Ristretto Roasters' Northwest Portland shop is no more.
According to former employees at the small NW Nicolai Street location, owners Din Johnson and Josh Gibby announced the store's unexpected closure to staff on Monday. The store, located inside Schoolhouse Electric, officially shuttered after work Tuesday.
Coffee shops close and open all the time—but it's hard to ignore the significance behind Ristretto's decision to close one of its four locations.
This news comes exactly one week after the company went through a public (now-deleted) meltdown on Twitter, orchestrated by Johnson's spouse, Nancy Rommelmann. Rommelmann used Ristretto's Twitter account to personally attack Camila Coddou, a former employee who had spoken out against Rommelmann's web series that challenges women's allegations of sexual assault.
Coddou was one of thirty former and current Ristretto employees who sent a letter to media in early January, which drew attention to Rommelmann's victim-blaming project and raised concerns with her managing Ristretto employees who may be victims of sexual assault.
Rommelmann has expressed frustration about employees taking out their opposition to her project on Ristretto Roasters, since she claims she's not involved in her husband's company.
However, Rommelmann's ability to tweet from Ristretto's account did little to assuage those concerns. Those ties were further cemented on Tuesday. According to staff, Rommelmann worked the final shift at the Northwest location before it officially closed its doors.
According to the letter emailed to Ristretto staff Monday, owners chose to close the Northwest location "to concentrate on our higher volume cafes in a manner that’s most effective for our business and our staff."
"It’s a tough space to walk away from, as the café is beautiful and the building magnificent," the letter, signed by Johnson and Gibby reads. "We have loved being here and this was a difficult decision to make."
All staff at the Northwest location will be relocated to other cafes, the letter promises.
Update, 5:45 pm:
It appears Schoolhouse Electric was also taken off guard by Ristretto's closure. Schoolhouse President Sara Fritsch sent the Mercury this statement:
"It has been an abrupt and unfortunate ending to a long relationship. We are now focused on establishing a fresh coffee partnership with a company that shares our values and complements our brand."