Mayor Michelle Wu last week announced the inaugural list of Legacy Business awardees, a group of 30 businesses including Bunker Hill Barber Shop that represent the rich diversity and cultural fabric of all Boston neighborhoods. This program – the most expansive in the country – was developed by the Office of Small Business within the Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Cabinet and will support awardees through increased visibility and connecting them with City services. This new program will provide targeted technical assistance with a focus on succession planning, growth, business updates, and employee ownership. Businesses will also receive a commercial lease toolkit, legal consultation and other resources from City of Boston partners.
“Our legacy businesses are pillars in our communities and expand opportunity for our residents and families across Boston,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m thrilled that we get to honor these staple businesses who invest and uplift our communities. Congratulations to our thirty newly selected legacy businesses and we look forward to being able to support these foundational businesses across Boston’s neighborhoods for years to come.”
“These small businesses are an integral part of their neighborhoods, and they not only provide indispensable services to our communities, but they also help to make our city vibrant,” said Council President Ed Flynn. “I’m happy to see that longstanding businesses in District 2 are being recognized, including ones in Downtown, Chinatown, South Boston, and the South End. Congratulations to all the awardees, let’s continue to support our wonderful neighborhood businesses.”
“I am grateful for Mayor Wu’s unwavering commitment to supporting and preserving legacy businesses throughout the City of Boston,” said Councilor Brian Worrell, Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Professional Licensure. “The Legacy Business Program provides vital support to these businesses, helping to ensure their continued success for generations to come. By recognizing the importance of these businesses and providing them with the resources they need to thrive, we can maintain the cultural fabric and unique character of our neighborhoods.”
Legacy businesses are longstanding, independent enterprises that make a strong contribution to residents, communities and neighborhoods across Boston. They are cultural anchors and repositories of community traditions and stories. These iconic businesses have helped define Boston as an innovative, family friendly and world-renowned city. By recognizing these businesses on an annual basis, this program will help to further Mayor Wu’s vision of a family-friendly city that ensures each neighborhood is a vibrant destination for all to visit and support.
“We were proud to fulfill Mayor Wu’s pledge to recognize and honor those businesses that continue to make our neighborhoods the cultural jewels they are today,” said Segun Idowu, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. “Due to the work of our Small Business team, residents will be able to come together every year to celebrate the achievements of these local community institutions, and the City will be able to provide needed resources to ensure they remain for generations to come.”
“The response was tremendous, and this has truly been a community driven process, which is part of the beauty of it,” said Aliesha Porcena, Director of Small Business. “Boston residents submitted over 1,400 nominations, and we are so happy to acknowledge the group of inaugural businesses this month. Our office is supports small businesses to start, grow, and stay in Boston. This inaugural cohort represents 30 businesses that are staples in our communities, and part of our rich history- it’s an honor to celebrate these businesses who have given our city and communities so much. We are committed to provide continued support and services to these businesses”.
“El Oriental de Cuba has been a favorite family owned restaurant for the past 30 years, and it is an honor to be recognized by the City of Boston,” said Yvonne Torres, owner of El Oriental de Cuba. “Receiving the Business Legacy award not only acknowledges the restaurant itself, but the incredible community of Jamaica Plain that has kept this restaurant alive during and after the pandemic. My father Nobel Garcia and late owner, well known and loved by everyone, would have been extremely proud to see his restaurant be recognized as a legacy institution.”
To qualify for the Legacy Business program, businesses must have:
• Operated for at least 10 years in the same location within the City of Boston.
• Contributed to the cultural, historical, and societal assets of Boston’s community or neighborhood.
• A plan to maintain its business in the City.
The process of identifying the 30 Legacy Businesses included nominations from the public, review by the City Council, and selection by a committee that included representatives from City departments, and Main Streets organizations. Selections were based on application scoring and community support. The committee ensured that the list was representative of Boston by industry, neighborhood, gender, and race.
“Ron’s has been a part of life in Hyde Park going back decades. As a kid I bowled and attended birthday parties there. They hosted visits for us as school kids demonstrating the ice cream making process. The Covitz family are generous and contribute to local programs. Their ice cream is amazing. I am always proud to bring friends and visitors to try some,” said Lauren Firnstein, Boston resident.
“‘Liz’s Hair Care embodies black excellence & legacy. Owned and operated by Liz, a black woman from Boston, LHC has been in business for over 20 years and Liz has over 30 years of hair experience. She empowers POC to look and feel their best by making them look beautiful, offering hair care tips, and giving them the advice needed to excel. Her salon is perfect for the new professional or the college student looking to nail that interview. She is committed to teaching new stylists and leaving a positive mark on their future of hair care. She is kind, funny and always willing to go out of her way for her customers! Her historical shop will leave a lasting mark on Boston history!” said Ashley Jackson, Boston resident.
“Neighborhood businesses have contributed to the fabric of our city’s culture and represent the diverse people who live in our city,” said Brianna Millor, Chief of Community Engagement. “Congratulations to all of the Legacy Business Program Winners!”
In addition to the Legacy Business Awards and related programmatic support, the Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion has committed $1 Million in grant funding to be awarded to a non-profit organization to help support long-standing small businesses in the City of Boston.