SOUTH DEERFIELD — Chandler’s Restaurant, a staple of Yankee Candle Village, will close and be replaced with an Au Bon Pain in July. Chandler’s last day of business will be May 14.
Lindsay Kaplan, a spokeswoman for Yankee Candle Co., said the decision was not made lightly, but the company believes the flagship store’s customers will like the addition of breakfast offerings as well as a more casual dining option.
The change follows a yearly review of the flagship store’s operation, according to the company, and is intended to satisfy consumer demand with faster service.
“This transition will allow us to focus on providing the ultimate guest experience for the visitors to the Village store, one of the largest tourist destinations in western Massachusetts,” Kaplan said. The store attracts about a half million customers a year, according to the company.
Chandler’s employees were notified of the pending change on Monday.
Maddy McLean, an Au Bon Pain spokeswoman, said last week the company is excited about the location. It will be the first Au Bon Pain in the western part of the state. The restaurant chain offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with what it describes as a casual and quick dining experience.
If possible, Yankee Candle will offer current Chandler’s employees other opportunities within the company or assist them in finding other jobs, according to the company. It was not clear at press time how many people Yankee employs at Chandler’s and the store’s cafe.
The cafe within the Yankee Candle store will remain open as Chandler’s transitions to Au Bon Pain, and a week ahead of the opening in July that cafe will also be switched over to Au Bon Pain.
“We want to thank the Chandler’s team for its hard work and dedication to delighting our guests over the years — and we will be providing them with transition support,” Kaplan said on behalf of the company. “We look forward to continuing to be a part of this vibrant, local community.”
Chandler’s was opened by Yankee Candle’s founder Michael Kittredge in April 1995 as the business was expanding into one of the world’s largest candle makers. It was to provide a family dining experience featuring New England-style food. It later became known for an extensive wine selection.