This Coffee Chain Is Going Out of Business and Closing All Locations, Starting Nov. 22
Baristas say all the stores will be gone before Christmas.
Coffee shops are obviously convenient when you need to grab a latte on your way to work. But these shops are also communal hubs: They offer a place for people to work, socialize, or just hang out. You probably have a coffee joint that serves the perfect brew or offers the ideal cozy ambiance, so it's only natural to feel disappointed if your favorite spot shuts down. Now, one beloved coffee chain announced that it will be going out of business and closing all locations—and it could be your local store that's gone for good. Read on to find out which company is going dark.
No coffee chain is safe from closures.
Size is not necessarily a factor when it comes to coffee shop closures, as even Starbucks has been forced to shutter locations. The coffee giant shut down 130 locations in Russia amidst the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, and over the summer, closures abounded in the U.S., too.
Sixteen stores were closed at the end of July due to safety concerns and the number of crime-related incidents reported by Starbucks employees. Reports included on-site drug use, theft, and assault, a spokesperson told The Seattle Times, but some allege that the closures were tied to certain stores' attempts to unionize, Insider reported.
If America's largest coffee chain is your favorite, you probably don't have to worry about losing access to these stores altogether—as of Nov. 7, 2022, ScrapeHero estimated that there were approximately 15,757 Starbucks locations nationwide. But if another local chain is your go-to spot, you'll want to grab your last cup sooner rather than later.
This beloved chain is shutting down for good.
Residents in Cambridge, Massachusetts will soon say goodbye to a 30-year-0ld chain and community staple.
In a Nov. 9 Instagram post, Darwin's Ltd., a family-owned coffee and sandwich shop, announced plans to close down all of its locations. Currently, owners Steven and Isabel Darwin operate four locations in Cambridge, with stores on Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge Street, Massachusetts Avenue, and Putnam Avenue.
One store closure was previously confirmed.
The news that all Darwin's Ltd. locations are closing follows an Oct. 26 announcement, also made on Instagram. In the first post, the Darwins said that only the Mt. Auburn Street store—the original location—would be closing.
"After 3 decades of being a fixture in this beloved neighborhood, our 30-year Lease as renters and holders of this space has nearly come to its end," the post reads. "We have carefully considered this milestone to be an opportunity for Ownership to take workload and personal health into account and we thank everyone for their understanding in that regard. To that end, we have decided to close this location."
The couple stated that the news was probably "unexpected," but added that they didn't want to cause harm or hardship, particularly for employees. "We are forever grateful to have had the loyal support of our neighbors, customers, and the many staff members who have enjoyed our offerings or given their hard work in this special sandwich shop & cafe on the corner," the post reads.
The couple also noted that new owners were moving into the location, although they did not specify if the location would remain a coffee shop. According to Cambridge Day, a barista stated that the Mt. Auburn space's lease is through December, but it's being vacated early in order for a a bakery to take over.
There's a bit more to the story than just early retirement.
In the November Instagram post, the Darwins thanked the community and stated that they had decided "to retire from this line of work." The post also confirmed that the Mt. Auburn location will be closed on Nov. 22, and the remaining three stores will receive closure dates pending a response from the union, Darwin's United. But baristas told Cambridge Day that all locations would be shut down before Christmas.
Per reporting from The Harvard Crimson, issues are a bit more complex, as tension has been mounting between Darwin's employees and ownership. Similar to Starbucks, the union was in the mix, and negotiations for a new contract were ongoing when the closure was announced. Employees were calling for $24 per hour in pay, three weeks paid time off, and healthcare without a deductible, ABC-affiliate WCVB reported.
Notably, when the Mt. Auburn closure was announced, the Darwins stated that they would "work in good faith with the Union to retain as many staff members as are willing and/or to offer appropriate severance to those being laid off." However, per Cambridge Day, baristas say that the incoming bakery is not planning to hire Darwin's Ltd. employees.
"We are disappointed the owner is closing, we're trying to work with him to keep stores opened, and were shocked that he decided to close," Warren Pepicelli, the joint board manager from the New England Joint Board, which is representing Darwin's employees, told the WCVB.
Best Life reached out to Darwin's Ltd. for comment, but has not yet heard back.