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Roslindale community speaks out against Domino’s proposal

Posted by Your Town  September 11, 2012 04:24 PM

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A standing-room-only crowd at a public meeting last night expressed displeasure at the prospect of Domino’s opening a storefront in Roslindale Village .

The proposed location, at 4238 Washington St., is across from Adams Park and next door a Subway franchise. Domino’s has a store at 4640 Washington St. in West Roxbury, just one mile away, which would remain open.

Mayor Thomas Menino’s representative, David McNulty, moderated the sometimes contentious and vocal gathering at the Roslindale Community Center, attended by about 200 people.

William Mohan, a licensing and permitting consultant working with Robert Rivard, the Domino’s franchise owner, served as his representative at the meeting.

“One thing that is forgotten is that we’ve been here 25 years,” said Mohan, referring to Rivard’s West Roxbury store. Mohan said that that location serves about 2,000 people in Roslindale, who would be better off with a Domino’s closer to them. He also said the new store would add between 15 and 20 jobs.

But one after another, residents and local business owners rose to speak out against the pizza chain, citing possible traffic problems, parking issues, an adverse impact to local businesses, and questioning why what is essentially a delivery business wants or needs prime storefront space. Mohan had said that 90 percent of the business is delivery.

Stephanie Cave, the Roslindale Village Main Street executive director, urged Domino's to reconsider.

“We’re asking them to listen to the community," Cave said. "We think there’s a better option. We applaud Chris Kotsiopoulos [the owner of 4238 Washington St.] and are willing to work with him.”

Both Kotsiopoulos and Rivard were present at the meeting, but chose not to speak in front of the crowd.

“I understand their concerns,” said Rivard, of the community’s sentiments, after the meeting. Rivard, who owns eight Domino’s, started his career at the chain as a delivery driver. He dismissed the idea that he’d hurt local businesses. “I feel like I’m a small business.”

He added, “I’m looking for the business that I’ve put out of business. I haven’t found it. That’s not our goal.”

Kotsiopoulos declined to comment.

After the meeting, Mohan confirmed that the West Roxbury shop would eventually serve just that zip code, while the Roslindale Domino’s would serve that community.

Cave admitted that other than expressing opposition to the project, there is nothing the community can do to prevent Rivard from signing a lease and applying for a food license with the city.

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