Today is the most difficult day we’ve ever had at Modern Times. Over the last two unimaginably challenging pandemic years, we’ve done everything we could to keep all of our newly-opened locations afloat in a landscape we never could have imagined when we began building them. As new leadership has stepped up and taken the helm over the last few weeks, it became clear that the financial state of the company that we are now tasked with directing is not just unsustainable, but in immediate and unavoidable peril. As a result of this, we are forced to make some incredibly hard choices, which—while necessary for the health and continued success of our company—will result in many of our talented, hardworking staff losing their jobs.
As of the end of this week, we will be closing our Portland, Oakland, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles locations. It is a surreal and painful turn of events for us, and we realize that the suddenness of it puts many people we care about in very difficult positions. We truly wish that there were another way to resolve the financial issues we now face, but we have been put in a position—by the pandemic and global declines in the craft beer industry—from which this tremendously difficult path is the only way forward for us. While it is a path that we feel will lead to a renewed vision and new life for Modern Times, it doesn’t make taking these drastic measures any less heartbreaking.
Our Point Loma, North Park, Encinitas, and Anaheim locations will remain open, and we will be turning our distribution and hospitality efforts back to Southern California and the Southwest as we do everything we can to step away from the opacity and unanchored optimism of the past and build a smaller, smarter, more focused, and more equitable company for the future.
There is simply no way to adequately express our appreciation for the staff at the affected locations, or how sorry we are to put them in this position. We recognize and are deeply grateful for the massive amounts of work and passion they’ve put into making these wonderful places what they are, as well as the sacrifices they’ve made to keep the lights on over the last two years. We truly wish things had turned out differently—in so many ways—but as a new leadership team faced with the choice between immediate action and dire consequences, we have chosen to do what we must to ensure a future for Modern Times, though it comes at a high cost.
At such a challenging moment, it is difficult to talk about how we got here, let alone our plans for the future, but we’ve made this decision for a reason, and it bears explaining. We’ve arrived at this current moment as the result of a combination of factors: four straight years of rapid, costly expansion followed by an unforeseen and financially devastating global health crisis, and an industry-wide decline in sales. Taken together, these factors have stretched our finances and company culture to a point that is simply no longer sustainable.
So, what do we do now? We get smaller, we get smarter, and we get faster. We invest in our people and build up rather than out. We listen to our customers and keep our commitments to them. We focus on what we can control, the locations we can sustain, and we do what we’re good at: making amazing beverages and providing exceptional experiences for our customers. We listen to the lessons of the last few years. We don’t overreach, we don’t build things we can’t afford. We listen to our employees. We work more closely with our communities. We diversify our viewpoints and find a voice that speaks for our company as a whole. We make the difficult decisions, we move forward, and we rebuild.
More to come.
*League members and customers at the affected locations will be contacted shortly with membership and pickup details and options.