Why We Closed Our Brick-and-Mortar Cacao Shop

Why We Closed Our Brick-and-Mortar Cacao Shop

(Published 11/11/2023)

A NOTE FROM SOUL LIFT CACAO FOUNDER NICK MEADOR:

For the first time since early 2021, I don’t have a storefront of my own.

​It had been my dream to open a cacao cafe since seeing one in San Cristobal de las Casas, southern Mexico, in early 2017.

​Over the years I could feel a momentum building in the ceremonial cacao movement, and the pandemic gave me a new sense of immediacy.

​But the reality is that this is still a very unusual idea in the U.S. mainstream. And all retail has become more difficult, for a number of reasons.

​One is that people are shopping more online. The majority of Soul Lift Cacao sales have always been on our website, for example.

​Another is that retail crime is getting worse. I know it’s happening in many cities, but my recent experience is with Portland. As a small business owner I hear about things that don’t make it on the news and would surprise the general public. I see business owners hoping that it will pass. But from growing up in Detroit, it looks like a familiar downward cycle that I think will take more time before recovery can truly start.

​Then there’s the factor of operating costs. For Soul Lift in particular, the model sends an average of 17x the “fair trade” rate back to source countries, meaning that our costs are a lot higher than typical chocolate, coffee, and tea shops.

​I’ve also discovered that I’m not a “shopkeeper” archetype. Real ceremonial cacao is so new for most people – and the Soul Lift Cacao model is so unique – that it requires a lot of education. It’s hard to do that with general public hours. And let’s be honest… I’m an introvert! 🙂

​My cacao tours are my absolute favorite part of my work right now, because it’s the best way to fully demonstrate the entire lifecycle of cacao and the culture connected to it.

​I’ll still be seeking ways to create in-person experiences in Portland and elsewhere in the U.S. But for now I’m saying goodbye to the first iterations of a Soul Lift Cacao brick-and-mortar.

​I feel sad but relieved. It has definitely shaped me. I’m open to the possibilities of what comes next. Whether or not you visited the shop, thank you for being part of the journey!

FOR NOW WE HAVE ARRANGED FOR FREE LOCAL PICKUP OF ONLINE ORDERS AT A PARTNER LOCATION IN SOUTHEAST PORTLAND, OREGON. YOU'LL SEE DETAILS AT CHECKOUT AFTER CHOOSING ITEMS IN OUR ONLINE SHOP. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING!



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