Portland, Oregon-based photographer - 503.421.5700

Seeing the past through Mom and Pop grocery stores in Southeast Portland

Added on by Thomas Boyd.

When I was in fourth grade, back in the 1970's, my parents owned a mom-and-pop market in Hauser, Oregon, along Hwy. 101 on the coast near Coos Bay.

Like all small neighborhood markets, the money-makers were beer and cigarettes, but one could stop in and also get bread, milk, fresh produce and meat.

The counter was packed with the requisite jars of pickled pigs feet, pickled eggs and red hot sausages. The threshold on the front door was worn down from loggers coming in with sharply cleated "cork" boots. In fact, many stores back then usually had hand-written signs taped to the door that said "No Corks" in hopes of preventing damage.

For many small stores at the time, carrying credit for local customers was standard procedure. Of course, more often than not, it ended badly for owners. My dad told me he never issued credit out of his store, except for a few select families. They lived way out in the woods and would have visitors stop in to get groceries for them on their way in.

I organized bottle returns, pumped gas and got fat on free candy, roaming free with minimal parental supervision. Our store stood alone next to Hwy. 101. It was the focal point of Hauser. On summer weekends the parking lot would fill with campers and dune buggies getting gas, beer and ice. 

With full-size grocery stores over a half-hour drive a way, the Hauser Store served an important service for neighbors, some of whom lived as much as an hour from town.

The small independent mom and pop stores in Portland are dwindling, but are still just as important to the neighbors that rely on them for a quick jug of milk....or a 40-ouncer. 

The gallery above is not a complete list or meant as a shopping guide, but simply a look at a few neighborhood stores in Southeast Portland.

Please feel free to add a photograph of your own to the comments below. Be sure and include the cross streets and name of the store. Any facts about the store would be great.