Mayflower Poultry, an East Cambridge, Mass., butcher shop, is moving locations and closing its butcher shop on Cambridge Street. That means that its “Live Poultry Fresh killed” sign, which has hung outside the shop for decades, is to be sold at auction. reports that the sign has become a local institution, and the company has even sold merchandise with the trademarked phrase. The company hasn’t actually killed any poultry for years and has become more of a wholesaler in recent years. Mayflower’s building, which is a historic site that was formerly a Union Railway Car Barn, was sold, and the company has been forced to move, says current owner Jim Gould. He is putting the sign up for auction to help pay down debt accumulated during the COVID pandemic and to help local charities.

“Not that we wouldn’t have loved to have kept [the sign] but, we’re moving and there’s nowhere for the sign to go,” Gould said.

Mayflower Poultry remained open during the pandemic, but Gould said that about 20% of the company’s restaurant customers closed permanently. The company’s wholesale business is being relocated to the Boston Meat Market, and there will no longer be a retail store.

“I mean, it’s just really unfortunate because we loved the interaction with a lot of regular customers,” Gould told “But unfortunately, at the end of the day, all that business doesn’t add up to enough, really, even to pay for two employees, let alone the rent on a building.”

The auction is scheduled for August 26.

““I’m not sure I’m going to stay for sure [at the auction] because I don’t want to be crying in front of everyone,” Gould said. “I think maybe I’ll wait to get the word.”