The bakery and chocolatier announced its impending closure on Thursday afternoon, but doesn’t have an official last day of service planned yet. Business owners said they will continue working “while supplies last.”
The original minds behind the bakery, Jack and Iva Elmer, first opened their shop back in 1986. In recent years, Jack and Iva’s daughter Laura Boscole took over as a manager of the business.
When asked about the decision to shut down, she explained that the bakery was “no different than any other small business.”
“It’s a struggle in this economic environment,” Boscole said. “There’s a lot of changes that Portland has gone through and it’s been very difficult for small businesses. Crime and vandalism play a part in that and this wasn’t a decision that came lightly and it’s heartbreaking.”
According to Laura Miles, who became a manager after several years of working at JacIva’s as a teenager, COVID-19 also had a huge impact on the business.
The bakery successfully recovered after a four-month pandemic shutdown, but Miles said some of the pandemic’s effects on the wedding industry were irreversible.
“Since COVID and the way that people have celebrated and the way that people have had parties has changed, the size of the average wedding cake has gone down,” Miles said. “The cost of product has skyrocketed.”
Earlier this year, CNBC also reported that the post-pandemic wedding boom had finally started to slow, but the price tag for the big event continued to rise.
Miles and Boscoles said customers who had already ordered wedding cakes for future events were contacted before the closing announcement.
On the other end of the spectrum, the two managers want couples who have previously bought JacIva’s wedding cakes to share photos and well wishes on social media as a parting gift to the bakery.
They say that Iva, who is 85 years old, isn’t on social media — but they still want her to see the outpouring of support.
“She’s still alive and has a lot of pride in the company,” Boscoles said of her mother. “It was really special for her, on Halloween, to hand out chocolates. And she’ll be doing that one more time and that’s something I think she’s really gonna miss.”