retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

One of the things that I continue to be thankful for is the relationship that I've developed with Portland State University's Center for Retail Leadership, where, year after year, I have the opportunity to learn from professionals and students. It is both personally and professionally rewarding ... and the gift that keeps on giving.

Case in point ...
I got an email this week from one of last summer's students telling me about a new business founded by her husband that is designed to draw attention to various social issues. Common Ground is at its core a footwear company, but more importantly, it is designed to "inspire steps, regardless of their size, that contribute to progress." There are four basic collections, with each one focusing on a specific issue - gender equality, gun violence, immigration, and marriage equality.

According to the company, there was a conscious decision to keep the Portland-designed shoes simple, with "clean, classic design lines combined with world-class materials deliver style and comfort. Footwear is available for women and men, with a retail price of $70."

(If you're interested in find out more, you can go to

Stories like this make me thankful for folks who aren't just in business to make money (though making a buck is important), but also are connected to their communities in unique and fundamental ways. They're looking to build on those connections and create a broader context for their entrepreneurial efforts ... and I love that.

In some ways, it seems very Portland ... but I know it goes beyond that. And at a time when so many people seem governed by darker impulses, this makes me hopeful. And thankful.

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: