Portland-based Green Zebra announced that it is winding down operations after 10 years in business. All three Green Zebra stores will close on March 31.
Since being founded in 2013, Green Zebra has sought to redefine what it means to be a convenience store in America. Instead of selling cigarettes, lottery tickets and jumbo-sized sugary drinks like most convenience stores, Green Zebra offered customers made-from-scratch grab-and-go meals, a full service coffee bar, kombucha Zlurpees, locally sourced meat, produce and groceries along with a local beer selection in Oregon. In addition Green Zebra supported its staff with fair wage jobs, increasing its internal minimum wage seven times in its 10-year history and offering affordable health insurance for all staff and their dependents.
“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 nine 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. We definitely gave it our all and fought the good fight. We are thankful for the opportunity to have been in service to our community.”
“I want to express my deep gratitude and love for our truly awesome team members, loyal customers, vendor friends, landlords, investors and everyone who has helped us along the way. It has been a great honor to serve our local community over the last 10 years, and we’re beyond disappointed that we were unable to overcome the challenges presented by the global pandemic and current economic conditions,” Sedlar continued.
As a values-based business, Green Zebra has been a champion for the local food economy, as well as serving and supporting the communities surrounding each of its stores. Over the years, Green Zebra partnered with more than 100 different local nonprofits such as Harper’s Playground, Black Food Sovereignty Coalition, Meals on Wheels and PSU Food Pantry.
“It was a real honor to have been a partner with Green Zebra Grocery since their grand opening back in 2013 and for all the years since,” said Cody Goldberg, Founder of Harper’s Playground. “The Green Zebra team were like family to us and their presence in the neighborhood made the community stronger and more connected. We are thankful for their leadership and good deeds.”
Green Zebra is committed to ensuring an orderly transition. “We will pay all of our team members in full, including their accrued vacation hours,” said Sedlar. “I highly recommend hiring our team members as they are knowledgeable grocery professionals who provide the highest level of service. In addition I am personally reaching out to other local grocery leaders and encouraging them to hire our team members.”
“We would appreciate it if our customers would continue to shop with us in the coming weeks as we wind down. People often ask me if shopping local makes a difference and my answer is a resounding YES! Now more than ever small businesses need our support. Thank you in advance for voting with your dollars to support local businesses,” Sedlar continued.