When you think about a mall, its success is often measured in the number of stores open and operating. If the mall is doing poorly, they close — and the more closed storefronts, the worse the perception of the “health” and prosperity of the mall.
The mall can function as something of an analogy for thinking about downtown Portland, even if the latter is at a much larger scale. The more businesses that thrive downtown, the better for the whole. The more that suffer, the worse.
That conjures up the latest downtown business bombshell that broke this week. Outdoor retailer REI wrote in an email to customers that its longtime store in the Pearl District will close when its lease comes up at the end of February next year.
It’s the only REI store in the Portland city limits, and it’s been serving the area for nearly two decades. The company said that last year, even with increased security, they dealt with the highest number of break-ins and thefts since they opened the store.
The company also said that it had “outgrown” the current space and could not reach a deal with the landlord to address the issues. So they’re moving on out.
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