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Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Farewell to Nature's

I just noticed that the name "Nature's" has now virtually disappeared from what is now the "Wild Oats Market" at NE 15th and Fremont. There are still a few bread sacks with the old Nature's Northwest name on it, but that's about it.

And so the absorption of another Portland institution by a giant out-of-state concern is complete.

We still have Nike, Tektronix, Columbia Sportswear and a few others, but the Rose City's great homegrown businesses have been bought out left and right. Even the Trail Blazers are run out of Seattle.

Why is that? Most Portland entrepreneurs seem just a little too eager to cut and run. Rather than go after other companies and swallow them up, our businesses allow themselves to be swallowed as soon as the price is in the ballpark. Don't get me started on the Fred Meyer stores -- since Kroger took them over, they feel like Ohio rather than Oregon. Freddy Kroger's, if you will.

I remember the old Nature's Food and Tool when it was in a funky storefront at NE 24th and Fremont (where Garden Fever is now). The only place with a comparable feel over this way now is the People's Food Coop down around SE 21st and Powell.

What Nature's morphed into is now battling with locally owned New Seasons Markets for the organic food dollars of Portland shoppers. In this 'hood, at least, New Seasons is winning.

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