Smoken Joe’s

Wendy and Joe

Publisher’s Note: More about Smoken’ Joe’s

I spoke to Wendy on Tuesday the 23rd and asked her to tell me what was happening.

“We were hoping to sell the business and move to another location but with all the trouble with the landlord we had no time to make that happen. Having dumped most of the money I made at my engineering job into the club to pay for the miriad of expenses, we are leaving the club with little more than our house and a clean pair of jeans.” Wendy told me.
“We had to close for 8 weeks because the landlord hired some unlicensed plumbers to fix a sewer pipe in the basement and they broke the pipe and flodded our storage area and we had to close for 8 weeks so that they could clean up the mess and fix the pipes. We lost 2 months of income and they made us pay the rent for those months! We lost staff, revenue was cut in half and we never recovered. The stress was killing Joe, literally. I couldn’t stand to see him so work hard, so we decided to give it up. Not wait until all the bill collectors come to put a lock on the door.
It is ironic, we have been at this for 8 years and Joe has never taken a salary. After his heart attack and a car accident he applied for Social Security disability and they base their scale NOT on the entire work history, but just the past 10 years before the application, and where he had no income during that time, it is an iron clad rule.”
“Over the years we have invested our retirement money, it is very discouraging.” “Now that I am retiring from my job it makes it impossible to keep the club afloat.”

“We have done everything by the book, pulled all the right permits never hired anyone under the table, paid all our fees and to watch these landlords break all the rules and just play fast and loose like they have no brakes, doing what they want with their properties (at the expense of the businesses that rent them).”

“We built a first class business and the landlord can put us out of business like that. We were growing 10% a year and we were thinking we could finally take a salary.”

“We are really going to miss our guests; our lives became wrapped around the people and musicians. I have been told ‘I met my husband here… and we had our memorial service here.’”

“We had 6 good years and one not so good. But they were all good years as far as our customers were concerned. We never had a complaint against the bar, and never any trouble.“

“We’ve always paid our bills so we have good will. You never know, maybe we will turn up someplace, we hope not to be strangers to the Blues community we have grown to love.”

“Tonight (Sept 23) is our last night. It might be a little over capacity tonight. I am NOT going to be counting every minute. We are going to pull out all the stops tonight. We are going to have a ball!”

(By the time you read this, there will have been a benefit at House of Blues, organized by Conrad Weir, of The Bees Deluxe band with a terrific line up of musicians playing all night for Smoken’ Joe and Wendy.)

More from the Publisher:
I have enjoyed working with Wendy and her cool club over the years. We had a number of Blues Audience Parties down there and they were
gracious and kind and encouraging to me in my endeavors with newsletter. Their advertising support has meant the world to me and I am so sad for the Blues scene, we have lost the Boston area’s premiere 7 Nights a week Blues club, it’s a shame.



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