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Store will close Dec. 30; new grocery operation expected to open at that site in 2020.

PMG PHOTOS: BILL GALLAGHER - Christy Splitt of Hillsdale, Food Front Cooperative Board PresidentThe Food Front Cooperative Grocery in Hillsdale is closing on Dec. 30 after 12 years at that location.

Another grocery store will take its place in 2020. Some of the employees will be offered jobs at the first Food Front location in Northwest Portland but others will be let go.

The decision to close the doors was announced in a press release Wednesday, Dec. 4. It pointed to three factors: "shifting shopping practices, stiff competition, and rising costs."

This will go down in local history as the year that three established grocery stores closed down. Besides Hillsdale Food Front, Lamb's Thriftway in Garden Home Marketplace and Market of Choice on Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard went out of business.

Christy Splitt of Hillsdale, a Food Front owner and shopper, recently became president of the board of the Food Front Cooperative, which will continue to operate the original store at 2375 N.W. Thurman St.

A lifelong  membership stake of $150 entitles 'owners' to vote in elections for the Board of Directors."A new retail grocery will be coming to the Hillsdale Shopping Center sometime in the new year. While Food Front's leadership is deeply saddened by this outcome, the Hillsdale landlords have worked with the Co-op extensively to support the Co-op's success in the location," she wrote in the press release.

Splitt was working overtime as a volunteer to keep the operation afloat when she told the SW Connection in October of this year, "I can't shake my belief that the west side of Portland shares Food Front's values, which include supporting local vendors, having a union-represented workforce and providing an alternative economic model."

The location at 6344 S.W. Capitol Highway has been a grocery store since 1972. Hillsdale became the second Food Front store after Whole Foods took over Wild Oats in that location and closed it in 2007. Both stores are known for showcasing local farm and food products. Kettle Chips, Dave's Killer Bread and Aardvark Hot Sauce were first sold at Food Front.

Splitt is promising that remaining Food Front managers will help laid-off employees find work and acknowledged the role Food Front has come to play in the Hillsdale community.

"Board and management are also working to ease the transition for not just our team members, but also for vendors and neighboring businesses that rely on the Co-op," she said. "We will continue to put people first, helping our staff, vendors and neighbors get through the Hillsdale closure."

According to the release, "There will be a three-day sale, Dec. 28-30, at the Hillsdale location. Many items will be offered at a deep discount."

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