Is it a department store? Maybe. Its participants instead call it a 'business collective'

RITA A. LEONARD - Ayomide Nikzi helped conceive the whole collective, and also is co-owner of The Chocolate Laboratory in it, upstairs. On April 21, "Milieu", an artist and retail collective all in one building, opened at 8012 S.E. 13th Avenue, just north of Tacoma Street – the former home of the recently-closed Portland Homestead Supply Company.

The collective is features five different businesses: The Chocolate Laboratory, Amara Home Accessories, Modern Madini handcrafted metal jewelry, "Purpose" handmade leather goods, and Vine & Dandy – "gifts inspired by nature".

During the Grand Opening, Ayo Nikzi presided over a case full of handmade chocolates and truffles. "We also make custom chocolate confections and drinking chocolate, and offer Kombucha refills," she pointed out. Angela Morrow, owner of "Purpose", which offers handmade leather items, has her studio workshop upstairs. "Here you can learn to make a minimalist wallet design, keychain, or leather dog leash at one of my workshops," she says. "I also teach after-school art classes at Llewellyn Elementary, and I'm offering summer workshops for kids."

RITA A. LEONARD - Stacy Vickery is the artist behind Modern Madini handcrafted jewelry in the new Sellwood business collective. Stacy Vickery is owner of Modern Madini upstairs, a handcrafted metal jewelry shop. "I was born and raised in Oregon, and use a lot of Oregon imagery and rocks in my work," she revealed. "I work in silver, brass, gold, and bronze, and do a lot of 'fashion forward' jewelry, such as disc earrings in brass. I'm also open to custom work such as wedding bands and necklaces."

Dani Draper, owner of Vine and Dandy, shares the main floor space with Amara. "I sell many succulents and easy-care plants in a variety of containers," she explained. "My specialty is re-purposing containers into planters. I take pride in rescuing things from thrift shops and literally 'putting new life back into them'."

The collective – like a small department store – is the brainchild of Kian and Ayomide Nikzi, owners of The Chocolate Laboratory upstairs. They also supervise the second floor Milieu Mini-Gallery, an art gallery that features work by local artists. The Mini-Gallery also offers weekly workshops hosted by the collective's businesses.

During the Grand Opening sale, an appearance by Townshend Distillery offered tastings of their distilled teas. The main floor, occupied by Amara, and Vine & Dandy, displayed a variety of decorative planters, handwoven baskets, jewelry, and gifts.

The hours for all businesses in the building are: Mondays, 10-6 p.m.; closed on Tuesdays; Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10-6 p.m.; and Sundays, noon until 5 p.m.

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