After almost 80 years in Belmont, Brigham’s Ice Cream is closing its doors.
The ice cream shop at 2 Trapelo Road is closing for business today as the co-owners say business has been down and they can't afford to renew their lease.
John Mercer, who co-owns the business with partner Steven Kupelnick, said attempts to sell the business have not been successful, even though they thought they might have a buyer.
In a telephone interview this afternoon, Mercer said that the Brigham’s is open for business today, but will likely be closed tomorrow.
He and Kupelnick also own a Brigham’s on Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington Heights, but the two have just signed a new lease for the Arlington location and plan to stay open.
The Belmont Brigham’s, which opened on Trapelo Road in the spring of 1932, is one of a handful of independently owned Brigham’s Ice Cream shops that have remained open even after the struggling Brigham’s company was sold in 2008. More than a dozen Brigham’s restaurants operated by Deal Metrics LLC closed in 2009.
Kupelnick, 48, said he has worked at the Brigham's in Belmont since he was 13 years old and his dad Jack Kupelnick owned the business.
Mercer said he believes the closing of the Belmont location will leave four independently-owned Brigham’s, including the Arlington location. He said the Belmont location was the oldest remaining location.
Between 10 to 12 employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closure. The shop employed around 20 people during the summer, he said.
“It’s a shame because we didn’t want to leave,” Mercer said.
Mercer said he and his partner have owned the business for 12 years and Kupelnick’s father had also owned the business. Employees will still be moving out of the Belmont location Tuesday, and if longtime customers stop by asking for ice cream, Mercer said he will give them some for free to show the store’s gratitude.
“We’d like to say goodbye to a lot of them,” Mercer said.
Having an ice cream cone with his father Mark Nilan of Watertown Monday, 11-year-old Mark Nilan Jr. said he's been coming to the Brigham's in Belmont since he was in pre-school and he will miss it.
"I'm really sad it's closing," he said.