Portland's "Food Front" Co-op closing one location

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SamSpade
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Portland's "Food Front" Co-op closing one location

Post by SamSpade » December 5th, 2019, 5:42 pm

This co-op has been suffering a lot over the past 5 years or so (several articles available in the NW Examiner newspaper if you're curious) and apparently couldn't come to new terms with the Hillsdale neighborhood landlord.

Last I'd read, the Hillsdale store had swapped positions with the one in northwest Portland for being more profitable. Perhaps that was not the case.

The landlord has a commitment from a food retailer to reopen in the space, apparently. This is the second loss of an upscale/organic grocer in the hilly soutwest Portland area, as Market of Choice decided to close their Terwilliger Blvd. location a few miles away earlier this year.

This store was previously a Wild Oats Natural Market and before that a Natures Northwest. The space was deemed too small by Whole Foods to continue operating after their merger. The landlord then courted Food Front into the space.

https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2019/12 ... -year.html
Today, both stores are struggling financially.

Lynch says the short-term fix is easy to identify but hard to achieve. "This is a tough situation for everyone, for sure," he said. "At Hillsdale we've got weekly sales of between $90,000 and $95,000. At a minimum we have to do at least $100,000 a week. That's a 2.5% increase. At the Northwest store we have to do $100,000 to $106,000. We can't go below that."

As a cooperative, the Food Front stores are "owned" by anyone willing to invest $150 for a lifetime share. There are two kinds of shoppers at Hillsdale: owners and non-owners.
Opinion section:
I always found food front expensive, even when I first moved to the neighborhood several years ago. New Seasons opened a few blocks away from their original co-op store in "Slabtown" in 2015. This did impact their business. I am also guessing that UNFI growing larger hasn't brought any prices down for them and more of the items that made the store unique are available in more and more area stores by the day.

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