Sticking My Nose Where It Don’t Belong

Posted on July 29, 2012

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I just met the new tenants moving into the commercial space next door. You know, the one that’s been home to several different convenience stores in the last 2 years, remained vacant for months at a time and once housed 4 bored and horny pitbulls, one of which almost burst through our fence.

These are the stores that sell everything and nothing: Cool Ranch Doritos, Vitamin Water, Frosted Flakes and huge bags of rice. The owner of one these defunct business, Brinwell Wholesale and Retail, is a close relative of someone nabbed in the most recent EBT sting, or so I am told.

Before the convenience stores, the space was home to a money laundering operation. Well, it was the Vigo Money Transfer “Multi-service” pitbull kennel, and they must have been doing something illegal to stay in business as long as they did. I didn’t see too many customers entering or leaving, mainly because it was hardly ever open. I’ll say one thing for the owner, Felix, a charming, gregarious salesman–he loved those dogs.

All of the store owners have been Hispanic and if I’m not mistaken, Dominican, though I could be wrong about that. The new owners are no exception. William and Marie seem like shy people. Friendly, they did not make me feel intrusive at all the night when I knocked on their door while they unpacked stock.  I gathered that they are married and that their son would also be helping them. They live in Lynn.

They are keeping the “Brinwell Wholesale” stand-up sign on sidewalk from the previous owner. Inspired by that and by the fact that their inventory would be similar, I couldn’t help but stick my nose into their business. After all, I am a wealthy entrepreneur (not) and have no previous experience whatsoever starting my own business.

But I couldn’t resist.

“Hi. So what’s your business plan?” I asked Marie one evening as she was unloading their white van.

She looked at me quizzically. “What?”

“What’s your plan for staying in business?” I pointed to Nina’s Convenience up the street. “It’s not a great location. You have two convenience stores within 2 blocks of each other already.”

“Oh, we stay in business for a long, long time,” she assured me and kept unloading.

I really want to help William and Marie. They seem like a nice family, but what are they going to sell that people can’t already get around here? Snacks? What possible variety of goods can they hope to have in such a small space? The landlord, KJ Realty, has only one requirement for their continued presence: pay the rent. The market demands that they carve out a niche for themselves. I may be wrong, but I think they could use some help.

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Posted in: neighborhood