Best of Boston/Worst of Boston
We take a lot of shots around here at Globe columnists, but today we have to heap some praise on metro columnist Adrian Walker for helping out one of our recent honorees. In his column today, Walker profiled the travails of 2007 Best of Boston winners Elias and Caroline Mavroidis of South End Cleaners and Tailors.
Their landlord stopped by to tell them that he was increasing their rent from $2,900 a month to $5,000. If they chose not to pay, they had to vacate the Tremont Street property by Oct. 1.
That’s wasn’t all the bad news. The landlord, Wayne Doherty, also told them that he planned to open his own dry cleaners at the same location, once they departed.
Doherty may sound shady, but he’s no fool. South End Cleaners and Tailors has been established in their Tremont Street spot for six years and has a good clientele. Elias also reports that since his shop was highlighted in the fine pages of this magazine, his business has jumped 25 percent. In other words, the timing has never been better for Doherty to, ahem, take his tenants to the cleaners.
“It’s crazy, the next day after I got the award, he showed up here,” Elias told us.
Walker didn’t have much luck talking to Doherty today (the landlord just kept saying he had nothing to say), and we pretty much got the same treatment. When we asked if he would ever have any comment about all this, Doherty said, “Oh Yeah,” in that licking-his-chops with something really juicy sort of way. The question is, if he’s got something so good, what’s he waiting for? Of course he wouldn’t say when I asked him and he just hung up on us too. Not exactly a strong strategy for communicating your message.
While Doherty inexplicably holds his tongue, the Mavroidis’s are getting all sorts of good press. WCVB 5, WHDH 7, FOX 25 and NECN have all been by the shop today (or are coming later) for interviews and Caroline is set to go live on a morning drive-time radio talk show tomorrow.
Elias says he’s heard from people “I never expected, friends, strangers, people I never met in my life” as a result of the column. Banks have been calling about helping them with loans, lawyers have been phoning in with legal advice and even rival cleaners are dialing the shop to wish the Mavroidis’s good luck. The Mayor’s office has been in touch too in hopes of helping the family relocate their shop in the same South End neighborhood.
“It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s good that everyone is taking the time to come and interview us, just to get our story out and around,” Caroline said.
Thanks to Walker, that mission, apparently, has been accomplished. As for Doherty, he probably shouldn’t be holding his breath for that Best Landlord of Boston award anytime soon.