Bikes inspire re-birth of historic Portland business

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
The Beebe Company-10

Silas Beebe in his northwest Portland workshop.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Starting a new small business is always a bit stressful; but 40-year-old Silas Beebe has the added pressure of carrying on a family name that spans three centuries in Portland business circles. And he’s doing it with a line of bicycling accessories.

The Beebe Company first set up shop in Portland and Astoria in 1884 as a supplier to the shipping and fishing industries. Over the next 100 years, the family business evolved with the times. As the 20th century dawned, The Beebe Company became added hardware and boat-building to its operations in downtown Portland. From the 1950s to 1970s, the Beebe name adorned a marina on the west side of the Sellwood Bridge. In the 1980s, Robert Beebe — Silas’ grandfather — opened a shop downtown that sold and repaired knives, keys, locks, and so on. Silas worked in that shop as a kid; but after his grandpa retired in the 1990s, the family name went dormant.

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