While Portlandia has already boosted Portland’s local film production, tourism, and home-brewed resentment industries, its popularity is not the rising tide that lifts all custom-made boats. In Other Words—the feminist bookstore used in sketches that mock feminist bookstores, like In Other Words—is currently facing closure, according to The Oregonian, and may have to shut its doors by the end of February barring “extraordinary circumstances.”
On the show, In Other Words doubles as Women And Women First, where Candace and Toni maintain a strict policy against gender bias and customer restroom use, while occasionally selling books to people who deserve them. In real life, as Portlandia’s Kumail Nanjiani found out, In Other Words is a slightly friendlier version of that, a place where residents turn for community meetings and vagina-shaped candles.
Still, dream discussion groups and vagina candles don’t always pay the bills—particularly when your store is a nonprofit, and the loss of textbook sales, as In Other Words experienced recently, cuts your income in half. As board member Madeline Jaross explained to The Oregonian, “Portlandia has given the space the illusion that we’re rolling in money. We are not rolling in money from Portlandia, and we never have been.”
In fact, the show only pays a fee to film there two or three times a year—and while Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein did appear at a 2011 fundraiser, In Other Words still needs a “major influx” of donations and new board members to stay open. Hopefully Jerry Seinfeld is reading.