After 29 years in business, Imelda’s Shoes in Southeast Portland closes

This independent shoe store opened in Southeast Portland in 1994.

PORTLAND, OR — Imelda’s Shoes has long been Portland’s favorite brand. Pam Coven opened its first standalone shoe store in 1994. Adjacent stores on SE Hawthorne Avenue include a clothing store, women’s shoes and accessories, and Louie’s, a men’s store.

“It’s a big part of my identity,” Cowen said. “I’ve been in Portland for 31 years, and I’ve been running this business for almost 29 years.”

But now she’s closing.

“It was a bittersweet decision,” Cowen said. “I think I’m ready for my next chapter.”

She has enjoyed connecting with clients over the years, but has faced her fair share of challenges. They had four burglaries in less than eight months and faced vandalism, staffing shortages and supply chain issues.

Cowen said that while the pandemic didn’t break her, it did make her reevaluate important things.

“It’s the beginning of the end for Imelda, but it’s a new beginning for me,” Cowen said.

Imelda’s end-of-sale sale is happening in stores and online. Coven isn’t sure what will happen next if the door to Imelda’s house closes, but she hopes it will lead to another door opening.

“There are people in Portland who can pick up the baton, and someone else has the opportunity to do something like this,” she said.

There’s no final deadline for the store, it’s all about stock. But customers still have a few weeks to shop before closing their doors for good.

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