Closed:More than 41 Businesses Shuttered for ‘Day Without an Immigrant’

By Seth Daniel

An informal count tallied 41 businesses in the Broadway Business District closed, including restaurants like Rincon Hondureno - which displayed a sign in the window explaining they were closed in protest for the day.

An informal count tallied 41 businesses in the Broadway Business District closed, including restaurants like Rincon Hondureno – which displayed a sign in the window explaining they were closed in protest for the day.

Broadway is known for its foot traffic in the business district.

But last Thursday, Feb. 16, it was a ghost town.

Grates were pulled down all day long on businesses that normally thrive during the morning and afternoon hours. Restaurants had signs proclaiming ‘Cerrado,’ where normally they would have a welcome sign.

Many were confused, but some of the businesses proclaimed with signs in the window they were closed due to the national protest called ‘Day Without an Immigrant.’ It was a solidarity movement to show what the country would be like if the immigrants were removed, and in Chelsea, the results of that were closed doors, empty sidewalks and kudos from community members who supported the move.

Julio Flores of El Santaneco Restaurant said it was a national movement, but many Chelsea restaurant owners and store owners decided the previous day that they wanted to participate and make a major statement in the city’s business district.

“We believe this is a way to first support our community,” he said. “About 90 to 95 percent of our customers are Latino. At the same time, it was a way to let our local leaders know our position regarding the way regulations are coming down throughout the whole country by our current president…I do want to make it clear that none of this reflects on our local leaders in Chelsea. We’re extremely happy with our city manager and our police department. They are amazing. None of it had to do with our local leaders. It was about the new regulations coming from Washington, D.C.”

The Record did an informal count of the businesses that were closed in Chelsea for the ‘Day Without an Immigrant’ and came up with 41 businesses shuttered on Thursday along the Broadway Business District.

They included:

  • Broadway Bargain Center
  • Montecristo Restaurant
  • Mi Guatemala Bakery
  • Mi Salvador Mexican Restaurant
  • Mi Salvador Mexican Store
  • C&P La Prima Market
  • Broadway Studios
  • Rincon Hondureno Restaurant
  • Curley’s Falcon
  • Tijuana Restaurant
  • Computer Center
  • Centro Americano Barber Shop
  • Rico’s Design Barber Shop
  • Cuzcatlan Restaurant
  • Catracho’s International Restaurant
  • Curley’s Restaurant
  • Latin Sound
  • Glamour Hair Salon
  • Spectrum Communications
  • Latino Express Market
  • Lopesa Services
  • La Guanaquita
  • Campeon Soccer Store
  • Amazonia Jeans
  • P&N Jewelers
  • Cathy Gifts
  • Melliam Travel
  • Restaurant Los Amigos
  • Carlos Recuerdos
  • Santiago’s Hair Style
  • El Santaneco Restaurant
  • Bella Villa Restaurant/Bar
  • Los Pinos Restaurant
  • Tu Casa Restaurant
  • Broadway Variety
  • Caribbean Liquors
  • Castillos Electronics
  • SCM T-Mobile Store
  • Ellis Fashion
  • Chelsea Boutique
  • Colchas Primor y Mas

Flores said he wasn’t sure how many people would participate, but he noted that despite being competitors in retail and restaurant and electronics, they are like a tight family.

“That was impressive,” he said. “I have to say I feel very proud…We’re really close. We all know each other and try to be good neighbors. Honestly, I was shocked. I went out to get something and I saw that all the small stores and restaurants were closed. When I looked at my Facebook page where we had announced our closure, we had so many positive comments. I have no regrets and I think I speak for everyone on that.”

Councillor Damali Vidot said she witnessed the closures and she applauds the business owners in Chelsea for making the sacrifice. She said she plans to put in a resolution at the Feb. 27 City Council meeting to recognize those who participated.

“I think to make that kind of statement with their stores and restaurants was a great thing,” she said. “To sacrifice a day’s pay to stand together with this group to make this clear statement is truly commendable. These are mom and pop businesses and they have to support families. Closing is a hard thing to do for them. It was a sacrifice.”

Vidot said the genesis of the protest started by a group in Texas and was fueled by social media, which she said caused it to grow organically and take off in places like Chelsea and East Boston.

Members of the local non-profits like the Chelsea Collaborative said they were aware of the protest, but played no part in coordinating it.

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