You probably know this guy. If you don’t, you should. This is my friend Chad Brown — one of the most remarkable human beings I’ve ever met. Chad is the founder of Soul River Runs Deep, a great TU Business member in Portland, Ore.
He’s a decorated US Navy veteran who received multiple honors after serving in Desert Storm Gulf War and Operation Restore Hope, Somalia. Chad is an accomplished documentary style portrait photographer, creative director, adventurer and conservationist whose struggles with PTSD led him to leave his former life and career behind to make a new start.
Soul River’s retail shop is nestled in the heart of North Portland’s Kenton neighborhood. The shop is committed to offering customers signature products and unmatched service. Chad infuses his love of the river into an eclectic collection of artistically fashioned products, many of the products conceptualized and designed by Chad himself. There is something for everyone, from the angler to the fashionista.
Community is a departure point to so many beautiful and important things at Soul River. It’s about our relationships to each other and with our community. Community has always been and will always be the heartbeat of this business. For every product sold at Soul River, 15 percent is given back to their nonprofit Soul River Inc. SRI has a mission: serving inner-city youth and veterans by connecting them to the outdoors, using fly fishing as a base to build relationships through mentorship and creating ambassadors of the outdoors.
At Soul River, something special happens at the convergence of outdoor lifestyle and design. They are always looking for the perfect union between form and function, a wide range of aesthetic influences, a vast array of ideas and concepts, even ones that might be contrary to one another. There is beauty in this paradox and it is often the space where unexpected but powerful connections are made.
Those powerful connections are part and parcel of Chad’s latest initiative, “Love Is King”. After some painful experiences with racial discrimination in the field and hearing of similar experiences from other people of color, Chad wasn’t content to sit on the sidelines. He conceived the idea for a community to support equal, equitable access to wild places. This initiative will serve to create a community of guardians to support people of color in outdoor adventures. You’ll be hearing more about this.
Above all, Chad and the team at Soul River aim to create a place that inspires the building of healthy communities and connections between people and connections between ideas and people. When everything else falls away, what we have is each other and the artifacts of our experiences. Soul River is about celebrating each other, our time here, and the things that breathe meaning, comfort and joy into our lives.
Watch our conversation here:
Soul River Runs Deep
Portland, OR 97217