Focus group shop attracts all ages


Archie Barnes

Hawthorne’s Focus Group Shop has a bright checkerboard pattern that makes it quickly recognizable to passing pedestrians.

Walking down East Hawthorne, it is hard to miss the outstanding black-and-white checkered store front bursting with ambient house music. With a growing social media presence and a rising reputation within all ages, Focus Group Shop is currently the hottest vintage store to go to in Portland. 

About 13 years ago, Benjamin Seale started selling vintage clothing and collectibles on eBay to make some extra money alongside his daily job. 

Two years ago, his wife opened a store by the name of Mister Sister, dedicated to selling women’s and kid’s vintage clothing. 

As Ben’s ebay business grew, he opened up the back of the store as a counterpart to Mister Sister to sell more 90s, trendy and vintage clothing. This section of the store became known as Xshop. Over time, more customers started coming in, and more people started gravitating towards Xshop instead of the original storefront of Mister Sister. 

It was eventually decided that it would be more beneficial to expand the original Xshop into the current Focus Group Shop. They moved locations about four months ago, to be closer to many vintage  stores. 

For people aspiring to follow in Ben’s profession, he would recommend finding what you love, and figuring out how to make money while doing it. 

“It’s important to simply keep working until you are successful. Nothing happens overnight… The hardest thing about my career is managing myself. That’s the one thing I wish I had learned more in high school.” 

Focus Group Shop sells everything from bags and shoes to hats and jumpsuits, and caters for absolutely everyone’s style. If you’re looking for swim shorts in the winter or a puffer jacket in the summer, Focus Group has it. It’s a perfectly cool, yet versatile store that’ll always have you coming back, even if it’s just to have a simple conversation. 

You can find Focus Group on Instagram at @focusgroupshop where pieces of clothing and other events are advertised.  


Print Friendly, PDF & Email