This Sunday marks the end of Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Wellesley Square after a 20-year run that fostered a loyal clientele consisting of runners, cyclists, dog walkers, commuters, and many others seeking a central place to meet up and chat. A Chase Bank is moving in, much to the excitement of…the property managers.
The fluorescent colors were flying on the backs of a parade of cyclists who had met at Peet’s earlier in the morning and were off for a ride. We took photos of another pack of riders, one of whom called Peet’s a “vital” meeting spot. Many familiar faces lined up inside the shop, and enjoyed the mild spring weather outside the shop, as they talked about how all good things must come to and end.
Among those bidding farewell to Peet’s was Daryl Rinaldi, a weekend regular and a basketball mate of mine. A caffeine high had him touting how great his hook shot is and recalling how he met his wife at a Peet’s in Berkeley, Calif. (the second part is definitely true).
Sean Milano, who regularly organizes runs and rides from Peet’s, lives nearby and said he would always slow his car (or bike, or running stride) way down as he passed the shop just to see if there was anybody he knew hanging out. Seems there always was so Sean, a garrulous sort, would stop by and chat.
Like others in the Peet’s crowd, he may be taking his habit to the Starbucks in Linden Square, where there is ample room to spread out. Some will grudgingly do so, preferring the Peet’s products but not wanting to give up their friendships.
One regular, Rick Devereux, not only laments the departure of Peet’s but the pending arrival of Chase. He said a protest in planned in April regarding Chase’s fossil fuel investments.
“It’s personal for a lot of us Peetniks who’ve been gathering there with friends for their two decades,” Devereux said. “No place like it left in the Square. It’s a shame for all in the Merchants’ Association as well—the whole square is diminished without such a spot.”
The corner spot has a long history of keeping customers moving in one way or another. A gas station previously occupied the lot. Then Peet’s came in to keep peoples’ motors running. Now the new Chase branch will presumably make sure customers’ financial worlds spin in the right direction.
While part of a chain, Peet’s in Wellesley Square still managed to win a loyal following. Back in 2001, when it opened, there had been some cries of coffee chain over-saturation in town.
Peet’s has closed numerous shops in Massachusetts in recent years, and has only a couple area outposts still pouring their signature flavorful roasts (Harvard Square, Lexington), and retains a presence in some Capital One bank locations.
There’s plenty more in Wellesley Square. Here’s the definitive directory for Wellesley Square restaurants, stores, and services.