After 51 years serving the great Northwest community, Food Front NW on 2375 NW Thurman Street in Portland, Oregon, closed their doors. The last day of business was Monday April 24th. A letter provided by the co-ops board stated, “In order to assure that all of Food Front’s staff are paid for their work and PTO, the store will close its doors on Monday, April 24th, at 12 noon. Please do fill your baskets one last time before this happens and take the opportunity to thank our loyal staff.”
This news came after the co-op laid off a third of their staff last Thursday April 20th. Even after the co-op paid down their debt of over $1 million, there was still $444,000 left to pay which aided in their decision to close. Food Front NW saw a resurgence during the height of the pandemic, when restaurants remained closed and customers headed to grocery stores to purchase ingredients for home cooked meals. This change in retailer shopping assisted the co-op’s ability to pay down most of their debt, however the remaining $340k debt left plus the added pressure of inflation and supply issues, limited their available cash to maintain business.
Food Front NW opened in 1972, coming from a need for a neighborhood retailer who provided natural, organic and healthy grocery options other retailers were not carrying. In 2008, the co-op opened their second location in the Southwest neighborhood of Portland Oregon. This location closed in 2019 due to debt challenges.
Some may still want to hold out hope, in a statement from the co-op’s board, they detailed that the co-op could “Reopen the store with new financing. Restructure the business so that it may open with: Updated bylaws, considerations such as creating a completely worker-owned and run operation utilizing member volunteers, sell the property with an option to lease the building back in order to reopen the store in the same location or sell the property outright and divide the remaining earnings among the membership.” Food Front has been a staple, not only the NW Neighborhood of Portland, but throughout Portland’s natural foods retailer landscape. Servicing many of natural brands, broker relationships and providing a safe, trustworthy, healthy shopping experience. The co-op will be missed.