Boston Struggles to Get Back to Business

“It looks like a war zone.”

A still-shocked Tarek Hassan described the scene in front of his two Tannery stores on Boylston Street Tuesday afternoon, one day after the deadly bomb attacks near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Hassan, who ran the race with Tannery store manager Andrew Hampshire, said he was still reeling from the incident. (He was about a half a mile away from finishing the 26.2-mile race when he heard the explosion.)

“This seems like the next big thing after Sept. 11,” Hassan said. “It gives us a flashback to what happened [then].”

The two Boylston Street stores remained closed on Tuesday and Hassan didn’t expect them to reopen for another couple of days.

Although the event clearly took the city by surprise, Hassan said Bostonians are resilient and will likely back bounce quickly. He added, “It would make a big difference if [authorities] got to the bottom of [the incident]. It would put people at ease.”

One of the explosions occurred directly outside of Marathon Sports on Boylston Street. The retailer summed up its sentiments on its website Tuesday: “We are incredibly grateful that the members of our staff on site at the time of the attack are miraculously safe, and we are proud of the individual decisions our staff made in the face of the inconceivable circumstances.”

Downtown malls, including The Shops at Prudential Center and Copley Place, were both open for business Tuesday. However, an automated recording at Lord & Taylor, located in the Prudential Center, said that due to the events surrounding the marathon they had been directed to close.

Johnston & Murphy, also located in the Prudential Center, opened at the regular hour of 10 a.m. However, store associate Elijah Doby said the location planned to close early because foot traffic was down due to the high number of closures in the mall. Coupled with this, he added, shoppers were in a somber mood.     

Saks Fifth Avenue, located in nearby Copley Place, was also closed Tuesday.  A spokesperson from Saks Inc. told Footwear News, “Our store was quickly and safely evacuated of customers and associates yesterday following the explosions.  The store is closed today but is expected to reopen tomorrow.”

FN also placed phone calls to the Neiman Marcus and Stuart Weitzman stores in Copley Place.  Neiman Marcus said it opened at 11a.m. Tuesday (one hour later than usual) and will close at 6 p.m. (two hours earlier than usual). Stuart Weitzman said it was open for business as usual, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Independent retailer Thom Brown of Boston, which operates a store within three blocks of the explosions, opened on Tuesday.

CEO and owner Jason Brown said it was uncertain whether he would be allowed to open since the store is in an area locked down by authorities. However, as the morning progressed, storeowners were allowed back. “We check with other retailers,” said Brown, noting that nearby Urban Outfitters also decided to open.

“I wanted to open as soon as possible,” he added. “It was a horrible tragedy, but we [need] to get back to things as soon as possible.” 

Nearby retailer Cuoio, an upscale women’s shoe boutique, also decided to open, although manager Patricia Caldwell wasn’t expecting much traffic. “I’m a local business and this is [typically] one of our best weekends. We can’t [all] stay home and watch [the news] on TV. Some people just want to be able to stop by and have a conversation,” she said.

Caldwell noted that due to travel restrictions in Boston, many tourists who came into the city for the marathon were still in town. 

Access exclusive content