UPDATED: September 9, 2015, at 1:19 p.m.
As students left campus for the summer, the College was not the only Harvard Square institution in flux. The makeup of businesses in the Square has seen substantial change since last spring as businesses leave, move in, and change locations.
Denise A. Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, confirmed that Cabot’s Candy and the Boston Smoke Shop have opened up new storefronts in Harvard Square. The Maharaja reopened its doors after extensive repairs following a 2014 fire. The Harvard University Employees Credit Union is moving to Mt. Auburn Street, and Harvard Student Agencies' Cleaners location has moved from Holyoke Street also to Mt. Auburn Street. Sandrine’s Bistro, African Gift Items, Kennedy’s on the Square, and Berk’s Shoes all closed their doors.
Jillson added that these properties, some of which make up a series of vacant storefronts along JFK Street, are still in the process of finding new patrons.
Cabot’s Candy opened on July 22 at 1300 Massachusetts Ave. sharing the location of Zinnia Jewelries. Jen Kurani, the owner of both shops, is excited to bring the Provincetown, Mass.-based candy shop to wider audiences.
“It’s a new location for us but we’re thrilled to ... bring our products here to Cambridge,” Kurani said. “We will continue to bring new products in, and it’s only a matter of time before we get a sense of the taste of folks in the Square.”
The shop prides itself on its New England appearance and taste. Along with other local confectioneries, Cabot sells its own line of candy produced at its factory in Provincetown.
Some changes to the Square were more bittersweet. After 35 years of business, Berk’s Shoes closed its doors. A patron for the property has not yet been publicly released.
“I come back and it’s not there anymore and that makes me sad,” said Anne Nguyen, a previous resident of Cambridge. “I always used to go to Berk’s ... they have quality comfortable shoes. It's hard to find those now.”
John C. Petrovato, owner of Raven Used Books, said that the store will continue to operate out of the current JFK Street location until the end of September. Raven Used Books plans on reopening at its new location on Church Street in October. Petrovato cited high rents on JFK Street as a reason for relocating.
“I have another store on Newbury, and the rents [in the Square] are in some cases higher,” Petrovato said. “Right now Harvard Square is very hot, so there’s almost no space available for under $10,000 [per month].”
Raven Used Books staff expressed excitement about the benefits of the new location. Employee J. Sterling Bryant said the new location will be about the same size, but better situated near Border Cafe and on street level.
“Church Street seems like it's on the up and up,” Bryant said.
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