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Declining clientele seals the fates of Portland mainstays Pied Cow and JaCiva's

The Pied Cow Coffee House and JaCiva's Bakery & Chocolatier each cited the pandemic as a reason for their impending closures.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Two longtime Southeast Portland businesses have announced they are closing. The Pied Cow Coffee House and JaCiva's Chocolatier & Bakery and have been open for 28 and 38 years, respectively.

“A lot of this is pretty much because of the pandemic,” said Jimmy Chen, who owns the Pied Cow, located at 3244 Southeast Belmont Street. “It's a special place to a lot of people because it's one of the last weird Portland spots.”

Chen said loans and scaling back on staff helped him to keep the business open during and after the pandemic, but said they’ve continued to struggle. He had hoped this would be the year the business would finally bounce back. Instead, Chen said things have only gotten worse.

“We've always had of steady foot traffic and the weekends have always been pretty strong,” said Chen. “Right now, weekdays and weekends — you can't really tell the difference.”

Sunday will be the Pied Cow’s last day of business. The old Victorian house is for sale and so are the quirky trinkets inside it. On Thursday, a steady stream of customers, including Nik Joslin, came in to buy a piece of the Portland landmark.

“I used to come in here a ton when I was younger,” said Joslin. “It's really unfortunate to see how many Portland classic places are going down … it's just one after the next.”

A mile away, JaCiva’s Bakery & Chocolatier is also preparing to close. The business, located at 4733 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, made the announcement on Thursday.

“We really tried to stay in business as long as we could,” said manager Laura Boscole. “We love our customers and it's going to be very difficult for us.”

Bosole’s parents, Jack and Iva Elmer, opened JaCiva's in 1985. Boscole cited the pandemic and increased crime as the reason why they never fully recovered. She said they've lost about half their business in the last few years.

“Portland small businesses are struggling, and we're not different — it's just very hard right now in this environment,” said Boscole. “I think it's harder for people to get out and want to get out and feel safe.”

For customers like Laurie Rice, news of the closure was upsetting. JaCiva's made her daughter's wedding cake. 

“I'm so sorry that … so many businesses are losing,” said Rice. “We're losing.”

Boscole said JaCiva's would stay open until they run out of supplies; likely by the end of October, but possibly sooner. She plans to post regular updates on social media. The bakery is no longer taking new, custom orders, but will make good on those already promised. Boscole said she would cherish every celebration the bakery has been part of. 

“Thank you (to the customers) doesn't even cover it,” said Boscole. “We're gonna miss our place at the party.”

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