Supporting Lexington Small Businesses Amidst Closures

Audi Lin and Nikhita Prasad

The recent flurry of business closures in Lexington Center has deeply affected the Lexington community. Both residents and business owners have been impacted by these closings, and during these tumultuous times, supporting local businesses is vital.

Recently, in the Center, both Starbucks and Panera Bread closed down. Before that, residents saw the crêpe shop—Tres Petite Creperie—close as well. These locations were especially popular among students.

 “The center and all the businesses in the center are just a really big part of our community and all the high school students and middle school students all go to the center to convene and create this unity,” Grace Ou, a junior at Lexington High School, said. “Seeing all of the businesses that have been here for years leave feels like we are losing a part of our community.” 

Both Starbucks and Panera closed after struggling to pay their rent. 

“I think personally the rent is really high in Lexington. Also, with COVID it’s really hard to find staffing,” Aoife Brennan, an LHS student and an employee at Abbott’s, a local custard business, said. 

As the pandemic continues and financial limitations persist, other Lexington businesses may have difficulty staying open. These hardships seem likely to worsen as winter approaches, and more people are hesitant to dine indoors.

Now that Starbucks and Panera have closed, dining space in the town center is limited. More people frequent locations like Rancatore’s, a well-known ice cream shop in the Center.

 “We’ve gotten more customers because there’s a lack of space and also food and places people can hang out in Lexington,” Nora Mabuci, an employee at Rancatore’s, said.

For businesses to remain open, creating a welcoming environment for their customers is key.

 “We have our owner here a lot talking to people, building relationships with people in the town, and I think that’s something that has affected our business and being able to stay in business versus the other chain businesses,” Mabuci said.

 Brennan also spoke about daily resource management, which allows businesses to save any excess products for necessary times later on, rather than letting them go to waste. It’s a strategy that could be effective if implemented by other businesses.

 “We use a lot of our products wisely like saving the ones we don’t necessarily need to use. We run our custard fresh every day, and we don’t run too much custard if we know it won’t be bought much,” Brennan said. 

As a community, we can help keep businesses open. The solution is simple—support local businesses.

 “People can find a Panera and a Starbucks everywhere, in so many towns, everywhere. But Rancatore’s is so special to so many people and it provides a certain type of quality that you can’t find at a chain business,” Mabuci said. 

The welcoming atmosphere at Rancatore’s is part of what makes their business successful in the Lexington community.

 “We’re going back into the winter season, so keep up with supporting local businesses and making sure that you’re doing takeout and visiting the center every so often to buy stuff,” Ou said.