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.
George Adams says
Seeing Peet’s in Wellesley Square played a role in us moving back to Wellesley from California in 2004. We lived in Wellesley in the Dana Hall area from 1980 to 1994. In ‘94, we moved to Los Altos where we discovered and loved Peet’s! We’ll miss Peet’s in Wellesley!
Al Faber says
Hi Bob. Well said, but so sad. We are losing a wonderful sense of tradition and fond memories.
Hope we won’t continue to “chase” away all the things that all of us cherish.
Take care, Al.
Will miss it. Way too many banks
Cyetta McCormick says
To put another bank on Central Street is just more demise in the termination of our downtown shopping and eating street. I propose a boycott on the Chase Bank going in. At what point do towns people pay attention to what is happening to our town. Quite sad.
Rick Devereux says
A boycott is a great idea. Join our movement (350Mass/Metrowest). Join us on April 10 at 10:30 just down the street from Peet’s at the 5-way intersection where different environmental groups will come together with old and young to voice our opposition to Chase coming here to harvest funds to support Fossil Fuel extraction and pipeline construction (Keystone, Line 3 Extension), compressors (Weymouth) and coming to Wellesley to harvest money. Everyone loses by their presence here: merchants, the young, the old, Peetniks and all coffee and tea lovers.
Maryellen Horgan says
Very best coffee anywhere in Metro Boston. I’m very sorry to see this.
Rick Devereux says
BOB -you captured the variety and color of the gathering that was outside Peet’s this morning and in one of your photos, one of the barista captains, Eric, who befriended so many of us over the years with his quiet good humpr, consistent professionalism and warmth (standing with a brown Peet’s cap on the right side in the 2nd photo with his name badge hanging off his denim apron). Like most of the long-time staff I spoke with, they no longer have employment. I asked Eric today what his next move would be: maybe Hawaii, he said. He deserves a vacation and more – and we hope he finds it. We’ll miss him, Jeff and the rest of the Peet’s Wellesley cast. As I wrote to you earlier, this is personal for all of us. Even the couple I met outside this morning, who just moved here from Cambridge and, before that, CA, were very sad to see Peet’s leaving town after they discovered it
Thank you for mentioning the staff, Wellesley Peets would not have been the same without them, the service there was very personal, they new people by names, remembered their preferences no matter how weird they could have been, they were a huge part of Wellesley Peets charm. Thanks and good luck to all of them
Clara Liz Thompson says
Over many years I went to Peets. Two closed and now Wellesley. I will miss it. love the coffee and people who worked there. 😊 😢🚴♀️🧋
Turning into Weston…
Not to say bertuccis is that much of a great place but the trend seems to have started from its closing.
Rain Frost says
I am paying off my Chase loan today and never looking back.
Rick Devereux says
I love it – good for you. Cut up your Chase card too if you have one.
And come out April 10 at 10:30 at the 5 way intersection just down the street from Peet’s /Chase, where 350Mass Metrowest and Extinction Rebellion with Sunrise youth will be giving Chase a royal welcome to Wellesley.
Jim S says
We are becoming a town overrun with banks and real estate offices. We should seek greater diversity in the types of establishments that make up our town.
Will miss PEET’S tremendously! Perfect coffee, location, and gathering spot—-even with a few parking spaces. 👏🏼 Thank you, Peet’s!!!! ♥️
robert t mccarthy says
Does wellesley have a law stating we need a bank every 100 feet?? Gimme a break!
Bob Brown says
We visited Andover yesterday, and gotta say, we’re not alone with the all the banks.
This is from the town website: “The Select Board serves as the chief executive board of the Town, and as such, oversees all matters affecting the interest and welfare of the community.”
The Wellesley Board of Select collectively let us all down with this short-sighted decision- this is on them!
Instead of creating more spaces for people to connect and build community (what we all sorely need as we start to envision a future post-pandemic) the Board of Select sanctions this travesty of removing one of the last few communal spaces left in downtown Wellesley (where people of different ethnic/socio-economic actually intermingled) just to add yet another bank to town.
The vast disconnect between the Board and the community with which it supposedly serves is perfectly discernable in this instance.
Rick Devereux says
Don’t forget the Boston-based landlord, Bullfinch, who harvests the gain from our loss. Select Boards can’t be beholden to developers and landlords when it comes to preserving the character of the town. Peet’s was ready to close (corporate decision to pull back from retail all over), But the board needs to take a hand in working with the Wellesley Merchants Association to reduce the number of chains and banks that snap up the prime properties and cause rents all over town to keep going up.
I am happy to embrace change but the departure of Peet’s—and the arrival of yet another bank—leaves me feeling sad. Area shops will certainly feel this as well.
ugh, another stupid bank. how sad we are losing peets. and how i wish a local cafe would move here, Pavement, anything. starbucks has social space but the coffee is terrible. off to Nero!
Al Faber says
Hi.I agree with Local says. A new cafe in town would be wonderful. Perhaps our many Wellesley RE professionals should be devoting their creative professional efforts and or relationships/networks In attracting the appropriate venue.
Folks can make a strong statement by action as well as inaction.
We have more power than many of us believe.
I thought this was a joke at first … another Bank?
Kubra Aydin says
Wellesley doesn’t even have any outdoor area you can eat your pick up order. Peet’s outdoor benches were the only small window of fresh air you could eat outside. I am so sad to hear this!
Deb M. says
Worried about losing great downtown spaces like Peet’s?
Mourning is a good start, but remember that WE HAVE THE POWER to prevent our towns from becoming deserted corridors where no one needs to go (anyone can bank online, right?)!
Get involved in how your town makes decisions!
Voice your opinion to people in power!
Elect leaders who have a vision of a livable community and a livable planet!
Oh, and do cut up your Chase card. Until they stop lending to the fossil fuel industry, they are contributing to destruction far beyond the loss of a coffee shop.
Great tea too. And terrific staff. A sad occasion. Bon voyage!
Why not crowdfund for a new coffee shop in town? Plenty of space available at the moment.
Al Faber says
Hi Jamie. Excellent idea. There should be significant and creative sources for same. Al F.
jim corrigan says
I’ve been a Peet’s guy since my Berkeley days in the mid-70’s. When I returned back east, I could mail order my Madura and Garuda blends – probably not the only one to do so as Peets eventually expanded into the Boston area. From visiting all the Peets here, Wellesley was definitely the best cafe. Lexington is nice but a big tourist town where Peet’s was often over-crowded.
I wrote to the 3 senior execs in Emeryville to express my dismay about closing the Wellesley store and told them there were a number of empty storefronts along Central Street available (due to Covid) and they should try for a good deal and an affordable long-term rental. I also proposed upgrading their market plan and try something new. But to no avail – never heard back.
I’ll miss Peet’s – next one I visit will probably be Walnut and Vine. Jim Corrigan
Rick Devereux says
Thanks for trying, Jim. It’s a terrible loss. If the select board cared about town character and the health of the small merchants in tow network, they could pass an ordinance which dud. it allow landlords to lease to chain banks, especially global ones like Chase and BOA, the biggest lenders to the Fossil Fuel industry $318 billion since Paris agreement 2015.
D.C. al Fine says
This is ignorant scapegoating. Selectmen cannot pass ordinances. Town meeting would have to establish a zoning use exclusion, and it would have to pass muster with the state’s guidelines for use zoning. I’m not sure that excluding large national or regional banks from a commercial district would stand up in court.
Rick D says
Perhaps I spoke as if a simple ordinance could do the trick – you’re correct it is not so simple. But there are ways that have worked for other town areas like the Square. One way is to offer incentives for developing a locally owned businesses so they can afford to start and stay in an area they could not otherwise afford. Does Wellesley do this? I wouldn’t say no way unless there’s no will. Is the will there? That’s what we want to know. If this seems like scapegoating to you, I won’t lose sleep over it.
Just saw this. That Peets was one of the reasons we moved to Wellesley. Disgusted to see another bank replacing it.
John Wiecha says
More banks. Great. Nothing of interest in downtown… a desert…a big reason why we moved out of Wellesley.