After 13 years in Miller’s Court, Charmington’s announced plans Friday to shutter its doors by the end of the month.

In a Friday morning email to customers, the cafe, which derived its moniker from the neighborhoods it borders, Remington and Charles Village, did not provide an explanation for its closure.

“We have enjoyed being part of your lives; the simple daily interactions of a coffee shop really add up over the years,” the email read. “You can help us by supporting the staff and being considerate as we finish our time here.”

The cafe thanked customers for using Charmington’s as a reliable spot to work or connect with new people during the pandemic. “We’ve seen relationships bloom, dissertations take shape, nonprofits grow and change our city,” said the statement from the eatery, which serves breakfast food, lunch sandwiches and a large variety of coffee and tea drinks.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Charmington’s previously shared news of financial strain over social media on Oct. 27. To cope, the company shortened their work day by an hour, explaining that it was the only way to fairly compensate staff.

Through Dec. 23, the cafe will remain open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and will open its doors at 8 a.m. on weekends. Staff are still taking catering orders and will be opening holiday cookie tin orders shortly, according to the email.

The local coffee shop made national news in 2015 when President Obama stopped by to discuss family and sick leave. That focus on employees was emphasized in the message sent to customers this week: “One of our primary goals from the start at Charmington’s has been to provide a good work environment, first as a worker-owned co-op, and later as a local business open to non-owner staff. We want to end things at Charmington’s as they started, by prioritizing the needs of our workers.”

The move to shut down the business in the next few weeks makes the community watering hole the second eatery to share news of their closing this week. On Wednesday, Suspended Brewing Company said they would be leaving their home on Washington Boulevard in Pigtown due to an inability to recover from the pandemic.

A couple of customers — one pushing a baby stroller, another walking a dog — stopped Amanda Rothschild, who was by the curb pickup window, to tell her their reaction to the news.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

”I saw the email and thought, ‘I guess I know where I’m getting lunch today,’” one of them said. They promised to go to Charmington’s as much as they could for the next month.

Rothschild teared up. She has been a part of the store for years, working up to be a managing partner. It has been a very rewarding experience, she said, but also exhausting. She said there has been uncertainty since March of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic strained the landscape of local businesses.

”We really wanted this place to be for the community and for the people who work here,” Rothschild said. “And it was getting to a point where we just no longer can meet those goals in a way that is sustainable for us as humans.”

More people started ordering online, which meant the business had to expand. But at the same time, the eatery wasn’t able to have enough staff, pay them equitably and ensure that customers were getting their food on a timely basis, Rothschild said.

”I think that to some degree, we need a new way of looking at business, and we need fresh energy, and time. And that’s, yeah, businesses don’t have right now.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

More supportive programs for businesses and financial incentives, particularly from municipalities and local government, would be helpful in that regard, Rothschild said.

”The bigger businesses really get prioritized. They get a lot of tax breaks, they get a lot of incentives. And it allows them to provide something that we can’t compete in, price-wise,” they added.

When the time comes and the store closes, the staff hopes they will be able to make it a happy moment and plan something community-oriented.

”We have had an amazing time in this community. It’s really changed all of our lives so much,” Rothschild said. “We are all much better, more wiser, more committed-to-the-city people than I think any of us were when we started this. And that was something we never could have imagined.”

matti.gelman@thebaltimorebanner.com

clara.longo@thebaltimorebanner.com

More From The Banner