A Plea from Durty Harry's About Teens on Main Street

Michelle Fournier, owner of Durty Harry's is seeking help from the community. Her business has been interrupted by a group of teens that hangs out in front of her Main Street storefront.

An Open Letter to the Good People of Charlestown,

It's been almost three years since I opened the doors of Durty Harry's on Main Street. In that time we have been so fortunate to meet absolutely amazing people, have our business events and fundraisers supported, be welcomed into the fabric of the community and really become a hub to all things dog related in Charlestown.

Durty Harry's has become more than I ever dreamed, continues to evolve and grow, and without the support of this community we wouldnt exist. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts.

But the purpose of this letter is not only a thank you, but a plea for help. A call-to-action if you will. In spite of all the good that has occured over the past nearly three years, we have had one consistent issue for which we can not seem to find a solution. It is the large group of teens that hang out in front of my store-front every, single day and it needs to be addressed and handled.  

My efforts have fallen more than short and so I come to the community and ask for help. I have tried multiple and various routes in hoping to solve the issue and yet, I still find myself asking these kids multiple times on a daily basis to "please step away from my door front during business hours."

I have had countless customers tell me that they simply will not come into my store when the group is out front. I have asked nicely, I have asked not so nicely, I have plead, I have ignored. I don't know what else to do and I am asking for community involvement and help.

This is not a character assasination, or a blanket statement about teens. It's black and white, I want my customers to be able to walk into Durty Harry's without feeling uncomfortable. And, walking through a crowd of any type is uncomfortbale for a lot of people, especially when they have a dog on their arm.  

I undertand that we are in a city, and with that comes certain uncontrollable elements. However, Charlestown is such an amazingly tight-knit family-centric community, that we're hoping by asking for some assistance, we may well find that so far elusive solution.

I remain open to ideas and will do what I can as a business owner to help quell the situation. I appreciate the time and consideration anyone gives this note and issue and I look forward to many more years of serving this outstanding community.


Michelle Fournier
Owner, Durty Harry's

Steve Jones October 15, 2011 at 04:42 AM
Here we go again ALL Hail Lisa Mcgoff. Whats this about the kids hanging & harassing the customers of a business down there or worrying about who called the pool lady names. Serious Kids You know it & I know it ur harassing people walking by. Not saying ur doing it 24 hours a day or that ur all doing it but its happening. If it wasn't the 40 people who have posted about experiences with it would not b posting incidents of it & it doesn't matter if a Yuppie or Townie opened a business there no body has a right to stand in front of the store & bother people whether is legal or not its just poor character to do it. Stop the Bull crap that its not us we stand over here. Well someone is doing it if its not u its ur friends & if your with them then it is u. As for where teenagers & its not r parents fault is exactly the problem. Either they didn't teach u proper manners or they didn't teach u how to be leaders instead of followers. Oh & for the well u dont know the problems we have at home or the relationships we have with r parents. Cry me a river and join the club its called life. Stop making excuses & stop the bull crap if not the cops will keep pushing you away and eventually the business community the CNC r going to come up with a solution that's going to suck for u guys. So move away from her door, stop bothering the customers, move out of the way when people walk by, try saying Hi & u know what will happen people will stop trying to kick u guys off the corner. PROBLEM SOLVED
Marykate Collins October 15, 2011 at 05:07 AM
for those of you who are talking about how my mother raising my little sister just so you know she has raised my brother and myself and not to toot my own horn but we turned out pretty good (ask around) before my younger sister so she knows what she is doing you don't know my mother or the other parents of these teens hanging on the street so don't talk about their parenting skills ! Because raising a dog and raising a child/teenager are two different things just saying. I just found out about this and am furious at some of these comments epically directed to my mother. However I’m happy to see that everyone is getting a chance including these “punks” to say something My mom has opened my house to plenty of these kids because they are my sisters friends on nights when they were getting kicked out of PARKS because of noise complaints in the middle of the summer and had nowhere else to go. Who wants to hang inside on beautiful night in the middle of June? I am studying criminal justice and i hope to become a police officer one day and work in this town first thing I learned you can’t arrest someone when a crime has not been committed.
Marykate Collins October 15, 2011 at 05:08 AM
oh yeah and guess what I was also one of these kids who hung outside and got in trouble because we were being too loud in the parks or just hanging on the street. My age group was also the group that hung up the teen center and asked them to open the gym but it gets to hot and who wants to hang inside on a beautiful day you can’t ask them to hang inside… would you ? And these kids are right most of them have lived here longer than”yuppies” and probably will still be living here; after some of you have left since just speaking the truth most of you do. The new neighbors to the town say how they love Charlestown and it’s a small close community we are close because our parents know what we are going through because they went through it but didn’t get in trouble because back them noise and kids hanging on the street or in a PUBLIC PARK wasn’t a big deal, I understand that problems are happening but done blame all the these kids, its true some do ruin it for all but guess what there teenagers and so weren’t you once. Personally if you don’t like it move your going to anyways.
Marykate Collins October 15, 2011 at 05:10 AM
you should hail my mother most people do ask anyone in this town...
Alyssa October 15, 2011 at 05:30 PM
I usually avoid the comment sections of sites because more often than not they just dissolve into a hate-spewing debate about something completely unrelated to the original post. However, I love the idea of a hyper-local blog like this and with the exception of a few hate-spewers, this has become a healthy debate about a town we are all passionate about. First, I'd like to commend Michelle. I really believe she has been 100% respectful to everyone here (and in her original letter) and is truly trying to find a solution to what is a very real problem for her business, while keeping the opinions and rights of Charlestown locals in mind. Anyone who was angered by her letter, I'd encourage you to read it again. There is no condescension, finger-pointing, or disrespect in there at all. I am a newer resident of Charlestown. When we were apt. scouting, our realtor (a born-and-raised "townie", I might add) gave us a few tips about different areas. Her tip about Main St? "These kids aren't dangerous - just the kinds that will throw snowballs at you - but I wouldn't walk here alone at night." So,ok I was biased and a little nervous walking through the group of teens. Once or twice, I've been made to feel uncomfortable with comments, etc. Many other times, the boys have stopped to pet my dog and say hello- I hate blanket generalizations and you won't get one from me here. But is "get over it" really a solution if it is affecting business? Don't we WANT people to support our local shops?
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 08:10 PM
Seamus(if that's your real name)why would you disgrace Charlestown by posting such nonsense. Your post makes no sense at all. Loitering is NOT a Townie culture, as you so eloquently state. This persisted in every city, in every state, and every country in the world since the beginning of time.. You seem to think Townies have developed a different style to this phenomenon. What makes it so different here? Not only are you displaying your ignorance to history when you word your post this way, you're displaying you ignorance to society. Stabbings and beatings? Are you saying this doesn't happen in every city and state in this Nation? Dude, you really need to get out more. If Townies are so bad, and the police are so terrible, what are you doing there? I'll tell you what you're doing there. You're doing the same thing every Townie in Charlestown is doing. The only difference is Pride. You don't have any. By the way, don't let the 'X' in XTownie fool you. It simply means I don't physically reside there, but you can bet my heart will never leave. You're a shining example of what makes Charlestown a bad place. You can't escape the negativity. Sorry to inform you, Seamus, but it exists everywhere you go. Do you know why? I'll tell you why. People like you focus on the negativity. You don't want to rise above. You don't want to seek out society's ailments and make a change. Why would you, when lashing out negatively is the only way you can feel good about yourself.
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 08:24 PM
By the way, Seamus, you're not kidding anyone. You were drawn to Charlestown by the same culture you condemn. All you want to do is say you're from Charlestown to carry the stigma. We, as Townies, are proud of who we are. We're proud of our culture, and we're proud of our history. Do you know why, Seamus? Because we rise above the negativity that haunts you. =}
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Incoherant babble, John. I don't know what's worse, your syntax, your vernacular, or calling kids 'punks'. These 'punks' you see are loved. They're only 'punks' in the eyes of those that choose to condemn them. What you see them doing, in most cases, is being a kid. You cannot bypass this era. You have to let a kid be a kid before they can be adults. Your comment leads me to believe you're the perfect citizen. Sorry to break this revelation, but, you're not.
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 09:49 PM
See, that's where you're wrong, John. All you're doing, by what you state above, is feeding the element you claim to be vile. I know, vile is my word. It's not how I see these kids, it's how I see your posts. If these kids are as bad as you make them out to be, posting 'No Tresspassing' signs is definitely the trick. Maybe we'll send them to bed without supper, too. Give me a break. They're kids. I'm sure not one person that wants to frequent Michelle's establishment would be harrassed by these kids. The only harrassment I'm seeing is from implants. If you see such a problem, John, why don't you do something constructive instead of 'branding' these kids.
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Seriously, Joe? What happens when you antagonize anythin, being human or animal? If I'm a dog, and you hit me with negativity, how do you think I'll respond? I can't even believe you created that post. By the way, this, I'm sure, is what you hope would happen. Personally, I call your bluff, because that just doesn't happen unless you're looking for trouble.
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 10:26 PM
No, Seamus, that's not what you do. If you really want to make a change, get involved. If you want to create a better environment for an established business, become an activist. This fight fire with fire mentality is exactly what you don't want to do. It creates the environment you're condemning. That doesn't take an education to figure out. What it does do, though, Seamus, is gives everyone on this site a reflection of your character. You don't want to make a change, because it'll kill your chances to spit your venom.
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 10:44 PM
Oh...my...God!!! Has anyone ever said 'you're that one in every crowd', Sarah? The kids aren't causing these problems. People like you are. Blaming the parents? Really? You know what creates problems like this, Sarah? Negativity!!! You want respect, Sarah? Show some!!! Don't chastise these kids. Do you actually think if you were a positive influence in these kids lives, they would harrass you? Stab you? Or kick your ass? You people amaze me. You get what you give in any walk of life. You can't blame the kids for your own iniquities. If they don't live up to your standards, well, that's your problem. Consider making the changes, Sarah, but start with Sarah and you'll see the changes you seek.
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM
You hit the nail on the head with this one, Jane(sorry for the cliche). That's exactly what this is all about...publicity!!!
ryan mo October 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Semus if u like it LEAVE
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 11:01 PM
As a writer, Shawna, empathy is what gets a reader to buy your work. For all those bashing, empathy goes a loooooong way. I'm not saying sympathize, either, I'm saying connect in a positive way. Don't chastise. Don't condemn. Be influential. Do really want to make a change? I suggest copying and pasting Shawna's post. Print it out, and tack it to the back of every door in your home. Stick it to the fridge, and above every mirror in your house. Start that change with the person in that mirror.
XTownie October 15, 2011 at 11:11 PM
McKenzie, I can't believe you said 'I don't believe a business owner who is being harassed by teenagers should have to show "empathy" for those harassing her.' If you want understanding, you have to find that understanding in yourself first. If you want respect, you have to find it in yourself first. If you want people to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself first. If you want people to trust you, you have to find that trust in you, first. And if you want to be loved, you have to find that love in yourself, first. Most people won't know what makes you so attractive, they'll only know you have something they want to be a part of(sorry for the prepostion). It all starts with you. As stated previously, you get what you give.
yeeaaaa buddy October 15, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Yabbbaaa scoop
XTownie October 16, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Lisa, you don't have to prove anything to Girty. You certainly have nothing to be ashamed of, either. I wish I had your resume. People lash out like that because they're tired of their drab, mundane lives. They select targets they envy, and try to bring that target down to their level. Don't be angry at her/him. Thank her/him for placing you above them. =}
XTownie October 16, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Dude, are you for real? Do you really think property value increased because of 'yuppies'. By the way, Seamus, they're 'yippies'. Hippies trapped in a yuppie shell. Get of your perch, Percy. Charlestown is historical. The property value would increase regardless of stature. Who's the Neanderthal? BWAHAHAHA!!! As far as busing goes, it began in the sixties, down south. It's clear your lack of intelligence escapes even you. Busing was the beginning of intergration and equality among the races. You say 'we all saw how far that got you'. Guess what, Seamus? You're a part of it whether you stood up for your beliefs or not. We never had the opportunity to voice our beliefs back then, and yeah. we did it for you too. It was never a black/white thing. It was regulating our education system without having the ability to do what our Constitution says we can do. We, as Townies, became a better people for it. We learned to adapt to a lifestyle we weren't ready to accept. Guess what, Percy? You live in Charlestown now. Do what we did when we were forced to accept something we weren't ready to accept. Adapt, get involved, or get the 'F' out. Charlestown will flourish without you. We'll flourish because of our Pride, not because propert value has increased because of you 'yippies'.
XTownie October 17, 2011 at 07:34 PM
Kristi, it has nothing to do with knowing the kids. I don't know any of the kids that hang around that store at the corner of Shirley Ave and Thornton Street, yet, my daughter and I never get bothered when I stop in there for their homemade spring rolls. We never get bothered by the kids in front of Durty Harry's either, and let me add, I have a beautiful little girl. These kids have never once stared either of us down, or even made suggestive comments. We happen to go by there at least four times a week on our way to Boston. Just like we spend a lot of time on the beach. The kids in front of that store on Shirley Ave stare, but they never say anything. These are the same kids that hang at that park at the corner of Shirley and Walnut(I believe). Mind you, the kids at either location don't know us.
Seamus O'Sullivan October 17, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Judging by the writing skills of some of the self-proclaimed "punks" on here (which is the real atrocity here), I'd suggest maybe spending some more time doing schoolwork and less time loitering in front of Doyle's.
XTownie October 18, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Wow, Seamus, using 'here' twice in the same sentence doesn't say much for your syntax either. 'The'--insert any word here--'of' may work in a single compound sentence. However, separating 'of' with a single word is horrendous. 'Maybe', 'some more', and 'less' is useless when used this way. Using 'glue' words is lazy writing. Before you condemn others, consider a few refresher courses of your own. By the way, ending with 'Doyle's' makes your sentence incomplete. 'Doyle's' what?
Brian Wadman October 18, 2011 at 08:03 AM
Diane, I had to leave that job because the city was forcing me to spend the majority of my time in Roxbury and Downtown Crossing.
Brian Wadman October 18, 2011 at 08:35 AM
We should all defer to Lisa on this one. As has been said she has lived this issue for 51 years and put more time and thought into it and than any of us. She has raised 3 healthy, sure to be successful kids in this environment. Yes, Hail Lisa Collins. Take her advice and be respectful to these young men and women.
Kim Allen October 18, 2011 at 04:37 PM
XTownie - I think Brian is on "Team Lisa" here...and he lives outside the US now, the reason for the time difference
Sean McKenna October 18, 2011 at 05:23 PM
XTownie, please see Diane Grant's post of 2:11pm on Thursday, October 13, 2011. The Brian Wadman (youth outreach worker) she mentions is the Brian you are slamming. Not cool.
XTownie October 18, 2011 at 05:41 PM
My mistake, Brian, and my apologies! I took 'Hail Lisa Collins' as a derogative, and I spoke out of admiration for the McGoff family. Nothing more. The problem with the internet is you can't see the posters disposition, so some things meant favorably can be easily misconstrued. I want to thank Kim and Sean for bringing that to my attention. Now, if you guys don't mind, I need to step away and wipe the egg off my face because I feel stupid. =}
Lisa McGoff Collins October 19, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Steven, who are you to talk about me, you don't even know me. I Know more kids in this Town that I can count, and they give respect when they get it. If you grew up in thisTown you would know that the area that everyone is talking about has been a place to hang out in front of since I was a kid when it was the Wizard Icecream store, well you wouldn't know that because you were not Born here like most of those kids parents were.. You need to put all your energy somewhere else, even when these kids move on to other things thier younger brothers and sisters will be hanging there. Why is it now that the "New Comers" are moving in, we have to change the way things have been for the past 60 years. "Complaints about the Duck tours quacking, complaints about the Cannons going off at the Constitution, complaints of the Flags flapping at the Firemans' Park, complaints of kids hanging at Eden St. " When will the complaining end!! We all have a choice where we can live, you can change that choice also. Sorry you are so angry.
Danny Settipani October 19, 2011 at 03:20 AM
This is bulls*** if ur afraid to walk in ur own town then move
Townie Girl October 21, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Ok so , I would like you to tell your customers that mishawum park where I live is not a potty for your customers and others from sullivan st, and other streets to come and walk your dogs, this is a place where resident children play and people live. I just told somebody who was attending a halloween party for dogs over at Durty Harrys taking their dog in my back yard to go the bathroom , we are a private development so if you plan an event over your establishment have somewhere other than our residence for your furry customers to do their business.


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