Pamela and Willie Levenson’s locally-owned and operated swimwear emporium, Popina’s, began celebrating ten years of business this spring and will have anniversary events and specials throughout the year, including the introduction of ten new one-piece suits.
The first Popina’s opened at 4831 N.E 42nd Ave. in the Concordia neighborhood in March of 2006, across the street from the Spare Room and next to Wilshire Dental, where the Cat Six bicycle shop is now located.
The space was only 250 sq. ft. with a bathroom, a dressing room and a back storage area. In 2010 they opened an additional shop in the Pearl District and in 2013 they renovated and moved into a much larger 3000 sq. ft. space in Hollywood at 2030 N.E. 42nd Ave. The business has continued to grow, and now has 60 wholesale accounts in 15 states.
“When we first opened on 42nd Avenue, we didn’t have a customer for 45 days,” said Pamela Levenson. “The Hollywood Star was our very first press and it really helped to get us on the map. Our current Hollywood store is the largest women’s swimwear store on the west coast – to our knowledge – and our 3000 sq. ft. space includes a bar, kids area and a window into the production studio.”
“We like to believe that your vacation begins at Popina,” said Levenson. “So we created an already-on-vacation atmosphere, with an easy, friendly environment, complimentary beer and loads of great swimsuit choices.”
Pamela Levenson, who grew up in Victoria, BC, started her career working for Guess Jeans in Los Angeles and worked two years in Paris. She interned for a swimwear shop in college and learned to cut custom suits for production.
“Swimsuit shopping can be really difficult for all women,” said Levenson. “I don’t think I’ve ever helped a customer who was thrilled to be swim suit shopping. But, with hundreds of choices, a friendly staff, no fluorescent lighting – or three way mirrors – and complimentary Kona beer, we aim to take it from dreaded to enjoyable. We’ve had women come from as far away as Australia and say that it’s the best swim suit shopping they’ve ever done.”
The Levensons live in Northeast Portland within a mile of the Hollywood store and have lived in the neighborhood for 20 years.
For more information about Popina’s, visit popinaswim.com or call the Hollywood store at 503-282-5159.