With the city seeing record amounts of snowfall this season, day-to-day operations bring unprecedented and unforeseen challenges for Beacon Hill businesses.
“As the owners of neighborhood restaurants, we tend to never want to close, but with the T shutting down so often, we’ve had a very hard time getting staff to and from work,” said Babak Bina, who owns and operates Lala Rokh on Mt. Vernon Street and Bin 26 Enoteca on Charles Street with his sister, Azita Bina-Seibel. “We’ve resorted to picking them up and bringing them in ourselves.”
Four blizzards in just over three weeks have shuttered both restaurants on most Sundays and Mondays, and Bina said staying in business on some other days has actually cost him money due to slow sales.
“Simple things like getting produce to Bin 26 and meat and fish to Lala Rokh has been difficult,” Bina said. “We’ve spent more time shoveling than anything else.”
The weather also delayed the grand reopening of Lala Rokh by a week as new furniture for the restaurant sat in a warehouse without an available deliveryman.
“With all enthusiasm around the reopening of Lala Rokh, it did kind of put a damper on things for us, but of course, we’re not in Hawaii, we’re in Massachusetts,” Bina said. “We hope that Mother Nature will just start agreeing a little more.”
Jennifer Hill, proprietor of Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill on Charles Street, cited parking, public transportation and snow removal as her three biggest challenges as a business owner this winter.
“It’s hard for people to make deliveries because the snow is so mountainous,” Hill said.
While business at Blackstone’s has been slower than usual in recent weeks as would-be shoppers seek refuge inside, the Charles Street gift remained open during the storms, which Hill views as something of a service to the neighborhood.
“People get cabin fever and just want to come in and talk,” Hill said. “They’re overwhelmed, just as much as we are.”