Local Business Spotlight: Paloma Clothing
This month we are speaking with Mike Roach, Co-Owner of Paloma Clothing. Mike started Paloma Clothing in Southwest Portland 45 years ago and continues to serve our community in many ways today.
Phil: Thank you for taking the time to visit with us. You co-own Paloma Clothing with your wife, renown painter Kim Osgood, but you started it 45 years ago with your mother?
Mike: Yes, we opened the store selling arts and crafts from Mexico. In the 1980s we found that clothing and jewelry were our biggest selling items and decided to focus on just those things. We specialize in stylish women's wear for travel, work, and play.
Phil: Your wife, Kim, is a well-known painter in the Northwest as well?
Mike: Kim's work is at the Russo Lee Gallery in Portland and the Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle. She is in charge of buying the clothes for Paloma Clothing so her artistic eye really aids in our style and colors throughout the year.
Phil: How has business been for Paloma Clothing, and is there anything you want the community to know?
Mike: Back in March we had to close the doors for two and a half months, which made the recession of 2008 look like a cake-walk in comparison. Our business has lasted for 45 years because our customer service and in-person shopping experience is the most important thing to us. Not having the ability to serve our customers in person was tough. However, within 10 days we were able to create an online shopping experience for our customers at ShopPalomaClothing.com. That was important in allowing us to stay connected with our community. We are now back open five days a week, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm. We will be open Sundays as well for the holidays in November and December. If ever there was a time to shop with locally-owned-businesses, now would be that time. The decision to do so will determine whether they stay in business or go out of business.
Phil: You and Kim are well-known in the business community for how well you treat your employees. How did they survive those months while you were closed down?
Mike: It was not easy for any of us. We offer our employees health care, usually at 85% of the cost, but the 15% we ask them to provide comes from their paychecks. Without being able to work, we decided to provide them with 100% health and dental benefits and pay them the maximum amount we could while they were on unemployment.
Phil: I see taking care of your customers and employees is important to you, what else do you focus on that sets your business apart?
Mike: Our community and helping promote change. For example, when Ruth Bader-Ginsburg passed away we had a promotion and donated 10% of all sales to Walk the Walk, which partners with organizations led by and rooted in African American and/or Latino communities to overturn decades of systemic voter suppression.
Paloma Clothing is at 6316 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland. More info at PalomaClothing.com and ShopPalomaClothing.com