Boston sales returning in wake of bombing - The Packer

Boston sales returning in wake of bombing

04/22/2013 10:02:00 AM
Jim Offner

Ken Cavallaro, treasurer of Chelsea-based John Cerasuolo Co. IncFile photoKen Cavallaro, treasurer of Chelsea-based John Cerasuolo Co. Inc., shown in a 2009 photo, says business was returning to normal by end of the week, after the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon. Fruit and vegetable vendors were back to usual business a week after the Boston Marathon bombing brought the city to a standstill for several days.

Some concerns remain that the business was vulnerable to such attacks in the future.

“There’s very little we can do to plan around something like that,” said Ken Cavallaro, treasurer of Chelsea-based John Cerasuolo Co. Inc.

Local produce deliveries were locked out of a number of destinations at the end of the week, only days after the April 15 bombing, as law officials conducted a manhunt for suspects. Much of downtown Boston was cordoned off to traffic.

Produce sales were interrupted, although the scale of interruption depended on who was buying, said wholesalers at the New England Produce Center, Chelsea.

“It’s definitely quiet here today, but we had a good week,” said Maurice Crafts, salesman with Coosemans Boston Inc. in Chelsea.

Chelsea is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Boston, which was closed off April 19 as police intensified the manhunt.

“Whether things slowed down depends on what companies you’re doing business with and where you’re doing business,” Crafts said. “Obviously, if you do business downtown, it’s off a bit.”

Some businesses were reporting having trouble getting their vehicles to customers, Crafts said.

“There’s certain roads in Boston, Cambridge and Watertown where nobody’s allowed in or out, but that hasn’t affected us,” Crafts said.

Sam Rocco, president of BC Produce Inc. in Chelsea, said April 19 his business wasn’t affected — for the moment.

“We don’t deliver, so it’s not affecting us so much today, but what it’s doing is shutting down tons of restaurants,” he said, April 19 at the height of the manhunt for the second bombing suspsect.

It also affected BC Produce transactions with vendors at downtown Boston’s Haymarket, who were ordered to evacuate the morning hours of April 19, Rocco said.

“A lot of product goes from here to there,” Rocco said.

The ripple effect would extend well beyond the immediate crisis, he said.

“You think of all those people that come into the city; that’s all lost business,” he said.

Things likely wouldn’t improve for awhile, Rocco said.

“I’m expecting next week to be pretty slow because all the people have inventory they aren’t using,” he said.

All orders were canceled among Rocco’s customers that service restaurants in the affected areas, Rocco said.

George Salis, general manager of wholesaler Peter Condakes Co. Inc., Chelsea, said the situation was “unprecedented.”

“A significant part of the area has been affected,” he said. “We’re calling first to make sure we can get there, but the nucleus of where police have shut everything down is completely paralyzed.”

Things started to settle by week’s end, Cavallaro said.

“Seems like, come Saturday (April 20), everybody got pretty busy, except for the immediate area,” he said.

Some of Condakes’ customers were cut off from their scheduled deliveries April 19, Salis said.



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