When Beacon Hill Cleaners learned last week that they would have to indefinitely vacate their longtime home at 151 Charles St. with less than two days’ notice, the office of District 8 City Councilor Kenzie Bok stepped up to lend a hand.
Beacon Hill Cleaners, which has operated continuously at the Charles Street location since opening in January of 1991, received a letter dated Jan. 3 from the Boston law firm of Ruberto, Israel & Weiner P.C. The letter, sent on behalf of the drycleaner’s landlord, Charles and Cambridge Corner LLC, informed the business they must vacate the premises by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. Structural concerns related to excavation and construction next door next door at 149 Charles St., the former home of the Beacon Hill Pub, was given as the reason for this mandate.
(Charles and Cambridge Corner LLC, a subsidiary of the Egeria Group, an Amsterdam-based capital management firm with offices on Newbury Street, completed the purchase of 151-151A Charles St. as part of a portfolio, which also contained 153-159 Charles St., from Atlantic Capital Partners in January of last year.)
Several tenants of residential units above Beacon Hill Cleaners were also vacated from their homes due to the structural concerns.
Upon learning of the predicament facing Beacon Hill Cleaners, Councilor Bok and her staff were able secure a van, generously loaned to them by Boston Building Trades and Plumbers Local 12, which was used on Friday night to transport customers’ clothing to the Quincy home of the business’s owners, Le Dung Thi Tran and her husband, Hai Van Tran. The Trans plan to store customers’ clothing at their home temporarily until they can return the garments to their owners.
“[The Trans] spent the brief notice period before the closure calling through all their clients to let them know about this surprise development,” wrote Councilor Bok. “Without access to their brick-and-mortar space for the time being, they will be hand-delivering customer items to Charles Street by request for now.”
Beacon Hill Cleaners has no idea how long they’ll be out of their Charles Street space, said Councilor Bok, whose office has brought this to the attention of the city’s Small Business team. Her office will also be standing by to offer the Trans any additional help they need, added Councilor Bok, “whether through city grants or by helping to find them a new location if necessary.”
Councilor Bok wrote: “I’m very distressed about what has happened in the past week to Beacon Hill Cleaners. Having to close with less than two days’ notice would be hard for any local business, and it’s especially tough for a dry cleaner, as they hold customer items onsite for extended periods of time. When we heard about the emergency closure, my team knew how difficult it would be for Beacon Hill Cleaners, and we offered to help however we could.”
Moreover, she added: “The Tran family’s high quality work and fair prices have made their business a fixture on Charles Street for more than three decades. Their loyal patrons include many Beacon Hill residents and other businesses on the street. At a time when we’re trying to get more local immigrant-owned businesses into our downtown business districts, it’s especially disheartening to see a business like this go through such an unexpected disruption through no fault of their own.”
Councilor Bok called Beacon Hill Cleaners “an example of what makes Charles Street such a strong ecosystem of independent local businesses,” as well as a neighborhood business “we don’t want to lose.”
Neither the Egeria Group, nor Ruberto, Israel & Weiner could be immediately reached for comment. Neighbors can express support, and customers can schedule retrieval of their garments, by calling 617-742-6919 or emailing [email protected]