Margulis Jewelers to close after 90 years as businesses struggle in downtown Portland

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 10:46 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Another longtime Portland business is shutting its doors downtown in June.

Margulis Jewlers has been serving Portlanders in the heart of the city for 90 years. It survived the Great Depression, World War II and multiple recessions, but since 2020, owner David Margulis said downtown just isn’t the same.

“It looks like the twilight zone,” Margulis said. “In 2019 it was bustling. People were coming every day to downtown. There was lots of interest in downtown.”

Margulis said there are multiple reasons he’s closing. One of those is the fact that downtown is no longer the sole place to shop with malls and outlets popping up around the metro area. But the biggest reason is the deterioration of the heart of the city. He said the pandemic kept stores closed and people out of high-rise offices. The 2020 riots gave downtown the reputation it wasn’t safe. Coupled with the rise of crime across the city, Margulis said people don’t want to venture to that part of the city anymore.

“Sadly, downtown hasn’t attracted people to come back down,” Margulis said. “The traffic and the critical mass aren’t down here so independents can survive.”

But as Portland staples close, others are trying to establish themselves in downtown. Reginald Parham opened his retail store, Drip, off Burnside in December 2021.

“This is what I love to do, and my partner loves to do this,” Parham said.

He said he chose the location for its high foot traffic and proximity to other stores. But there are some drawbacks. FOX 12 spoke with Parham shortly after his first break-in last year. Since then, Drip, has been burglarized again.

“They tried to break into the front door,” Parham said. “They actually came through the side ... and through the front window.”

Parham said these break-ins are frustrating, but as the new shop on the block, he’s optimistic things will turn around, even with other businesses closing shop and moving out of the city.

“Downtown has got to turn around,” Parham said. “It will turn around.”