This profile comes courtesy of guest contributor, Emily Dart-McLean. She recently caught up with Jason and Alia Hoffman, owners of Darling Press, to get the lowdown on the tag-team duo who runs their business at Foster Row.
By now, if you are in the hood you have heard word of Foster Row, a creative space for makers, centrally located between the Decorette Shop and Thai Cam Video. Foster Row has brought new energy to the strip of Foster that…well… host a lot of the “strips” on Foster. I had the chance to sit down with Jason and Alia Hoffman, the owners of Darling Press to learn more about them and their business. Darling Press holds down shop at the east-side corner of the building, where they can be spotted slinging printed goods, curating and maintaining the storefront (where they sell a variety of local artist goodies) and occasionally working alongside their sweet children and little dog, Couscous. Good designers, great aesthetic, extremely kind and friendly. Check them out…
Who are you and what do you do?
Often referring to ourselves as “modern day hippies,” we’re a couple of artists who are building our own business as best we can while raising two wonderful (small) human beings and improving the community around us. Our little storefront on Foster Road offers a little retail area where we offer a curated selection of local makers, and it’s also where we letterpress wedding invitations, business cards, and our own line of paper goods.
What brought your business to Foster?
Our reliable friend, Craigslist.org.
Before we moved our print shop to the Foster neighborhood we were working out of our home, three miles south of FoPo in the historic Darlington-Brentwood neighborhood. Once we outgrew our garage and searched around the internet for possible studio spaces, Foster Row seemed like a dream come true because it’s so close to our house, our kids’ schools, the grocery store — basically our whole life. Unless we’re camping in the woods, it’s a pretty good bet that we’re somewhere in “outer” SE Portland
What does your business bring to Foster?
Foster isn’t exactly known for it’s artistic culture (yet!), and we consider ourselves to be on the frontier, if you will, of the FoPo arts scene. Letterpress workshops, First Friday events, and open figure drawing nights are the first of our dreams becoming reality. We are hoping to join forces with other makers and host a variety of workshops in our studio space — ideally book binding, paper making, calligraphy, and other paper-related crafts. We are also planning exciting community events with our Foster Row neighbor Wolf + Rabbit Emporium, who offers a host of additional classes, workshops, and events. Both spaces offer a fine selection of gifts and goods, too.
You have a centrally located storefront, have you seen any changes on Foster over the past year?
We love watching new food carts arrive at Carts on Foster. It’s awesome that Tacos Chavez took over the old Thai Street Food that had been empty for so long. It was poignant to see the Drive-In building demolished, and I think the neighborhood lost a little of its connection with the past. By the same token, we’re excited to see what will take its place.
What is your favorite thing about the Foster neighborhood (where do you go)?
It may be pretty obvious, but our most frequented spot on Foster is I’ve Been Framed, where we pick up art supplies and paper often — usually after we’ve dropped off a few packages at the Post Office. Sometimes we’ll meander just a little further to check out the selection in the record store (Variety Shop). Although we’ve tried just about every cart at Carts on Foster, Roadrunner’s smoked pork brisket is a near-constant craving. On the late nights, when we have spent too much time at the presses and have left zero time for preparing meals, Foster Burger is our saving grace.
If Foster had a theme song, what would it be?
We’d say that right now, the west end of Foster is definitely Herb Albert’s “Love Potion #9,” but it has the potential for Quincy Jones’s “Comin’ Home Baby.”
Thanks to Emily for hooking up with Darling Press’s Jason and Alia Hoffman. Don’t forget that Foster has a lot of options for you to shop locally, and Darling Press can help you keep your money in the neighborhood if and when you’re in the market for custom-made letters, cards, invitations, etc. Keep it local, y’all.