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Plant-based juice bar and cafe in JP shutting down; cites unprofitability even as it grew busier

Carrot Flower, 703 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, told patrons today it will be closing next month:

I'm writing with great sadness to announce that Carrot Flower will be closing permanently on May 23. Our lease is ending, and we've made the incredibly difficult decision not to renew.

There are many reasons why we're closing, but it boils down to the fact that we haven't found a way to be profitable after four years. This might surprise some of you since we're busier than ever and people love our food. Unfortunately, being busy and popular does not always lead to profitability, especially in the food service industry. We just haven't been able to make the margins work in our favor.

Thank you to all our amazing customers for the love and support you've given us from the start. I hope you know how truly grateful we are. The many times you've asked how we're doing, told us how much you appreciate us, how much you love our food, our vibe, our space—this is what kept us going through some trying times.

I will truly miss our many regulars who visit us daily and whom I've come to consider friends. I'll still be in JP and hope to see you around.

We're planning to stay open 5 days/week until the end, but please bear with us as we are operating with minimal staff. As we wind down operations, our hours may be a bit erratic. We will update our Facebook page with any schedule changes.

And finally, please continue to support our local small businesses. I've spoken with many JP business owners who are also struggling. Be kind to the workers, only leave good reviews and shop local whenever possible.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to realize my dream of opening Carrot Flower. It has been a pleasure serving you.

Much love,

Audrey and the Carrot Flower Team

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Comments

I'm hesitant to ask what a non-plant-based juice would be. . .

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Voting closed 15

is the official tagline

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For example, vitamin D3 is often sourced from fish oil or lanolin,

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The actual tagline is "Plant-based cafe and juice bar".

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How are the meat based juice bars doing?

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I don't want to be a dink here, and I know operating a food service establishment is incredibly hard, but if you are getting busier and not turning a profit, the only answer really points at raising prices. I assume they got to the point where they were falling far enough behind that even a small price hike wasn't going to make the unit economics work, and looking at a new lease was daunting. Too bad they couldn't make it work out.

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Voting closed 27

There's only so much you can raise prices, and it could be that the cost of the new lease made it prohibitive.

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With the former 7-11 sitting vacant this is not the best thing for Centre Street. Probably not enough space for a retailer. Even for a food seller the space is small.

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I was going to post much the same thing. I thought that if people loved them so much, they could add a buck to each smoothy/bowl and people would go for it. By the looks of their prices, things are pretty pricey already, so there simply may not have been room to charge more.

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If you raise the prices and the volume of sales drops, you're back to where you started.

This is doubly true if you loose an economy of scale with the decrease in orders.

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I was imagining posting a sign saying, "I'm sorry we're raising out prices, but we're still not making a profit and we have to." If I was a regular, I probably wouldn't buy any less despite the added cost.

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It sounds from the posting, as though demand probably exceeded production capacity. If so, they could indeed raise prices. We here in a UHub discussion don't really have enough data to know whether there is any price elasticity, but it's certainly not always the case that raising prices decreases sales.

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Unfortunately, this is going to be the norm for the next few years.

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What are you implying? It's been the norm FOREVER. Sad truth is most restaurants fail. It's a very, very tough business.

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I think you’re both right. Hard to run a restaurant and now it’s getting even more difficult. The small business closing disparity in city vs outside the city may continue.

https://www.boston25news.com/news/health/44-percent-boston-small-busines...

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they had probably the best acai I’ve had since moving to Boston. comparing to juicy greens down the street, carrot flower’s prices seem cheaper? definitely far cheaper than anything I had in California. obviously they’ve been at this for 4 years and couldn’t make it work, but wonder if JP could stomach higher prices for a juice bar

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I was told a few years ago that they pay $82/SF. That's high but was also told that this is the going rate for "downtown JP". At such a small space that's $4800/mo, then add taxes, insurance and maintenance. It was probably a 5-year lease and rent is going up. Small spaces can get such a high rent but you have to be an extremely scrappy and creative entrepreneur to make it work. Organic health foods come with a premium unprepared let alone prepared. Their prices were fair but asking for more to offset rent etc was probably not a reality. It was/is a great shop.

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Nice people. I wish them success in the future endeavors.

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Answer isn't 100% prices. The answer is why is Galway so successful to date for generations.

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Spell it out for me

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