On most mornings, there’s plenty of activity at Portland’s McQuixote Coffee Shop, where co-owner Mickey Ball serves up coffee to an eclectic mix of customers.
On one recent morning, Danny Seim, Ball’s partner in the soon-to-open Rocinante Record Shop, is painting an elaborate design on a wall in the space. A 40×40-inch painting of Prince by local artist Richard Sullivan dominates the room. Several crates of vinyl records, ranging from a Jane Fonda workout album to music from The Police, Queen, Nat King Cole and Roberta Flack, occupy the center of the room.
The record shop will be situated just behind the coffee shop at 1512 Portland Ave., a massive building that has undergone a lot of change in the last decade. It’s now known as Portland Point, the name christened this spring after the Tim Faulkner Gallery moved away, leaving what many assumed would be a void in activity here. Blue said that has not been the case.
“It hasn’t affected us,” says Ball, an Illinois native who opened the coffee shop with Trevor DeCuir in 2014. “We have a steady base of customers now, but it would have been a concern a few years ago.”
That’s because the Faulkner Gallery, which took up 26,000 square feet in the building, hosted numerous events and brought in plenty of traffic. It also included several artist studios, but those artists have also left.
Despite all of that, the building is filling in nicely with new tenants. An event company, Portland Point Events, is managing the former gallery’s massive event space. Ball’s partnership with Seim, who has his own studio at the nearby Dolfinger Building, fills what Seim said is a missing part of the neighborhood’s culture.
“All my friends and I were in rock bands in Portland (Oregon), where you could throw a rock from anywhere and hit a record store,” says Seim. “I found this Portland Anchor (newspaper) from the ’70s announcing the opening or a Portland record shop, but that obviously is not still around.”
(For those who might not know what Rocinante stands for, the store’s name ties in with Kentucky, because it’s named for a horse, as well as with the coffee shop’s Don Quixote theme: Rocinante was the name of Don Quixote’s horse in the 17th century novel.)
Another new tenant in the space is Louisville Literary Arts, a nonprofit group that sponsors a series of programs every year, culminating in its annual Writer’s Block Festival. That event brings together published and emerging writers, readers, professors, and book industry professionals.
Self Esteem Inc., which will offer what it calls “esteem training for adult women and youth,” has taken another of the vacant spaces for an office.