The businesses are quiet. A customer or two come in eventually. One even buys something and then is quickly on his way out the door. The owners stand behind their checkout counter and wait. They listen to the radio in the language of their homeland and wait some more. Business is slow in Magoun Square for many of the small shops and restaurants. The bad economy has hurt their businesses. Customers stop coming and the ones who keep coming buy less. Many customers have returned to their homeland, after having given up trying to find work or waiting for the immigration laws to change. The business owners express this frustration to me. They have been business owners for most of their lives, and they love their work, but it is difficult. Since employees are too expensive, they have to be at the store all day long, six or seven days a week.
I ask about the greenline, worried they will get upset. Business is difficult enough now, so what will happen when the rents increase? But they never get upset. They don’t mention the possibility of increased rents or construction hurting their business. Instead, they talk about the new customers it will bring. It makes we wonder who is right. Will these small businesses be in trouble with the greenline expansion or do these small business owners have a point? Perhaps it will help them. But what is certain is that the effect the greenline will have will determine whether these businesses survive or whether Magoun will look more like Davis Square in just a few years.