Small Businesses Provide Hope During the Boston Marathon Bombings


Small businesses make a big impact in America. But that impact goes beyond the economics—what really makes small business special is that the millions of small business owners across the United States are not only creating jobs and driving social change, but they are members of their local communities, and they are there when we need them the most. As we look forward to the 2014 Boston Marathon, and look back at last year’s tragedy, we can all be proud of the vital role played by local small businesses in Boston amid the chaos. Here are some of our favorite stories.

Small Businesses Offer Help

Hours after the blasts, local restaurants and bars around the city reached out to help survivors, becoming safe zones where runners and spectators could gather to eat, rest or wait for loved ones. Restaurants took to social media to offer help, and messages like these became commonplace:

“If marathoners need a warm meal or a safe place to wait for loved ones, we will help. (617-661-0505)” (@OleanaBuzz, April 15, 2013)

Related: Helping Others is the Greatest Motivator

El Pelon Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant with one location in Brighton and another in Boston, unlocked their Wi-Fi network to provide survivors with a way to contact family members while other service providers experienced network outages from the number of calls being placed. They put the word out through their Twitter handle:

“open wifi, place to charge cell, or just don’t want to be alone, food and drinks,- pay only if you can #bostonhelp” (@ElPelonTaqueria, April 15, 2013)

Other businesses opened their doors as soon as possible to provide a sense of normalcy to the residents of Boston.

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Crystal Cobb Collier, who works on Massachusetts Avenue in a small flower shop called Fern, says her business opened the next day. Despite slow sales, the decision to open helped members of the community in more important ways than those that are measured in dollars and cents. She described a man still wearing his Boston Marathon jacket who stopped in on April 16, the day after the bombing. He stepped into the shop and didn’t say a word or look to buy anything. He just walked in, took a deep breath of the aroma of the flowers, and walked out. She said, “I didn’t say anything; I just kinda let him take that moment.”

Howie Rubin, general manager of Bauer Wine and Spirits, decided to open shop on that Tuesday as soon as he heard his street would be accessible. When asked why, he said he felt that his customers would be talking about their experience and wanted to make sure they could do so over a drink if they wanted.

Unintended Effects

I don’t think that the bombings had the intended effect. Instead of discouragement, the people of Boston and the nation as a whole found encouragement. Instead of striking fear into the hearts of the American people, we came back stronger and more eager than ever. Instead of tearing us apart, we were driven together. It reminded us that we are not a grouping of individual states, or cities, or even people – we are a community and we are all #BostonStrong.

Harry Kierbow

Harry Kierbow

Harry Kierbow is the Director of Social Media for Commissions Inc (CINC), a real estate technology and marketing company. He's played professionally on Facebook (and other social networks) for more than 7 years now, managing campaigns for brands (both big and small) and individuals (also both big and small). Universally regarded as the greatest ice hockey goalie to ever come from Griffin, GA (by his mom at least), you can find Harry between the pipes on the ice rinks of Georgia (yes, there is more than one) or playing with his 2 kids when he's not perfecting social media ads or binging true crime documentaries on Netflix. Connect with Harry on LinkedIn @HarryKierbow.