After several years of financial struggles, the Harvest Co-op is closing its two remaining stores -- one in Jamaica Plain and the other in Cambridge -- in seven to 14 days.
In July, the Harvest Co-op's board of directors sent out an email detailing the possibility of the National Co+op Grocers (NCG) purchasing Harvest's assets. But that plan didn't work out.
"It was our hope that National Co+op Grocers (NCG) could provide a financially sustainable solution that continued Harvest’s operations with as little disruption as possible. We learned a few days ago that NCG determined that they would not be submitting a proposal for us to consider," said an email from the Harvest Co-op Markets Board of Directors on Wednesday afternoon. "In light of this fact, and the reality that we have no other viable options to rescue the Co-op, the Board has determined that the most responsible act is to close the stores in order to get the most value out of our assets to address as much of our financial obligations as possible."
Through its legal counsel and primary lender, the Cooperative Fund of New England, the Co-op board agreed to close its stores within the next seven to 14 days. There will be a going-out-of-business sale, which will go to help pay off creditors.
"We determined that this is the right action to take in order to ensure all Harvest employees, many of whom have supported us for many years, will receive their final payments. We had to act quickly because of the cash position of the Co-op and the fact that the stores continue to lose money each day," said the letter.
There will be a final board meeting on Oct. 8 at 6:30 pm at the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge Center in Jamaica Plain. The only item on the agenda is a member-owner Q&A, during which the Board will try to answer any questions.
The closing seemed like an eventual outcome in May when the Harvest Co-op board sent a letter stating that $300,000 needed to be raised by August or the co-op's two locations in Jamaica Plain and Cambridge would close.
The closure of its stores ends a longtime community business that once had multiple locations throughout the Boston area. In the last few years the Harvest Co-op moved from its very popular South Street location to its current location on Washington Street by Forest Hills. While that store was more modern looking, it never had a following like the South Street location.