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Arlington Heights Panera Closing

See what a company spokeswoman said about the decision.

After weeks of rumors and speculation, it’s official: the Arlington Heights Panera is closing near the end of the month.

A Panera Bread spokeswoman confirmed the news Wednesday, although she would not specify which day will be the bakery’s last.

The bakery, at 1398 Mass. Ave., opened in 1998. After it’s gone, the four closest Paneras will be the one in Waltham at 1100 Lexington St., the two relatively new ones in Lexington Center (1684 Mass. Ave.) and Cambridge’s Porter Square (5 White St.) and the one going in at the Fresh Pond Mall in Cambridge.

Jackie Halfond, the spokeswoman and local marketing manager at Panera Bread, said the St. Louis-based company will “serve to support” the Arlington Heights employees looking to “continue with the brand.”

Here is her full statement, which was emailed to Arlington Patch Wednesday evening:

As one of Panera Bread’s oldest locations and the second market to open in Boston, the Arlington bakery-cafe has been a wonderful location for the company. The community has been very supportive of the bakery-cafe and the managers and associates have loved being a part of the neighborhood since they opened their doors in 1998.

Panera continually invests in efforts to improve and renovate bakery-cafes to ensure that their customers have the dining experience they have come  (to) appreciate from the brand. Unfortunately, in some existing locations, it has been difficult to achieve the standards they believe will meet customer expectations. With the expiration of their lease, they have taken the opportunity to close the Arlington bakery-cafe for this reason. The company has been very fortunate over the past several years to open several new bakery-cafes in the surrounding communities that they believe the Arlington customers will be able to visit, including Lexington, Porter Square and very soon Cambridge-Alewife.

These cafes will also serve to support the Arlington [bakery-cafe’s] associates and managers who wish to continue with the brand.

Are you sad to see Panera go? Has the Arlington Heights location not been meeting your expectations? And what would you like to see replace the bakery? Let us know by posting a comment below.

JanS March 25, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Maybe the same fate for East Arlington, if the proposed decrease in Mass Ave lanes project proceeds. Keep 4 lanes in the east!
Sheila Packard March 26, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Never failed to see someone I knew there - a real community meeting spot. Over the years have met friends for coffee, watched groups of folks old and young sharing stories, had family dinners when we just weren't up to cooking - this spot was not just a chain, it had become part of the fabric of Arlington Heights. Hope its replacement can be that, too.
Steven Kleinma April 02, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Perhaps the blame should be laid at the landlord's feet. How many stores close because the landlord decides to charge excessive rent, refuses to upgrade the infrastructure of the building, or perhaps it is just the reality of needing to close a business to bring the facility up to new and improved standards.
Bob Sprague April 02, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Do you have any specific information that the landlord was to blame, or are you just speculating? Bob Sprague
Molly Johnson April 12, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Oh darn, I was so hoping it was a temporary closure for renovations! I need to let the posse know....there may well be weeping. Yes, we can go to Lexington, and we will, but it's so not the same. A Panera Cares spot in there would be marvelous! Okay, I dream big. Always have, always will.

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