starting his business in 2011. After achieving the remarkable milestone of opening a “bricks-and-mortar” shop in Lloyd Center in late 2018, Douglass had to move his focus to online retail when the pandemic forced the store to close temporarily in March. Cultural Blends online store not only features its clothing line, but has local and rare vintage brand items, and is a mecca for sneaker lovers and Trailblazers fans everywhere.
However, things are looking up. First, Cultural Blends received some much-needed grant assistance for small businesses suffering from loss of income due to COVID-19. With this support the been able to keep going.
Then, on June 20, 2020, Cultural Blends re-opened its shop in Lloyd Center. As Briola states, “The best part is the community that we’ve built and the returning customers that make it worth it.”
Since re-opening, it’s clear that Douglass has resumed being a visible and generous member of the community. He recently invited community members to stop by the shop for free masks and other PPE to anyone who in need. He explains, “Our shop is a place for young people to feel comfortable and a place that is inclusive to all.”
To learn more, to shop, or to support Douglass and Cultural Blends, visit www.culturalblends.net and follow on Twitter (@culturalblends), Instagram (@culturalblends_store), and Facebook (facebook.com/culturalblends).