Local pizzeria Nice Slice on Thayer Street will permanently close its doors April 15, according to owner Al Read. The independent business made the announcement in a Facebook post the day of its 12th anniversary Tuesday.
Nice Slice will turn what was supposed to be a second location at 767 Westminster on the West Side into its main store.
The company had been struggling to come to an agreement with their landlord, who wanted to raise the price on the property, Read said. “A week ago we were moving upstairs,” Read said. Instead, on Tuesday he signed over the lease. A different business will take over the space, though Read does not know what business that will be.
The property is owned by Angell Alley Associates LLC with Capstone Properties. Capstone owns the building that houses Chipotle and the empty building next to it as well.
Empty nearby storefronts, constant construction and the new Thayer Street parking meters have meant a loss of business, Read said. “We’ve never recovered from this construction project. Our business has declined over the past five years.”
But Antonio’s Pizza manager Ed Ramos said that Thayer Street has constantly cycled through businesses, and that empty storefronts are common along the street.
Read also cited the parking meters as a problem — while they were intended to promote businesses, they instead halted commerce, he said. “People aren’t coming to the street to shop at multiple locations. The functions of the community are off,” he added.
Parking on Thayer Street has never been good, even before the implementation of the meters, Ramos said.
Competition with nearby businesses has caused an additional loss of foot traffic. It is difficult to stand up to large international companies with powerful marketing teams, such as Starbucks, Chipotle and Flatbread Company, Read said. “They come in and they pose as being local and independent-minded, but they’ve got big advertising budgets, and it’s hard to compete with that.”
“We wanted to be here for graduation and Brown’s Spring Weekend, but we weren’t allowed to,” Read said. “They told us we had to leave.”
Read, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and Rhode Island local, regrets having to move away from the University. “I just want to say thank you to the Brown community. We’ll miss being here — and who knows, maybe someday we’ll come back,” Read said.
Correction: A former version of this article said that Capstone Properties owned the Brown University Bookstore building. In fact, they own the empty storefront next to the Chipotle on Thayer, not the Brown University Bookstore building. The Herald regrets the error.