NEWTON CENTRE - Brown butcher paper covers the windows. A note on a door says the shop has merged with a sister store in Wellesley. John Dewar & Co., purveyor of quality meat and gourmet goods, has shut its original butcher store after 33 years.
The Jan. 9 closing came with little notice. Just weeks ago, customers filled the green and rust red-trimmed shop at 755 Beacon St. for holiday orders. Founder John Dewar says a “compendium of a bunch of things’’ was behind the consolidation: limited metered parking, fraying interior store space, and declining business. He says many customers who also wanted to buy produce and baked goods were bypassing the store for Whole Foods farther down Beacon Street.
“We felt we were fighting a losing battle,’’ says the butcher. “We had a loyal core following but, for one reason or another, business was declining on a yearly basis. It wasn’t going in the direction the business should do. It has to grow, or die.’’
The Wellesley store opened in 2004. More sleek and modern than the cramped Newton shop, the 1,700-square-foot store is easy to navigate and has free parking. “The Wellesley store is a vibrant, busy, busy store,’’ Dewar says. He endorsed the consolidation, made by T.F. Kinnealey & Co., which bought his business in 2006. Kinnealey is a 73-year-old, family-owned quality meat business based in Brockton, with a retail outlet in the Fruit Center Marketplace Milton.
The Newton Centre closing is a blow for small businesses; commerce in this part of the city has become dominated by banks in the past decade. “I’m a little sad,’’ says Darius Kazemi of Cambridge. “I felt a sense of community when I went into John Dewar’s in Newton, like I was being taken care of. It’s great to go to Whole Foods and talk to the butcher there, but I don’t feel like I get the instruction on the meat like I always get at John Dewar’s. I’m glad they’ll still be in Wellesley.’’
John Dewar & Co., 227 Linden St., Wellesley, 781-235-8322. T.F. Kinnealey & Co., Fruit Center Marketplace Milton, 6 Bassett St., Milton, 617-696-2260.Peggy Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.