Dedicated customers help weather-stricken businesses

The record snow and arctic cold this winter has affected all facets of life, including putting a dent in local businesses’ bottom line. But some owners and business associations say that has been helped by dedicated customers.

David Doyle, owner of Tres Gatos and Centre Street Cafe, said in an email to the Gazette that while it’s hard to measure the overall effect of all the storms, his two establishments have certainly lost businesses when they’ve been forced to close.

But, he said, they try everything within their power not to close because they’re neighborhood businesses and that the “loyal regulars” have “really stepped up and come out to support us.”

“It’s really gratifying as a staff to rally to open the restaurant during a storm, then have our guests express their gratitude that we made the effort, and are providing a place to come for hot food, maybe a drink or two, and some company,” said Doyle. “To me, that’s the real reward of being a neighborhood restaurant—you feel really connected to your community.”

Luis Edgardo Cotto, executive director of Egleston Square Main Street, said in an email to the Gazette that all businesses in the area have been open for their regular schedules and that it helps that the district is “a very stereotypical small, independent commercial strip in that everyone supports everyone else.”

He said the biggest issue for the district has been parking, especially with the emergency bans that have taken place and the domino affect they have.

“Tensions have been high on the parking front,” Cotto said.

He noted that about 8 to 10 businesses in the district have been operating since the 1995-1996 winter, which was another record-setting season.

“They are super resilient,” said Cotto.

Hyde/Jackson Square Main Street (HJSMS) executive director Gerald Robbins said in an email to the Gazette his district is “really hurting right now” because of the weather, but that with help from the City, the organization is offering free businesses development services to cope with the challenges.

“We are working with quite a few [businesses] right now and we hope that this helps them increase their profits and move beyond weather challenges,” he said.

The City later announced “Boston Bingo,” a game created to help Main Street businesses recover from losses suffered because of the snow. The game features bingo cards encouraging people to go to a particular type of business, snap a photo and post it on social media. For more information, visit

Robbins also took the opportunity to ask that everyone shovel in front of their properties in order to allow the area to thrive.

Adam Rutstein, owner of the Centre Street Sanctuary, which is in HJSMS’s district, said in an email to the Gazette that business has taken a hit, especially when the restaurant had to close on a recent Sunday, as its brunch is “one of our busier shifts.” He said Valentine’s Day, a traditionally busy time at restaurants, was “good, but not great.”

“Fortunately, most of our reservations did show up, but we did not have as much walk-in traffic as usual and we closed an hour early so my team could get home because T service was stopping at midnight that day,” said Rutstein.

He said the restaurant has tried to be open whenever it is possible.

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