PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Green Zebra Grocery is set to close its doors later this month after a decade in business.
In a release on Wednesday, the grocery store confirmed its three stores, all located across Portland, will close on March 31.
The company cited increasing costs, supply chain issues and pandemic-related factors, saying it was barely surviving during and after the pandemic.
“We have been holding on by a thread since the pandemic started and have been in austerity mode since then,” said Lisa Sedlar, Green Zebra Founder and CEO. “We experienced 9 straight quarters of increases to our cost of goods, packaging, fuel, insurance, taxes, freight charges and well, pretty much everything. Combine that with supply chain and staffing shortages and razor thin grocery margins, we just couldn’t overcome all the obstacles.”
Sedlar added that she is “beyond disappointed that we were unable to overcome the challenges presented by the global pandemic and current economic conditions.”
In the summer of 2020, Green Zebra Grocery partnered with local restaurants and chefs to help promote and sell their small plates and food products in stores. The collaboration was part of the grocer’s effort to help local businesses struggling during the pandemic.
Just five years after Sedlar founded the healthy convenience store in 2013, she made the Inc.’s Female Founders 100 List. She and two other Portland area founders were recognized for their efforts to secure business funding despite challenges.
The hardships Green Zebra Grocery faced in recent years are not unique. This is the second grocery retailer to recently announce it was pulling business from the North Portland area.
Earlier this month, Walmart announced it was closing its last two Portland stores located at Hayden Meadows and East Port Plaza. A spokesperson said the decision to close came down to several factors, including profitability concerns.
“People need lower cost options. I mean, we want the whole spectrum. We don’t just want low-cost groceries, but people need an option where they can go and shop efficiently,” said Ann McMullen with the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association. “And I think with Walmart disappearing, without a replacement, you know, something coming in there, I think it’s a loss for the community.”
From pandemic struggles to crime the past few years, both small, local businesses and chain stores have been leaving Portland en masse, whether it be relocating out of the city or permanently shuttering.