Three local businesses (and artists!) to know

In recent newsletters, we’ve been sharing interviews with some amazing local businesses to know series! ICYMI, we’re talking with business owners who are a part of Planned Parenthood Columbia-Willamette’s Shared Window project. It started in 2020 to uplift the community by providing free ad space to small businesses and local artists. With the help of local creative agency @fiskprojects you’ll find all sorts of new ways to love the work of your neighbors! 

The featured businesses and artists include:

Quesabrosa with art made by Francisco Morales 

Community Warehouse with art made by Mom Gordon 

Zaap Thai with art made by Miyu Shirotsuka 

Community Warehouse, Quesabrosa and Zaap Thai have partnered with three local artists to develop some gorgeous visuals that make their work pop and encourage more locals to come their way (as seen in the photos above). Below are all our conversations with each local business and we hope you keep scrolling to see what has us feeling super grateful for this PDX community.


First off, we’re talking with Anna Kurnizki, the Executive Director of Community Warehouse! It’s the region’s only nonprofit furniture bank that redistributes donated household goods and furniture to community members who need it, which gives people a foundation of stability and comfort in their lives and homes that they otherwise may not have access to. Take it away, Anna!

Local Business to Know: Community Warehouse

Glad to chat with you! First, tell us where we can find you online/neighborhood. 

Community Warehouse has locations at 3969 NE MLK Jr Blvd in Portland and 8380 SW Nyberg St in Tualatin. You can find out more about us online at our website, as well as on Instagram and Facebook

Tell us about your business. What do you do and how do you do it? 

For over 20 years, Community Warehouse has served as the Portland area’s only furniture bank. We envision a Portland metro community where every neighbor can live with comfort and dignity in a furnished home. Our concept is simple: we accept donations of household items from the community and give them to folks who need furniture. We provide beds to sleep in, tables for family meals, cookware and dishware to prepare meals, lamps and desks for schoolwork, and other essential household items to turn empty houses into furnished homes. Alongside our two furniture bank locations in Portland and Tualatin, we operate Estate Stores, where we sell donated vintage, antique, and contemporary home goods. All proceeds from Estate Store sales support the furniture bank program. 

How does Portland help and/or inspire Community Warehouse to do its work? 

Our organization exists to fulfill a simple need with a profound impact. Essential household furnishings provide a foundation of stability, safety, comfort, and dignity from which success, autonomy, and relationships can grow and flourish. Portland has an incredible network of social service agencies that we partner with in order to connect our furniture bank services to those who need it most. We could not do the work we do without these local partnerships. 

What other small businesses are you inspired by? 

In addition to the 200+ social service agencies we partner with, we are deeply inspired by our connection to the reuse community in Portland. We are energized and sustained by the support, collaboration, and exchange of ideas we share with our reuse partners. (Shout-out to the Community Cycling Center, Rebuilding Center, ReClaim It!, Repair PDX, and SCRAP!)

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start their own business in PDX? 

As the leader of a nonprofit organization meeting a unique need in a city with more nonprofits per capita than any other in the country, my advice is this: partner up. Your big and beautiful idea to support our community could be amplified by the work of existing organizations. Or, you might serve your dream best by joining forces with an already-existing program! There are so many nonprofits taking on incredible and important work in Portland. Make connections and get involved with the organizations that align with your personal mission. We are stronger teamed up! 

What are your plans for the future of your business? Tell us about any exciting announcements you have coming up

We are currently undergoing a strategic planning process to continue improving and expanding our furniture bank services for years to come. The need is great, and we are committed to meet it in the best way possible! 

This summer we have some exciting happenings at our Portland Estate Store at 3969 NE MLK Jr Blvd: 

August 27th — “Summer Square,” a one-day outdoor community festival for the whole family, hosted by the Community Warehouse Estate Store and featuring tunes, food, cool stuff, and good folks. Come celebrate the treasures and talents of our community. Visit the Estate Store Instagram page for details as the event approaches!


Next, we’re talking with Siri, the co-owner of ZAAP Thai, about what makes their food so special, what’s next for their business and the best things on their menu.

Local Business to Know: ZAAP Thai

It’s great to talk with you! First off, tell us where we can find you in PDX. 

We’re on MLK, just north of Fremont – 3513 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.

What do you do and how do you do it? 

When we first opened this restaurant, we had an idea of what we wanted to do: we’re from northeastern Thailand and wanted to bring that here! We have a northeast dish called Bou Yang, which is wild boar marinated in different species and served with a spicy dipping sauce. Plus, northeast cuisine has more sticky rice, so we have a lot of that here. 

ZAAP means spicy, delicious and flavorful in Isaac dialect; if you’re eating something delicious you would say “zaap Illi.’ Our food is really authentic and flavorful – salty, sweet, sour and spicy! In general, we just like to make the food that we love to eat. 

Why do you do what you do? How does Portland help you and/or inspire you to do your work? 

I’ve been in the restaurant industry for over 10 years and my mom has been in the industry for more than 20 years, so I know this world inside and out. I like cooking for other people and I have a passion for that! If people enjoy the food I make, it makes me happy. 

There are a lot of Thai restaurants here, so it’s competitive, but we’re lucky to have this location because there’s so many locals in the neighborhood who support us. We moved here because my dad has some family here and my mom had a friend who lived here.

What are your plans for the future of your business? Tell us about any events you have coming up. 

I’m planning on opening another restaurant in a couple of years, but it will be vegan this time! There are so many vegan people here and I’m excited to look for another location where people can sit outside to enjoy the food! 


Lastly, we hear from Yulissa, the owner of Quesabrosa all about why she loves Portland, tips on how to start your own small biz and the food cart’s summer specials. Let’s hear it, Yulissa! 

Local Business to Know: Quesabrosa

First, tell us where we can find you online/neighborhood.

You can find us off Williams Ave in North East Portland, South of Shaver. 

Tell us about your business! What do you do and how do you do it?

We’ve been here for 14 years and we sell the best tacos in Portland with homemade tortillas and the best Mexican food. We have a very professional Mexican cook who learned all recipes from her grandma. Her grandma taught everything to her.

Why do you do what you do? How does Portland help you and/or inspire you to do your work?

We decided to open a business here because I like the city and the people are really friendly. When I decided to open this business the whole neighborhood showed up to help me. I’m still in the same neighborhood with the same neighbors and they have supported me for all these years. It’s different than in a big city! 

Here, people are supportive and they help each other all the time. During the pandemic I almost closed, but one of our neighbors posted on Facebook and the next day there was a line down the block! 

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start their own business in PDX?

The first thing to think about is the quality of the food; make sure everything is clean and good. Friendly service helps too! Good food and good service are the first things people want to see when they come in.

What are your plans for the future of your business? Tell us about any exciting things you have coming up.

For now we’ll keep the same menu, but we’re adding horchata and Jamaica for summer time, like we do every summer. We have plans to stay here for as long as we can and everything is perfect how it is. We don’t want to be millionaires, we just want to make the money we need to survive.


Have another small business you think we should feature? Send an to email to us at [email protected] and you may just see your favorite locals in a weekly newsletter!