The landlord at 378 Highland Ave., Christos Poutahidis (right), stands with the manager of the When Pigs Fly bakery, Chris P. Gould. The com pany is based in York, Maine
Bringing bread boutique latest score for self-made property owner
by Neil W. McCabe
One Davis Square property owner is striving to keep the district a story center for shoppers and diners by bringing in high quality tenants he believes will be here for the long term.
It is better to have an empty space than to lease to a business that is not serious or good for the community, said Christos Poutahidis, a city resident who came to the area in 1969 from Greece. “You have to be good. You have to be a real businessperson. You have to train your employees, so they are not rude.”
Poutahidis said he is very pleased to have all new tenants in four of the five storefronts at his property at 378 Highland Ave.: KickAss Cupcakes, a gourmet cupcake and pastry shop; The Green House, a florist; Al Fresco, an Italian restaurant and the newest entry, When Pigs Fly, a boutique bakery, which opened Dec. 8.
The business climate is not perfect in Davis Square, especially on the Highland Avenue side, he said. “The problem is the parking and we need more lighting.”
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone is trying to make things better for businesses, he said. “The mayor wants the city to be nice and clean. He wants to attract people to the city. Now it is like Hollywood.”
He is also happy with Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah L. Gewirtz, he said. “Rebekah is nice, too. She works with the business people in the area.”
Some businesses have run into trouble with the city because they do not understand the rules or appreciate, he said. “When you work with the city, there is no problem.”
Poutahidis he said he found the workers at the Inspectional Services reasonable and helpful. “George Landers is a very nice gentleman. He will help anyone, but you have to follow the law.”
It started when he arrived in Boston in 1969 and took a job pumping gas at the then Citgo station on northern Massachusetts Avenue, he said. In 1971, he bought the gas station business. In 1974, he bought two taxi cabs, under the name Chris and Cara, for himself and his then wife. Poutahidis is single with no children. For the last 20 years, Poutahidis has been taking care of his 101-year-old father, who he brought to Somerville when his mother died in 1988.
In 1979, Citgo gave him a 30-day window to purchase gas station’s the property, so he sold the taxi business and raised money any way he could, he said. “In one day, I borrowed $65,000 cash from my employees.”