In 34 years owning Brookline Booksmith, a beloved local bookstore in the Coolidge Corner section of the Boston suburb, Dana Brigham has endured winters. Just never winters like this one.
“This has been unbelievable,’’ Brigham said in an interview Monday afternoon. “Just so much more intense, and so much more difficult for everybody.’’
“Just the simplest things are well-nigh impossible,’’ Brigham said. “Getting people to work. The trash out back’’ – which had to be hand-unloaded from a Dumpster by employees and thrown into a truck after the back loading dock became impassable from snow.
On top of everything else Brigham’s been dealing with, the for the fourth day in three weeks Monday, the MBTA cancelled streetcar service on the Beacon Street ‘C’ branch of the Green Line. That, she said, was “brutal. Brutal. We get so much foot traffic from the T a block away. It's really reduced our foot traffic, and for employees it's just been so hard.’’ She estimated that with everything combined, she had about 10 percent of the normal number of customers she would have on a Monday holiday. “Today, the store would be packed on a holiday Monday, so we have had many fewer customers, certainly. We've been down double digits all these weeks of snow.’’
It’s a story that’s all too familiar to fellow Brookline businesswoman Beth Venti, owner of the Wild Goose Chase boutique. She’d fought through the teeth of the blizzard to open Sunday -- only to draw a grand total of two customers in five hours, “two lovely ladies that came in the morning, had never been in the store before. They were just out walking around looking for a cup of coffee, and they wandered on in and bought a pair of earrings. So that was about it for the day. A big whopping $28 – but least I was here with a smile.’’
One business owner you might expect to actually like this weather is Brendan Kenney of Connelly Hardware in Washington Square. And he confirmed that “we're doing three, four times the business we would normally do this time of year.’’ But even Kenney is not so happy.
“There’s been a shortage of ice melt, and no snow blowers. There's been shortages. You can't get roof rakes,’’ Kenney said. “It’s difficult because of all the shopping bans and just getting around on the sidewalk for customers to get here.’’
“It’s been great for business,’’ Kenney said, “but I'm all set with the snow for the rest of the winter. We're good.’’