Nike might be one of the wokest brands in the country, but even it appears to be bowing to reality when it comes to the ravages of trying to run an operation in a crime-ridden blue city in a blue state, with all the losses from theft and threat posed to workers such a geographic situation entails.In fact, it is now closing one of its most famous stores because of crime.
That store is the Nike Factory Store, which was located in Northeast Portland’s Eliot neighborhood but is now closing its doors for good, according to the Soul District Business Association. The store opened in 1984 and was Nike’s first factory store and its first big investment in a primarily black neighborhood. It just closed for good, however.
Residents in the area had attempted to press Nike to keep the store, located along Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, around, saying that its departure would “critically wound an already struggling small business community in the area,”
But their protestations were not enough to keep Nike from making the final decision to close it for good after it closed in November, as the crime problem remained unsolved and what had once been described as “one of the first area businesses to stand up and declare Northeast Portland as a viable community to do business in” became once again an area in which making a profit is impossible thanks to rampant crime.
Nike, attempting to deal with the crime issue, had asked for off-duty police officers from Mayor Wheeler, who refused. He said, “My team and city staff have worked tirelessly and in good faith with Nike for almost a year to offer creative solutions to their safety challenges. Ultimately, the City cannot offer Nike, or any other private business, with dedicated off-duty PPB officers due to PPB’s staffing shortage. I remain committed to supporting Nike’s future success in Portland and look forward to their future investments in our community.”
Nike found that unacceptable and left, leading Soul District Business Association executive director John Washington to say, “This news has landed like a lead balloon in our district. We had all been holding our breath since last November when the store quietly shuttered its doors due to internal and external theft and safety issues. But, like so many of us riding out the fallout of the pandemic and protests, we held out hope that Nike, city officials and community leaders would recalibrate and realign order. But it looks like it’s game over.”
But Washington had no answer to the real issue for Nike, which was that crime, with shoplifting along leading to more than 200 police reports in 2022 alone, leading to disastrous retail losses and an unsafe workplace for Nike’s employees in the MLK store. So it had to leave.
Nike claimed to still be looking for a way to reinvest in the area after it shuttered the once-famous store for good, saying, “Nike’s commitment to supporting and uplifting Portland’s North and Northeast community is unwavering. We are reimagining Nike’s retail space, permanently closing our current location at 2650 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and considering future locations as part of this community’s long term revitalization plan.”
Featured image credit: By Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA – Nike Flagship – NYC, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80043580
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