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After 30 years in business, Darwin’s will close its doors


Only two weeks after revealing plans to close its original shop in Harvard Square, Darwin’s Ltd., a well-known Cambridge coffee franchise, announced the closure of all four of its sites on Wednesday.

The Darwin added in the Instagram post, “We appreciate the thousands of employees, customers, and the City of Cambridge for allowing and supporting the 30-year experience & success of our family-owned business.

The chain’s owners Steven and Isabel Darwin announced their retirement and the closure of the stores on Cambridge St., Massachusetts Ave., and Putnam Ave. in an Instagram post. The coffee chain, which gained renown for its sandwiches, has been owned and run by the Darwins since 1993.

Less than a month before, the Darwins had announced that the chain’s first site on Mt. Auburn St. would be closing due to workload and personal health issues. The owners announced on Wednesday that they had struck an agreement with Darwin’s United, the workers’ union, to close the location on Nov. 22, despite the fact that the lease is valid until Dec. 1.

Members of Darwin’s United planned a rally at Cambridge City Hall on October 29 in response to the initial shutdown, urging the owners to guarantee employment to the staff at the Mt. Auburn branch, increase salaries to $24 per hour, and provide three weeks of paid time off.

The Darwins noted that until they hear back from Darwin’s United, the closing dates for the other three locations are still up in the air.

Following a protracted campaign by Darwin’s employees to unionise and win a new contract with more guarantees, the company has decided to close. When union members staged a protest outside the Darwins’ Cambridge house last month, tensions between the union and ownership reached a breaking point.

Regular customer Rebecca Patterson expressed disappointment at the closure of a long-standing neighbourhood establishment.

There may have been a way ahead, Patterson added, “but I wish the talks with the union could have gone better.” The closing of the Mt. Auburn facility was earlier described by Alexandra C. Stanton as a strategy to “perhaps demoralise the workers and terrify them.”

The Darwins stated they intended to cooperate with the union to keep as many employees as possible before making their statement last Wednesday. A bakery will take the place of the Mt. Auburn location, claims Cambridge Day.

News Summary:

  • After 30 years in business, Darwin’s will close its doors
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