Philadelphia-based coffee company and sustainable retailer United By Blue closed both of its Philadelphia locations, one of which was located on Penn’s campus.
United By Blue closed the two locations — one at 3421 Walnut Street and one at 205 Race Street — on March 30. In response to a request for comment, Penn’s Facilities and Real Estate Services, which leased the space to the coffee shop, confirmed the permanent closure of the store to The Daily Pennsylvanian. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, which reported on the closure on March 31, the brand will continue to sell merchandise on its website.
"[U]nfortunately, we did make the decision to close our cafe locations," a spokesperson for United By Blue wrote in response to a request for comment. "This was not an easy decision to make because we love our Philly community so much. But don't worry, we'll still be around to keep the community clean with our clean-up events."
"Thanks for sticking with us as we go through this transition," the statement added.
United By Blue is an artisan coffee shop and outdoor apparel retailer that was founded in 2010. The brand is devoted to sustainability and eco-friendly products. As part of its brand mission, it promised to remove one pound of trash from the ocean for every product purchased. The University City location opened in 2014 and underwent an expansion in 2017.
The brand was founded by Brian Linton and Mike Cangi and was acquired by clothing company Naadam last year, the Inquirer reported.
On March 29, a sign on the door of the University City location stated that the store would be closed for the day. The closure comes after the location closed for almost a week in January after being cited for over a dozen health violations.
Engineering senior Sydney Ellman worked at United By Blue as a barista since January and said that employees were informed of the closure via email on the night of March 29.
“They told us Wednesday night that we were officially closed forever starting Thursday,” Ellman said. “It was completely unexpected.”
Ellman said that employees were also not given a reason for the closure.
“I think it could’ve been handled with a little more transparency," she said.
United By Blue is one of several businesses and eateries that have recently closed in University City. Craft bar and restaurant City Tap House and fried chicken restaurant Wishbone both closed in February. Korean restaurant Koreana closed in April of last year, and Mexican-fusion restaurant Distrito closed last summer.