Friday, July 12, 2024

Black Ink in Harvard Square will stop sales at the end of the year of its housewares, bath items, children’s toys, greeting cards and more from around the world. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Black Ink is closing in Harvard Square after 18 years, owner Susan Corcoran said.

The shop will shut its doors forever at the end of the year, the victim of an “unsustainable” rent increase from property investment company Asana Partners of Charlotte, North Carolina. Not far down from the quirky general store at 5 Brattle St. was Crema Cafe at 27 Brattle St., another locally owned small business forced out by Asana rent increases. It closed in December after 10 years in business; a New York coffee chain is due to replace it.

It’s not known what Black Ink’s 1,000-square-foot location and basement will become; the Asana-owned former Hidden Sweets space has been vacant since December 2016. 

Black Ink will keep its store at 101 Charles St., Boston, Corcoran said Wednesday.

She and staff prepared a typically stylish goodbye banner to hang starting Thursday in the Harvard Square shop’s front window. 

“I’m so sorry to say this, but at the end of the year Black Ink will be forced to close,” the banner says, thanking staff, the community and its creative vendors around the world. “Please remember to continue to support those businesses in your community that you treasure.”

Vice mayor Jan Devereux, who has struggled to make Asana more responsive to community concerns, said that she mourned the loss of another locally owned business.

“Black Ink has been a family business all along, and Susan has demonstrated a lot of resiliency, but the last couple of years have been even more challenging to weather,” Devereux said.

“Losing Black Ink will be a big blow to Harvard Square’s local retail ecosystem, and another sign that the recent changes in ownership are taking a toll on the unique independent stores that have set the square apart from other shopping districts,” Devereux said. “Personally, I’m very sad to lose my go-to store for distinctive gifts and cards.”

Asana was asked for comment Wednesday by email.