Inside J. Press’s venerable Harvard Square shop, little has changed. Customers browse close-set racks of blazers. Shelves of shirts compete with photos and memorabilia for wall space. Only outside the brick storefront is tradition interrupted. Plastered on the windows are fliers: After 86 years, the iconic men’s clothing store is closing its local outlet.
“J. Press had been in negotiations with the building’s landlord for terms to maintain its current location on Mount Auburn Street, however, the two parties were unable to come to an agreement,” read a statement issued in the name of Jun Murakami, president of J. Press USA to the Boston Globe. “J. Press takes its history at this location very seriously and tried to work for a way to keep it, but given the increasing rents in the area over the past several years, it did not work.” The first-floor space is leased from the Fly Club.
This isn’t the end of J. Press as a company, and it may yet return to the Cambridge area. The apparel company, which is owned by Japanese firm Onward Kashiyama, will still have its flagship New Haven store, its Washington, D.C., shop, and its recently reopened New York City branch, after the Aug. 29 closing of its Cambridge store at 82 Mount Auburn St.
The firm declined to respond to questions about the future of the chain, but the clothier associated with Ivy League style cited these outlets, as well as its jpressonline.com website, as ongoing concerns in its press statement. The company said it “hopes to find a space in the area to reopen in the future.”