Businesses cope with loss of water; frantic scene at BJ’s

Money has a hard time flowing in without using the faucet.

The water emergency that occurred last weekend and early this week had businesses in Revere reeling, especially those involved with food and beverage service.

The continuous flow of good, safe water is something most of us take for granted, and businesses were forced to adjust and adjust quickly to keep their doors open.

One of the largest questions on Sunday and Monday morning was where to get coffee.

Dunkin’ Donuts locations were either closed or weren’t serving hot drinks.

The Dunkin’ Donuts on Broadway was open and serving donuts and pastries, but they weren’t serving hot coffee. They only had cold drinks, and turned away quite a few disheartened customers.

It was the same situation at the Starbuck’s in the Target Store at Suffolk Downs.

Meanwhile, at places like City Hall Variety, they brew their coffee with spring water, and so they weren’t affected by the problem.

Customers came and went at the popular coffee shop all day Monday with no interruption to their coffee fix.

“They’re talking about price gouging for bottled water now; well, we’ve already got the biggest water price gougers around – the MWRA,” said Variety owner Peter Palladino.

The White Hen Pantry also resorted to using spring water to keep the coffee flowing.

An owner said that people were not only after coffee, but also they were after coffee beans.

“We sold a lot of Starbuck’s coffee beans last Sunday,” he said. “Everybody resorted to brewing coffee at home and didn’t have coffee.”

White Hen also said that they had a run on water over the weekend.

“Saturday night and Sunday we were very busy here,” said the owner. “Saturday night all our water was gone. Today (Monday), there’s plenty of water and it’s pretty slow.”

Speaking of water sales, supermarkets broke the scales when it came to water sales on Saturday and Sunday.

At BJ’s in Revere, the Revere Police actually had to be called in to quell a water run that got violent and injured a man from – of all places – Watertown.

Water was pouring off the shelf at BJ’s Saturday evening when things got out of control.

The Watertown man reported to police that he was attempting to purchase water along with several hundred other people scrambling to also purchase water.

During the scramble, the man was pushed from behind by the crowd and fell to the ground, injuring his shins and knees. Police observed visible cuts, scrapes and bruising.

Outside, in the parking lot, witnesses told the Journal that people were “scalping water in the parking lot at double and triple the price.”

Revere Police responded to the store around 7:45 p.m. with more than five units to quiet the madness.

“People got a bit panicked on Saturday evening,” said Kelly McFalls, a spokesperson from BJ’s. “Everyone wanted to get their share of water.”

McFalls said that sales at all their stores, including Revere, were through the roof.

“Our clubs in the affected areas increased sales about 240 percent for the weekend compared to last year,” she said. “It was incredible.”

Speaking of incredible, the Market Basket in Chelsea reported to the Journal that they sold 15 trailers full of water on Sunday alone.

“We were really, really busy,” said Kevin Feole, the store manager. “Just to put it into perspective, [Sunday] alone we sold 15 trailers of all kinds of waters. That’s the equivalent of three weeks worth of business in water sales…The crowd we had was comparable to our Grand Opening day last year.”

He said that they had diverted water and soda pop deliveries from several of their other stores to the Chelsea store.

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