Coava Coffee Roasters announced the closure of its SW Jefferson Street location at the City of Roses in an April 10 Instagram post. The establishment wrote: "We have decided to permanently close our downtown Portland cafe with the last full day of operation … [on] April 13. The team members at this cafe have been on the front line enduring extreme violence and criminal activity on an almost daily basis for the last few years – crime and violence that is only increasing in frequency and severity."
According to the cafe, both staff members and customers experienced "theft, physical displays of violence, threats of harm, break-ins, window smashing and repeated traumatic in-cafe incidents."
"We cannot continue operation here as we cannot ensure the safety of our team and customers. We opened this cafe in the summer of 2017 and poured our very heart and soul into the design and build-out of this beautiful and unique space. While this is incredibly hard, we know it is the right decision." (Related: Retailers, businesses continue to flee Portland due to rampant violence, theft and lawlessness.)
Despite this, Coava Coffee Roasters assured customers that their other locations will remain open.
A recent survey by hiring software maker Poached revealed the extent of the damage caused by Portland's crime on the restaurant industry.
As reported by the Portland Business Journal, 90 percent of the survey's respondents said their businesses had been broken into in the past year. Seventy-nine percent said their businesses experienced more than one break-in, while 30 percent said their business had been broken into more than five times. Moreover, 94 percent of respondents said their businesses were vandalized in the last year and 35 percent reported the vandalism happening more than 10 times.
Poached co-founder and CEO Kirk Thornby said the company "was taken aback by the number of respondents concerned about running their businesses in Portland, especially in a city that prides itself on its restaurant culture." He continued: "We're sharing these results to raise awareness around the challenges Portland restaurants deal with daily."
Several restaurant owners also aired their sentiments about the state of Portland.
"Crime and vandalism [are] huge [issues] not being addressed in Portland," said Sara Sawicki, co-owner of the buffalo wings joint Fire on the Mountain. "We wonder about the long-term viability of our business in Portland due to staff safety and financial costs associated with crime and vandalism. It does not seem like the city is addressing the issues in any meaningful way."
Franz Spielvogel, owner of the fast-casual chain Laughing Planet Cafe, remarked: "Frankly, it's pretty sad. How are we going to climb out of this? How are we going to thrive?" Four different locations of his chain were broken into over a five-day span.
Peter Bro, who owns the Scandinavian restaurant chain Broder, recounted that his joint's location at N Mississippi Avenue suffered two break-ins. He also mentioned an incident where an individual was throwing motor oil on the restaurant window while employees and customers were inside.
"There are opportunists because there aren't many ramifications, police are slow to respond and they can get away with it," Bro said.
"If you own a business in Portland right now, you kind of feel like you have to figure it out [on your own]. The cops don't show up. Things don't happen as fast as they should, and it's disappointing," Spielvogel said.
Collapse.news has more stories about restaurant closures in crime-ridden cities like Portland.
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