Entering Winks is like stepping back in time. The modest-sized hardware store is full of the usual hammers, hoses and heating coils. But wander back into the farther reaches of the store, and you’ll find shovels and scythes of every shape and size. In the age of high tech, Winks’ down-home atmosphere and friendly staff make customers feel well taken care of.
A family-owned business, Winks has been in the Central Eastside district since 2001. Following their customer base (which migrated from the Pearl District in the late 1990s and early 2000s as Northwest Portland became more residential), Winks relocated to better serve their customers and the other industrial users in the district.
In addition to offering invaluable service and products to businesses within the district, Winks’ Central Eastside location allows contractors and other firms located throughout the city easy access to the store.
Close to the I-5 interchanges, I-84 and McLoughlin Blvd, Winks is a destination as well as a stop en route to work sites for customers from throughout the region.
But Winks owners are concerned about the trend of larger distributors and manufacturers — customers critical to their business — moving out of the district.
To ensure their long-term success, they want to see the industrial nature of the district preserved and suggest investments in infrastructure that will support existing businesses so they can stay in the district. They say the area is the last place for companies like theirs to do business in the city and if industrial users are priced out, they’ll have no choice but to move to a new location outside of the city.
This is the sixth installment of a blog series aimed at exploring the past, present, and future of the Central Eastside. To learn more about the businesses of the Central Eastside and the planning efforts for the district, read the Central Eastside Reader and visit the SE Quadrant Plan calendar to learn about future events.