Adventure gear company REI plans to close its Portland store early next year after experiencing a record-breaking number of thefts and break-ins, according to a report.
REI said its store in Portland’s Pearl District “had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security” in an internal email obtained by the Seattle Times.
The company also said in the email that it had “outgrown” the location, which opened in 2004, and that the building needed “significant investment” to mitigate undisclosed issues.
REI spokesperson Megan Behrbaum told the local paper that the company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased security measures for the Portland store last year, but still suffered numerous break-ins, including a shocking Black Friday incident in which a car plowed through the store’s glass doors.
The frightening episode was the store’s third break-in in just a week, the Seattle Times reported.
The company met with police following the November spectacle and has made more than $800,000 worth of security upgrades in 2022, Behrbaum said.
The upgrades included swapping the store’s windows for security glass, hiring 24/7 private security and installing a surveillance trailer at the Portland shop’s loading dock, according to the paper.
“Yet, we still experienced 10 burglaries, including one event that shut down our 14th Street entrance for more than two months,” Behrbaum said.
She said the company cannot afford to pay for more when the added security has failed to thwart thieves.
“The extra security measures required to keep customers and employees safe are not financially sustainable,” the spokesperson said.
The Pearl District store employs more than 150 people, according to the local publication. Full-time workers out of a job will receive severance pay following the store closure next year.
It’s unclear if REI will open another store in a different part of Portland. The company only said it was “evaluating opportunities” in the city.
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