5700 SE Foster Road, 771-3337, pdxtaxidermy.com.
You can’t walk into a bar, boutique or rock star’s living room these days without finding yourself face-to-snout with a stuffed antelope. The thrift-store mounts are all spoken for by now, I’m afraid, so if you want to add a little hunting-lodge flair to your own abode, it will cost you—unless you head to this Foster Road shop, where the marquee has read “antler lite sale” for the past two years. You won’t find any exotic heads for sale at the shop (unless you provide them yourself), but the antler chandelier will only set you back $189.
Buy this: Mourning backyard poultry farmers can get dear, departed Henrietta mounted for $285.
The Bad Apple
6340 SE Foster Road, 971-212-2164.
A tiny emporium of esoteric media, this storefront is crammed with odd new and used books (How to Get off Drugs by the editors of Rolling Stone), cult DVDs (Robot Jox and Ultraman among them) works by neighborhood artists like underground film director Bob Moricz (Revenge of the Red Death, $12), and the publications of indie publisher Sparkplug Comics, which operates out of the back room. Sparkplug’s founder, Dylan Williams, died in September, but his widow, Emily Nilsson, is keeping the press going. Check out the new releases here, including one from comics legend Steve Ditko.
Buy this: Punk rock concert photos by Vincent Ramirez, including one from a Black Flag show at the Starry Night, $40-$75; Austin English’s The Disgusting Room, $6.
The Decorette Shop
5338 SE Foster Road, 774-3760, thedecoretteshop.com.
How’s this for manipulative marketing: This baking-supply store, crammed with two floors of niche cake-making tools, always smells as if someone had just pulled a cake out of the oven. Upon entering, you will be seized with a compulsion to stock up on the house-brand aluminum baking pans and buckets of fondant. Christmas shoppers will be drawn to the bewildering variety of cookie cutters, sprinkles and gingerbread molds, but don’t pass over the ironic potential of the shop’s large collection of wedding cake toppers.
Buy this: “Humorous” cake toppers depicting reluctant grooms, domestic violence, etc., $10-$20.
Mike’s Gold Anvil Antiques and Grizzly Bear Antiques
5901 SE Foster Road, 771-1066, and 5857 SE Foster Road.
This pair of side-by-side shops are junk sellers of the classic type, cluttered to the rafters with dusty whatsits of every sort, with little evidence of organization. Whatever your obsession—novelty phones shaped like the Hulk, ancient postcards, autographed photos of Quarterflash, antique clock radios—you’ll find it represented here at either store. They do specialize some. There are giant Pez dispensers at Grizzly Bear, while pride of place at Mike’s is given to an impressive island of brass sculptures, lamps, candelabras and bookends that gleam in the shop’s dim light.
Buy this: Massive, ecclesial brass candlestick, $39.50 at Mike’s.
Red Castle Games
6216 SE Foster Road, 774-4263, redcastlegames.com.
The best reason we’ve seen to hold out hope for Foster Road retail is this sizable and proudly geeky game shop, which after less than two years in business is expanding into an even larger space—fittingly, a former poker parlor—next door. Beyond the requisite Magic packs and Warhammer miniatures, Red Castle stocks loads of board and card games, including a dozen variations of The Settlers of Catan, and a large library of role-playing games. If you’re looking for entertainment, the shop has a very large gaming area in the back, complete with snacks. Many nights, the place is busier than most bars in the area.
6315 SE Holgate Blvd., 454-6315, therubybox.com.
Should you happen to be in the neighborhood during this capricious little shop’s brief business hours (3 to 7 pm Monday-Friday, if you’re lucky), you will be rewarded. I have never been so lucky—every time I drop by the doors are locked—but Ruby Box’s online store promises treasures: Ceramic bottles shaped like molars, handmade latex puppets, chunky turquoise earrings, a ring shaped like a fox head, fabric moth brooches, wooden puzzles and bottle-opener key rings made from recycled skateboards. Now you just have to get in....
Buy this: Cicada-shaped pillow, $66.