30-Year-Old Head Shop Third Eye Is Closing on Hawthorne

"It seems wrong. It's a cultural icon," says owner Mark Herer.

(Courtney Theim)

Third Eye Shoppe, one of the city's oldest head shops, will close at the end of the month.

This morning, shop owner Mark Herer, son of late cannabis legend Jack Herer, who co-founded Third Eye Shoppe in 1987, sent a text message to their glassblowers and vendors to announce that their last day in business will be March 31.

The text goes on to explain that the shop has amassed a huge amount of debt.

They will throw a party for customers on March 25, which Herer says they'll get a keg for.

"From the 25th to the 31st, we're gonna be having a big, stupid party," Herer tells WW.

The store first opened on July 1, 1987. When it closes, it will be just shy of thirty years old.

Related: Vintage Portland Head Shops

"I've been here 18 years and it's a super sad day," says Herer, who says that business started a slow decline in the beginning of last year.

Herer attributes bad business to construction in the area, and the larger number dispensaries carrying paraphernalia.

"In May, they did some construction on Hawthorne between 39th and 50th for like a whole month and the store really never recovered from that," he says. "Sales just kept declining and we don't have an online presence, so we've lost so much in sales too. Online sales have killed the retail world. Also with dispensaries selling a pretty functional selection of accessories, it's definitely bit into our market share."

Related: How Is Legalization Affecting Old-School Head Shops?

About a month ago, their mortgage company started foreclosure procedures, so Herer, along with his brother and sisters, decided to sell the building.

He listed it with a commercial realtor last week. Within two hours, there was an offer for $1 million from a developer, he says.

"They're going to tear the sucker in the dirt," he says, then admits he's not sure what the buyer's actual plans are. "It seems wrong. It's a cultural icon. You smell all the smells of the incense and then come the crystals and rocks and stones which bring a positive energy into everyone's lives. It changes lives."

Herer says he will move to Southern Oregon, where he's been doing some outdoor growing. He first came to Portland in 1985, but feels that it's changing significantly.

"This was the best little big city anywhere and I still feel that way. There is nowhere like Portland," he says. "But it's growing out of itself. Other cities are migrating to the city."

But until then—they'll party.

"We're going to party for the last week and have lots of hugs and cry a lot and thank the goddesses that our lives have been blessed for as long as they have," he says. "It's been awesome ride."

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