Wednesday, June 19, 2024

An Amazon pickup location is set to open Thursday in Central Square after the retailer accommodated Cambridge zoning and put a capital “A” on its usually lowercase logo. (Photo: John Hawkinson)

Amazon has replaced its trademark lowercase “a” with a capital “A” to get around Cambridge zoning and open its pickup store, receiving permission Thursday from the city – six months after it first tried. The retailer hasn’t announced when doors will open at the 624 Massachusetts Ave. site, also known as One Central Square.

Previously, the city’s Inspectional Services Department had ruled that Amazon’s “colors and signs” marked it as a “formula business,” triggering a provision of zoning meant to limit the presence of national chains and encourage smaller, independently owned retailers and eateries. The provision was added in 2017 by the City Council over the objections of City Solicitor Nancy Glowa, who wrote that it was inconsistent with recent case law.

Amazon was expected to either challenge the zoning ordinance or apply for a special permit and chose to do neither.

The pickup store at 624 Massachusetts Ave., also known as One Central Square, after removing its lowercase “a.” (Photo: John Hawkinson)

Instead, it obtained permits to install exterior signs last month and put them up with its trademarked lower-case “amazon,” but omitted the originally planned 4-foot rightward curving arrow beneath, known as the “smile” logo.

After some back-and-forth with Inspectional Services, Amazon removed the lowercase “a,” making the store sign simply “mazon.” The city inspected on Wednesday and issued a certificate of occupancy permit on Thursday.

A capital “A” has been installed since. Signs on the doors say “Opening Soon,” with hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Out of what may or may not be an abundance of caution, lettering on the doors directs customers to “” The link goes to Mazon Associates, a Texas-based “factoring” company.

At least for a while, even the lettering on the door seemed to belong to something called “” (Photo: John Hawkinson)