Black Ink opens its doors for a final day of business in Harvard Square

An “unsustainable” rent increase is forcing the closure of the Cambridge location for the beloved purveyor of “unexpected necessities.”

Susan Corcoran with her son, Finn, and daughter, Rory, inside Black Ink.
Susan Corcoran with her son, Finn, and daughter, Rory, inside Black Ink. –Courtesy of Susan Corcoran

Black Ink will open its doors in Harvard Square Tuesday for a final day of business in Cambridge.

The beloved local retailer of “unexpected necessities” will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., owner Susan Corcoran told, and the last day of operation for Black Ink’s Cambridge location will include a 12 p.m. performance by aerialist and circus performer Emily Lebowitz. 

Messages of support poured in to the business’s social media following the announcement of the final day in Harvard Square. 

“So sorry to see you close,” wrote one customer. “Your community activism on behalf of the square was so appreciated.”


“Thank you for all the community work you did around the changing of the neighborhood,” wrote another.  

Corcoran told on Tuesday morning she’s grateful for all the community support she’s received.

“It’s been an amazing run here in Harvard Square and I want to thank my amazing staff past and present; they truly collaborated with me to make Black Ink special!” she wrote in an email. “We hope to see everyone in our Boston store in the New Year.”

Corcoran announced in September that an “unsustainable” rent increase would force the closure of the Brattle Street shop. The Black Ink owner then kicked off a project she called “Dear Asana Partners,” collecting messages of support from customers, which she has mailed to her out-of-state landlord.

Susan Corcoran holds a notebook in November containing messages to Asana written by her customers. —Dialynn Dwyer /

“There was no gain for me,” she told in November. “I don’t think it will change anyone’s mind, but I did want to get this on record, what was happening here and how people felt about their own community being hijacked. And they’re not happy about it.”

Asana bought her building and a stretch of storefronts along Brattle Street in 2017 for $108 million. Crema Cafe, a former tenant, departed last December citing a failure to negotiate a new lease with the landlord. Flat Patties, another tenant of Asana, also announced it will close by the end of the year. 


Corcoran and her husband, Tim, opened the Harvard Square location for Black Ink in 2001 and the Brattle Street shop became the headquarters for the business. Tim was diagnosed with cancer soon after the shop opening and passed away in 2003. 

“This is my home,” Corcoran told in November, speaking about the significance of the Harvard Square location to her and her children. 

The original storefront for Black Ink — on Charles Street in Boston — will remain open as the sole location for the 25-year-old business.


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