Portland’s Oldest Bookstore Set to Close as Businesses Feel the Impacts of the Pandemic

The pandemic no doubt has had a huge impact on the business community, hundreds if not thousands of Oregon businesses have either closed their doors temporarily or permanently.

One of those businesses set to close is Cameron’s Books in downtown Portland. The business is touted as the oldest book store in Portland and has been in business for 83 years.

Owner Crystal Zingsheim says it is combinations of the pandemic, the last year of unrest and violence in downtown Portland and other factors.

Zingsheim says since the state of emergency was declared their revenue has declined by 90%. Zingheim says they held out longer than many other businesses downtown, but ultimately the challenges became too great.

“It is all of the above, you know, I think that it is just several overlapping crisis is all it is really,” Zingsheim said.

This business in not alone in calling it quits. Business Oregon says though the total impact of the pandemic won’t be known for a while it points to the most recent data that shows the scope of the impact in the early months of the pandemic.

According the government agency in the second quarter of 2020, nearly 13,000 businesses either closed permanently or temporarily. The average number of closures typically reported is 5,500.

The restaurant industry that has been hit particularly hard continues to see closures as well. According to the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging association so far in 2021 200 additional restaurants have closed. In 2020, ORLA says that 1,185 businesses closed while 770 opened.

“It has been a year like no other. There are businesses struggling, there are businesses making really hard decisions right now to stay open,” Amy Lewin with the Portland Business Alliance said.

Lewis however says the future is looking better.

“For our city center specifically we are seeing a reopening and more businesses reporting increased foot traffic, increased business and overall we are staying hopeful, though it has been challenging,” Lewin said.

Another sign things are getting better, the National Retail Federation says retail sales were up nearly 18 percent in March compared to the same time last year. The organization says consumer confidence is up and the outlook of the future continue to grow.

 By: John Hendricks | Source