just saw this. haven’t been since i moved out of watertown, but many fond memories.
JUST saw this this morning too. I’m in shock and devastated.
The only guess I can make is that the land is worth more than the business at this point.
Just in shock. Such a huge loss.
It seems like it’s probably this plus no one in the family business really wants to take on the get-up-at-3:30 AM and work all day long days of the guy who’s retiring. Which I can’t really blame them for. But man, what a local place to lose.
I’ve also always assumed that Russo’s was where places like Arax Market in Watertown got their good quality produce. So we not only lose the great retail spot, but the trickle down affect might also be bad news.
I’m wondering about that too. Boston Restaurant Talk reports that Russo’s has been a “wholesaler to local businesses, including restaurants” so I’m thinking ripple effect.
WHOA. Russo’s is a landmark. This is a big loss to the community and to food lovers.
I just saw that the family is getting $36.5 million for this parcel, which is a whole hell of a lot of money!
Yes, with a payday like that, it’s really hard to begrudge them the windfall.
The strongest backup option for a wide range of produce might be the various Asian supermarkets in the area, though H Mart (Burlington > Cambridge), 99 Ranch, Kam Man, and the various Super 88 descendants definitely have a bias towards Asian-oriented produce. I’d be curious if there are other options similar to Russo’s, but I’m sadly not holding my breath.
To flesh out the above:
The company that bought. Anybody looking for a condo?
It’s hard to begrudge the family the money, as @DrJimbob observes, but I can’t help wondering if it might not have been possible to simply sell the business as a business. You’d think there might have been takers, unlike, say, when Masse Hardware closed and went condo.
i don’t begrudge them the money, although, my friend, patricia, takes it as a personal betrayal that they sold out to biotech.
but given the magnitude of the windfall, i do hope they do right by the 250 employees about to be unemployed — say, $10,000 per.
sheryl julian’s thank you note to tony russo: note the link is to msn, not the boston globe.
What a great read, @wonderwoman. The wonderful Sheryl Julian gets things right when it comes to food. This was the most insightful piece I have seen about what Russo’s has meant to the community.
Thanks for the link. Wonderful read, @wonderwoman .
Thanks for that. Many of his suppliers will miss him too, no doubt.
I’ve seen on a NextDoor thread, which I usually read for amusement more than anything although we recently found a good A/C guy via NextDoor, a petition being circulated to keep Russo’s open. Not sure how the Russo family would feel about that. My guess is, not pleased.
i supposed the family might be flattered… but, really — sounds like a way for some people to vent. i’m not on next door, but would love to see what this petition says, and to whom it is directed. are they really expecting the family to walk away from $30+ million from the perfectly legal sale of their land?
haha, “we were going to take tens of millions of dollars for the land our family has owned for many decades, but then we saw this online petition and have decided to stay in business”. that is definitely going to happen.
I’d mentioned Masse Hardware upthread. When they closed, lots of the local gentry got worked up, waxed eloquently and at length on community forums, and started a drive to “Save Masse”. It turned out that the family was not interested in being saved – merely in selling to a condo developer both the land and the name (the condos carry the F.X. Masse Hardware sign).
For real! Though Russo’s will leave a big hole when they are gone, seriously I cannot imagine begrudging generations of a hard-working family such good fortune.
That’s exactly what I was thinking…umm, a petition? I LOL’d at that one. And who’s going to buy the land that was just sold, work with vendors, run the store, hire the people, pay the people, and do God knows whatever else to keep the business running?
Those creating/signing the petition seem rather selfish. “Wahhh, my store is going away! Hey, I know! Let’s start a petition to force them to keep the store open!” Umm, yeah…no. If the Russo family had wanted to do that, they would have figured out a way to keep the store open.
For inquiring minds, here’s the petition.