After roller-coaster year, Portland Design Works looks ahead to 2017

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
The Portland Design Works team: (L to R) Jocelyn Gaudi, marketing manager; Matt Cittadini, sales manager; Hazel Gross, office manager; Chris Smitherman, warehouse and customer service coordinator; Erik Olson, founder.(Photos: J. Maus & PDW)
The Portland Design Works team: (L to R) Jocelyn Gaudi, marketing manager; Matt Cittadini, sales manager; Hazel Gross, office manager; Chris Smitherman, warehouse and customer service coordinator; Erik Olson, founder.
(Photos: J. Maus & PDW)

Just over eight years since he founded Portland Design Works, 37-year-old Erik Olson is about close out one of the toughest ones yet. In the past six months he’s endured the departure of his co-founder and business partner, lagging sales thanks to a global downturn in the bike industry, pesky counterfeiters, and an unexpected cross-town move. Despite these hurdles, Olson is sanguine about the future.

“We’re moving in the right direction as a company,” he shared from the floor of his warehouse on Southeast 21st Avenue during a visit yesterday. They’re located just a stones-throw from the new Lafayette Street Bridge (which he and other employees use with their bikes every day) and the Orange MAX line.

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