(Promoboxx at Sichuan Garden)
Boston brand-to-retail marketing platform Promoboxx supports small businesses. What the startup doesn’t support is Harvard Business School Professor Ben Edelman’s response to one.
Boston.com published Tuesday a string of emails between Edelman and Ran Duan, owner of The Baldwin Bar in Sichuan Garden, a Chinese restaurant owned by Duan’s parents. The conversation started with Edelman saying he was charged $4 more than expected based on the restaurant’s website prices and ended in the professor threatening legal action.
A lot of back and forth happened in between, during which Duan kept his composure. He apologized, tried explaining what went wrong and even offered to pay Edelman his $4. But, the correspondence continued.
(Update: Edelman has issued an apology, which can be found here.)
“We should be supporting local retailers by helping them with matters such as this, not sue them,” wrote Promoboxx in a blog post.
When asked by Boston.com about the quality of his food from Sichuan Garden, Edelman admitted, “It was delicious.” So for lunch Wednesday, the Promoboxx team decided to taste test it for themselves.
A team of employees was sent to Brookline to buy roughly $500 worth of food from Sichuan Garden, according to Promoboxx CEO Ben Carcio, who told BostInno the startup will also be offering the restaurant any local marketing assistance.
“Basically we’re there to say we’re there for them and everything will be OK,” Carcio wrote in an email.
The team also invited anyone to stop by the Promoboxx office at 500 Harrison Avenue — including Edelman — for some free food.
Promoboxx isn’t the only one responding to Edelman’s reaction, however.
Harvard Business School students have launched a fundraiser to help fix the community’s now negative image. They are asking people to donate the amount Edelman argued about — exactly $4 — to fight hunger. Proceeds will benefit The Greater Boston Food Bank, which will match all donations received before December 31.
More than $1,000 have been raised to date.
Images via Promoboxx