Some Pembroke coffee shops, eateries take economic hit from E. coli
The owner of two Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in town says he loses $4,500 to $5,000 in sales every day his stores are closed.
Farther along Route 53, Marylou’s remains open, but only after dumping about 120 gallons of liquid on the first day of Pembroke’s boil-water order and using close to 1,600 gallons of bottled water to make its coffees and other drinks in the week and a half since.
As Pembroke’s E. coli water problem drags on, the costs for its restaurants and coffee shops are mounting.
The town has been operating under the water order since Aug. 8, meaning that residents and eateries need to boil water for one minute and let it cool before using it for such basic tasks as drinking, food preparation or washing dishes or hands.
The alternative is using bottled water.
When Marylou’s was told about the order that Friday, it was forced to toss out gallons of iced coffee blends and water, manager Robin Kelley said.
“We just dumped everything out. Had to start all over again,” she said.
For the time being, the coffee shop has stopped serving flavored hot coffees, hot chocolate, hot tea and iced tea.
Pink signs posted on the door tell customers all iced coffees are now made with bottled water, that ice is delivered, and that “E. coli = No hot flavors today.”
Kelley said most people who read the signs come in.
“There’s 25 percent who stop and look, and they’ll turn around and leave,” she said.
T.J. Pugliese has had a similar problem at his restaurant, Cafe Eleganza, whose business has dropped off since Pembroke’s water problem began.
“People are nervous. They’re seeing the headlines, so it’s slower than usual,” he said.
Selectmen Chairwoman Terry Finnegan emphasized again Monday that Pembroke’s restaurants are safe to eat in, as long as they follow state guidelines.
Pembroke’s five Dunkin’ Donuts franchises have been closed since the water order began.
Joe Lordelo, who owns one franchise in the center of town and another on Route 53, said his stores closed Aug. 8 “to avoid putting anyone at risk.”
Lordelo hopes his insurance company will help cover some of his sales losses. He said he continues to pay all employees at their normal rate.
Managers at the Alumni Cafe and the British Beer Company say the situation is more of an inconvenience, although manager Candy Hostnik said her restaurant-pub now needs to buy 900 pounds of ice a week because they no longer can make their own ice using town water.
The extra outlays for ice and bottled water costs “probably a good $600 a week,” Hostnik said.
Edward B. Colby may be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.