Joe Brown’s Carmel Corn opens second location on MLK

One of the first tenants of the Lloyd Center in Portland is expanding with a new location in the former Shear Perfection Barber & Beauty Salon in Geneva.

PORTLAND, Ore. – If you’ve ever been inside the Lloyd Center mall, you immediately know the smell: rich, sweet caramel corn.

Joe Brown’s has been making it since 1932. They were one of Lloyd Center’s first tenants. They are now opening a second location in a historic neighborhood northeast of Boulevard Martin Luther King Junior, where Geneva’s Shear Perfection hair and beauty salon has stood for thirty years.

Paul Knauls Junior says the barbershop was a cornerstone of Portland’s black community. His father, Paul Knauls Senior, and his mother-in-law, Geneva, started the business.

“Barbershops and beauty salons are places we go as a community and shamelessly are ourselves,” Knauls Junior said.

Two years ago, amid concerns over COVID-19, he made the decision to close the salon.

“It was just the time, there comes a time when you have to move on,” Knauls Jr said.

He had three specific elements in his criteria when it came to finding the right tenant to take over the space, including community, opportunity and someone connected to the area.

That’s why he grabbed the opportunity from David Ferguson. Ferguson owns Joe Brown’s Carmel Corn at the Lloyd Center.

It is the last original store from the official opening of the mall in 1960.

“There’s no way you can come to the Lloyd Center without smelling the aroma of caramel corn.”

Now Ferguson is bringing a piece of that history to Northeast MLK Jr. Boulevard.

“Getting the pat on the shoulder from the Knauls and being able to modify this building to suit my concepts has been great,” Ferguson said.

A concept that includes a lounge and of course their signature sweet and crunchy treat.

“I get my popcorn at the mall and now it will be right in the neighborhood, so I’m thrilled for that,” said Erica Fahnbulleh, who lives in the neighborhood.

For Fahnbulleh, connecting the salon’s past history with the present feels like “shear perfection” in and of itself.

“I’m a hairdresser, I used to work here a long time ago, my husband got his hair cut here, and it’s just been a really good facility for the community for many years,” Fahnbulleh said.

From one community meeting to another, it is history that is honored in the King district and the future here explodes.

“Everything a community means, the mentorship happened in this building, yeah that’s what this place means and that’s what it’s going to continue to be,” Knauls Jr said.

Joe Brown’s Carmel Corn on MLK is set to open January 1. Popcorn lovers, rest assured, the Lloyd Center is staying put.

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