Having been open for a month, Keen Footwear’s Keen Garage in Portland, OR has seen nothing but glowing reviews from business leaders, architects, designers, environmentalists, and customers. Featuring everything from reclaimed barn doors to repurposed oil barrels upcycled into [comfy!] chairs, the retail environment is the penultimate museum of inspiration for repurposing…with purpose.

The Keen Garage

Keen purchased the entire 105-year old building that contains the retail store in February of 2012 and famously generated less than one dumpster of waste in the remodel of the 50,000 square-foot space. Having been a Portland-based business for ten years, the company remained loyal to it’s home city and moved their world headquarters into the top four floors of the historic building, which towers over the hip and busy Glisan Street in NW Portland’s industrial Pearl District. The opening of the Keen Garage was the last phase of the company’s move, and the ‘Garage’ title is derived from the consideration that the retail space is an extension of the brand’s ‘home’.





Containing everything from old Portland street signs above the cash register, to interactive turning shoe displays, the entire space is a wonderland for one’s curiosity…just about everything came from a previous home–knicks, bruises, scars and all. Employees company-wide were encouraged to contribute by scavenging for interesting objects in what is also a seemingly great brand exercise:

“Designing this store with these materials has been like putting together a living, breathing KEEN jigsaw puzzle.”

-Christa DePoe, VP of global online & retail









“The KEEN Garage is a place for current and future KEEN fans to gather and experience the KEEN brand in its entirety…Fans are exposed to the entire KEEN product line in this space, and are encouraged to share their KEEN stories with our store staff. Our philosophy is that more we engage directly with our fans, the better we can be.”

-Christa DePoe, VP of global online & retail

Some Repurposed Finds:

    -Repurposed metal gravity chute for sliding shoes from stock room to cash register
    -Dividing wall is a sliding wooden door from a dilapidated barn in Corvallis, OR
    -A table made from an old bowling alley (with shoes arranged as pins at the end)
    -Displays are made from recovered scaffolding
    -Reclaimed high school bleachers from Coquille, OR








The Keen Garage is located at 505 N.W. 13th Ave in Portland, Oregon


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.