The year in business was one of highs and lows, of soaring stock markets and persistent long-term unemployment; of downtown revival and a deadly bombing that devastated the Back Bay; of rising property values and record homelessness. We asked readers to vote on the top local business stories of 2013. Here’s what they chose.
Bombing shutters businesses
After bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line April 15, killing three and maiming hundreds, a dozen blocks of the Back Bay business district became the largest crime scene in the city’s history. More than 400 businesses were locked down for eight days during the investigation and cleanup, frozen in time at the moment the bombs went off: windows shattered, plates of food abandoned, carpets soaked with blood.
Losses in the Copley and Newbury Street area were estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. Among the most devastated businesses were Marathon Sports, where employees wrapped tourniquets around injured spectators, and the Charlesmark Hotel, its lobby splattered with blood. Dozens of diners, staff, and race watchers were injured at the Forum restaurant, which didn’t reopen until August.
Workers returned more than a week later and worked alongside biohazard crews to deal with the grisly aftermath, mopping bloody floors, throwing away rotten food, and gathering possessions left behind.
When businesses reopened on April 24, people flocked to the area to support them and their employees; One patron at Uno Chicago Grill left a $100 tip on a $15 tab with instructions to share it among the staff. Other help came from rent abatements, pro bono legal advice, and low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration.
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