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Cornwell dealer recovers from Boston Marathon bombing

No one in greater Boston is likely to forget last week’s Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent apprehension of one of the bombing suspects in Watertown, Mass. That includes Dave Johnson, a 31-year mobile tool dealer serving Boston, Cambridge and Watertown. Johnson, a Cornwell Tools dealer...


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No one in greater Boston is likely to forget last week’s Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent apprehension of one of the bombing suspects in Watertown, Mass. That includes Dave Johnson, a 31-year mobile tool dealer serving Boston, Cambridge and Watertown. Johnson, a Cornwell Tools dealer based in Lexington, Mass., has seen blizzards and hurricanes over the years, but nothing affected people’s lives the way last week’s tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon, the city’s biggest annual event.

Businesses were closed throughout the area on Friday as police searched for one of the suspected bombers who was apprehended in Watertown. Johnson, like everyone else, was concerned about people’s safety.

Most businesses were closed Friday, when police called on businesses to stay closed for the day.

Business owners recognized the need to follow the police order. And while the community is grateful that the threat has been lifted, many businesses took a financial hit.

Johnson noted that Friday is usually his busiest day, as he typically does 30 percent of his weekly sales. Last week, he worked his first Saturday ever in an attempt to recover some of the loss. But being Saturday, most of his customers were not open. Johnson estimates he did about one third the sales that day than he typically does on Friday.

“As a tool guy, you’ve got to go out,” Johnson said. “It’s tough to miss a Friday in the tool business.”

Johnson was visiting a Volvo dealer on Monday morning in Brighton, Mass., a section of Boston that is half a mile from where the bombing occurred. He learned about the bombing when people at the dealership started to get text messages.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, talk about the bombing dominated every discussion as Johnson visited his stops. “It was tough to stay on the tool topic with all this going on,” he noted.

When the news reported that the bombing suspect visited an auto repair shop in Cambridge after the bombing to check on his car before high jacking another car, Johnson recognized the repair shop as one of his former stops.

Two of Johnson’s customers live near the house in Watertown where the bombing suspect was apprehended.  One of them told him that his house was searched twice by police on Saturday before the suspect was apprehended.

While it was a tough week in many ways, Johnson said there was an upside. “It united everybody,” he said. “It made the world smaller.” 

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