After 10 years in business, Green Zebra Grocery will serve its last kombucha Zlurpee this month. The Portland-based grocery-meets-convenience store chain will shut down operations in March, closing all three of its stores on March 31.
“We have been holding on by a thread since the pandemic started and have been in austerity mode since then,” says Lisa Sedlar, Green Zebra Founder and CEO, in a press release. “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.”
Sedlar, a former New Seasons CEO, opened the first Green Zebra in 2013 with the hopes of creating a healthy convenience store alternative, swapping Slurpees for kombucha slushies and hot dogs for a salad bar. While the Kenton shop sold itself as a convenience store, for many, it was a full-on grocery, with a produce section and juice bar. In its time open, Green Zebra became a proponent of several Portland restaurants and food businesses, selling bottles of Akadi sauces and stocking the freezer with Doe Donuts ice cream sandwiches. In its years open, Green Zebra opened several locations across the city, with coffee bars and vegan cheese nachos.
In 2020, Green Zebra was forced to close two of its four locations, due to pandemic-related financial downturn. The locations, on the Portland State University campus and in the Lloyd District, were impacted by the loss of foot traffic; while the PSU location was able to reopen, the Lloyd District locale — and, in certain ways, the business as a whole — never recovered.
All three stores will stay open through all of March, and Green Zebra will pay all its employees in full in addition to vacation accrual.
“We definitely gave it our all and fought the good fight,” Sedlar says in the press release. “We are thankful for the opportunity to have been in service to our community.”