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Retail space made of shipping containers in Portland

Five shipping containers have been transformed into a new retail space in Portland.

PORTLAND (WGME) -- There's a new retail space in Portland made up of shipping containers.

The unique storefront on Washington Avenue is exactly what Kristen Camp had in mind for her hand-crafted ceramics company Campfire Studio.

"They're a perfect space for small businesses to start out and something we've been tossing around," says Camp. "When we saw it coming to Washington we were pretty excited."

Friend and fellow business owner Tanja Cesh jumped on board too. She's the founder and designer of Mulxiply, which creates jewelry, bags and other gifting items.

"It's a social enterprise, I'm the designer and I partner with six different artisan teams in Nepal," Cesh says, "It's a dignified way for them to make a living doing their craft."

Camp and Cesh share a 300-square-foot space.

"It's a good way for people to be able to come in and do one-stop shopping, 'cause our products aren't the same, but it's a similar aesthetic," says Cesh.

This is one of five shipping containers getting a new use.

"They start as raw metal shipping containers right off the cargo ships, then they're fully outfitted," says Jake Edwards, managing director at Dayton Group. "The interior is as nice as any finished office or retail space that we do elsewhere."

"You wouldn't imagine that this is actually a container once you're inside," adds Camp.

The containers are move-in ready with short-term leases, which Camp says is ideal.

"It's kind of like a low-risk opportunity," she says, "They've really set it up well for small businesses to give this a shot."

The entrepreneurs hope it will help them expand their clientele.

"We're predominantly a wholesale model and have been wanting to have a bigger impact in the retail world," Cesh says about Mulxiply.

"We've been really lucky to have our space in Westbrook," says Camp about Campfire Studio, "But this is going to be really nice for foot traffic.

A first-of-it's-kind retail space, bringing another feature to a growing area.

"We love Portland because of the community and, so I feel like within these five boxes, we have this great community already," Cesh says.

The other businesses in the retail space include The Cheese Shop of Portland, North Optical, linen company Evangeline, and a coffee bar called All Those Who Wander. Several of them are currently open for business.

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