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Home At Last
Grovemade has a new home, a permanent place to pursue our blend of design & manufacturing. Over the course of 13 months, we found a space, bought it, built it out, got permitting, and moved all of our stuff three miles north, from our old space in the Central Eastside Industrial district to our new neighborhood in North Portland.
Finding the Right Space
Portland is changing. The development blitz began a few years back and it hit the Central Eastside (our old neighborhood) with a fury. Tower cranes galore. Things changed rapidly—what had been auto shops were now chic cafes and hip creative agencies. Rents were rising (ours was set to triple), meaning people like us were getting displaced.
We decided to take matters into our own hands and buy a building. Ken, our co-founder and CEO, hit the pavement in the fall of 2017 to find a spot for our team, a permanent location we could grow into. Something that would preserve our brand of design and manufacturing and meaningful work.

We had unusual criteria for a manufacturing company - the building had to be in a walkable neighborhood, but also be zoned for manufacturing. We wanted something with historic character, in a place where we could stay integrated into the community. Almost magically, Ken found a winner right away. It’s an 8000 ft², heavy timber trussed building with a peeling stucco exterior. Built in 1922, it’s nestled next to a mini-mart in a residential neighborhood. Across the street is Peninsula Park, filled with gorgeous fir trees and a classic rose garden, perfect for walks and stopping to smell the roses, literally and figuratively.
When Ken found it, it had most recently been home to metalworkers and woodworkers. Before that it had been a casket factory, a call center, and and originally an auto repair shop—honestly, it was a ‘fixer’, but it had great bones. We had a vision of how to make it ours. Six months later, two bank acquisitions and more paperwork than anyone would like to talk about, the building was ours. Now, just to get it ready for us to move in. How hard could that be?
Building Out and Moving In
The first step in the move was to improve the building and tailor it to our specific needs. Our team has a lot of construction experience, so we decided to handle the general contracting ourselves. We worked with various subcontractors and specialists where needed, and rolled up our sleeves and did a lot of work ourselves. Ten dumpster loads of demolition, sandblasting massive beams and walls to expose the brick, new HVAC, concrete work, painting—the whole job took us six months to complete.

"Getting to work together with Ben on a construction project was awesome—a total blast from the past!"

KEN TOMITA
Co-Founder
Updating and improving the building was a major undertaking, but compared to the permitting process, it was nothing! Partly driven by the explosion of development in Portland, the city was way behind in their permitting process. Our first move date was the end of May. Then the end of June. Then July. Then “whenever we get the permit.”

Turns out, that wouldn’t happen until October.

So with the holidays just around the corner, the move was finally on! Moving an entire manufacturing facility is no joke. Professional riggers had to come in to move the lasers and 8000 lb CNCs, a moving company with their fleet of trucks hauled all our stuff, and before any of that could happen, we had to pack everything up!
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We’d been working in our old space for almost six years, and things build up. The day before the moving trucks showed up, the team committed a full day to packing. All told, our team spent 185 labor hours packing things up and helping to load. The moving trucks showed up bright and early, loaded our things, and began schlepping northward.
The riggers followed—big guys picking up big machines with even bigger forklifts. After a long day, everything was at rest in the new place. Now, to unpack…

"Unpacking was daunting but exciting—kind of like a kid in a candy store, we got to design the space and the layout just how we wanted it."

VICTOR NGUYEN
Production Manager
The Space
When you first walk in the door from Albina Ave, you’re under a wood mezzanine which sits over our showroom, conference table and lounge area. Walking out from under it, the space opens up—20 foot ceilings soar, punctuated by massive sandblasted wood trusses. The office pod comes first—Rainey, Nick, Sean, Ben, Ken, and Nozomi are here, working on a variety of customer emails, CAD, spreadsheets, and sketching. Nearby is Max in our photography and graphic design area. Brodie waves from the shipping station.
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At the end of the room Dashia helms the lasers, and Christian and Victor huddle over a process improvement. Cara finishes wallets, entering them into inventory. To the left is the woodshop. A massive 17’ tall glass roll-up door points north, letting in some nice sunlight. John and Ryan are finishing desk shelves, Sara works on charging pads, and Dixie is in flow at the CNCs, machining a set of speakers.

At least that’s what you might see if you came by for a visit. The shop layout reflects our philosophy, and it allows us to do what we do best—design & manufacture products that couldn’t exist anywhere else. Right now, the building exists in reality and also potential reality. Some is finished, some will be finished in the months and years to come. The space and the business can grow and evolve together.
What the New Space Means
Our products are designed to boost your inspiration, to help you lead your best life and create meaningful work. We’re crafting the same things for ourselves—this new space where we work is important to the quality of life and work that we aspire to.

Our fans and customers are spread out around the world, but we wish you could all come to Portland to see our shop. We’d love to show you around. After all, your support is the reason we can do any of this.
Behind the Scenes on Instagram
Check out our stories on Instagram to see way more behind the scenes footage of the move and the buildout process at the new HQ.

GO BEHIND THE SCENES

Further Reading

Design Inspires What You Do
We at Grovemade believe the tools you immerse yourself in reflect who you are and the meaning behind your work.

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