Michelle Laczkoski of the Milford Daily News staff reports that residents of Milford, MA are dealing with the townwide boil-water order weren’t the only ones on edge for the past two weeks. Local real estate agents and business owners say the water contamination caused some stress and financial strain.
Barry Feingold, president and CEO of the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce, said he’s been worried about how the boil-water order would impact area businesses.
“It was certainly more of challenge, especially for restaurants and the hospitality sector, just because of their dependence on water,” he said. “Any additional expenses that weren’t budgeted is an additional challenge during these economic times.”
One franchise coped with the water crisis in an inventive way.
Dunkin’ Donuts temporarily closed at least one location in Milford, but gave away freebies at five other stores in town.
McCall Gosselin, a spokesman for Dunkin’ Brands Inc. the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins – said workers passed out free hot and iced coffee at numerous locations.
“Even with the water ban in Milford, we wanted to make sure we weren’t depriving them of their morning cup of Joe,” said Gosselin.
Gosselin couldn’t say whether sales were down.
Even businesses that don’t rely on water to produce their main products had to adjust.
At Subway on Rte. 109, customers were only given the choice to buy bottled soda and water. A machine that dispenses fountain soda and ice was off limits.
Customers dining at The Alamo Restaurant on Medway Road had the same option.
“We had bottled soda, ice, everything,” said manager Stephanie Emerian. “Customers hesitated at first, but we told them we boiled everything.”
Buying bottled items came at a cost, but restaurant owners were left without a choice.
“Now everything’s back to normal,” Emerian said. “It sure is a relief.”
Feingold said the water ban should not have produced “dire consequences” for local businesses.
“They certainly had a decrease in business because of all the press about what was going on in Milford. I’m sure some people did want to try a different restaurant or hotel over that period,” he said. “The good news is that because of all the testing you can say Milford probably has the most tested water in the state. And with the excellent reputation that a lot of restaurants have, they will get their customers to come back right away.”
Josh Lioce, owner of Realty Executive Lioce Properties in Milford, said the order “has come up in conversation, especially with pending sales.
“Luckily it hasn’t affected us in a negative way, as far as losing sales or walking away from deals,” he said. “Consumers looking to buy knew it was temporary.”
Still, the water contamination isn’t lost on prospective buyers, Lioce said.
“I do know there is increased concern about the ongoing standard of the water,” said Lioce, who does 90 percent of his business in Milford.
“Will be it be safe moving forward?” he asked. “I’m confident it will be corrected.”
Tony Pinto, owner of Pinto Real Estate, said he doesn’t think the water contamination turned away potential buyers.
“I don’t think it (has) made a big impact on any decision making for (those) purchasing a home,” he said.
Pinto told customers the contamination was a “temporary thing.”
“This is probably the only time its happened in decades,” he said. “It could happen to any town.”
Marilyn Brustin, owner of Brustin Realty in Milford, said potential buyers have not been discouraged.
“I know people who are selling that have gotten upset,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I’ve had more problems with big banks doing their job (than with the water ban).”