Woke Portland grocery store to close after 50 years in business due to economic issues

Reserves have been on a steady decline averaging $12,000 a week.

Food Front Cooperative Grocery in Northwest Portland closed its doors permanently on April 24 at 12 pm after 51 years, announcing in a letter posted to its website that the co-op's general manager had stepped down as well as the store's board.

The woke co-op’s General Manager Michael Balanoff had previously tendered his resignation with the co-op and the grocer’s board of directors said they do not have a path forward without a general manager. 

The board will also step down as soon as a newly elected board is in place. 

According to KOIN, the board said its members have several options to consider regarding the future of the co-op. 

Members could reopen the store with new financing and structure the business with updated bylaws or open a store that’s completely worker-owned and operated while using member volunteers. 

Members could also sell the property with an option to lease the building back in order to reopen the store or members could sell the property outright and split the remaining earnings among themselves. 

The outlet obtained minutes from the Food Front Board of Directors March 21, 2023 meeting which stated the co-op was $444,000 in debt, even after the co-op paid down its debt from over $1 million. 

Reserves have been on a steady decline averaging $12,000 a week, according to Chair Rafael Ortega. 

According to the Oregonian, Ortega blamed "economic headwinds and COVID-19" for the store's financial state.

Many retailers are struggling to survive due to the rampant crime in the city. What is to be Portland’s first Shake Shack was hit by vandals before it even opened.

Others have chosen to shut down or abandon the city completely. Earlier this month, REI announced it was closing its only Portland location after almost two decades in the Rose City  because the store “had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security.”

In March, woke pizza chain Hotlips announced the closure of three of its five Portland stores and Cracker Barrel also announced it was closing its only remaining locations in the city.

This followed an announcement from Walmart that it was closing its Portland area locations due to a lack of profits. Many have speculated that the decisions were also based on rampant shoplifting.

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