After a century, Brattle Square Fleuriste closes its doors
A Harvard Square pillar is closing its doors, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and its many disruptions.
Randy Ricker, owner of Brattle Square Florist, emailed customers on Monday to let them know that the 104-year-old flower shop will close at the end of January. Rising costs and the limited availability of flowers and materials, along with a widespread labor shortage and deteriorating real estate, contributed to the decision, Ricker said, as did the personal toll. of the day-to-day running of a small business over the past nine years, especially the past two.
âThe challenges continue to add up,â Ricker wrote in the long note to clients. âThe prospect of continuing operations during an ongoing and unpredictable pandemic is daunting. “
The Gomatos family began selling flowers in Harvard Square in 1917, and in the early 1970s the business moved into a long, narrow store with a green awning on Brattle Street. Ricker bought Brattle Square Florist nine years ago and has operated it ever since with a small team.
It is the latest in a long line of small family businesses that were closing in Harvard Square even before the COVID-19 pandemic pushed students and tourists away. The florist was able to get through the first 20 months of the pandemic, but the economic uncertainty of the past few months has been the last straw, Ricker wrote.
âThe prices of plants, flowers and durable goods have increased dramatically and we are struggling to maintain our margins,â he wrote. âProduct availability has never been so difficult. We are unable to attract and retain the personnel who are essential to our operation. “
And so he made the decision to end his activities before Valentine’s Day, usually the busiest time for florists. Ricker wrote that while “it is possible” the store could reopen in different hands, “there are no plans for that at this time.”
Denise Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, lamented the move.
“This is sad news for Harvard Square, for their customers and for anyone who has had the pleasure of passing through 31 Brattle Street,” Jillson said in a statement. âOver the past 104 years, from quiet times to life’s happiest celebrations, the flowers of Brattle Florist have witnessed. We bid our friends a sad farewell and thank them for a century of service. We hope they get the rest they so deserve.