It was once a beacon of hope for a stretch of road blighted with empty storefronts, but after 10 years in business, the Adidas retail shop at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Alberta Street is closing.
Local media broke the news last Tuesday, and Adidas sent internal memos to employees this week notifying them of the closure.
"As a neighbor, it's sad that an anchor tenant is leaving, especially since it was such a big deal when they moved in there," said Jennifer Jardee-Borquist, president of the King Neighborhood Association. "We haven't discussed it as a neighborhood association yet … but, personally, most of the neighbors I know don't shop there. In the seven years I've lived here I've only shopped there once."
Adidas representatives wouldn't say why the store is closing, only that it will close in the second half of 2007, but city officials close to the redevelopment on MLK Jr. Boulevard say the closure shouldn't have an adverse affect on the area's burgeoning business community.
"Personally, I don't see it as a huge issue," said Bernie Kerosky, of the Portland Development Commission. "There is so much happening on MLK … these other projects are on the drawing board and the Vanport Square project down the street is selling out well."
Kerosky, is working with local developer Ray Leary – who was instrumental in getting Adidas into the MLK space — on the nearby mixed-use Vanport Square project and said that, while the retail store's closure is "disappointing," the "positive signs on MLK outweigh the negatives."
Roy Jay, head of the African American Chamber of Commerce, said he hopes that, after the store closes, the space will open for other local entrepreneurs.
"It could be an opportunity for other folks in the neighborhood" to set up shop in the heart of northeast Portland.
"I hope (the building owner) makes sure they empower folks in the community and (utilize) that space," Jay said.
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