Monthly Archives: April 2014


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^ Access to Capital panel : Ed Merritt, Ron Walker, Teri Williams, Richard Soo Hoo, Rafael Carbonell, Bruce Bickerstaff

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Big changes are afoot in the part of Boston called Roxbury. The 120 million dollar reconstruction of the Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square has reached the leasing stage, with many enterprises competing for street-level retail spaces. Above them will be the 500 employees of Boston’s Public School administration, re-locating from its present Downtown digs.

This by itself i big economic news. 500 well-paid employees will be eating lunch in Dudley Square. Some will do a bit of shopping there. many will stop for coffee before the work day or stay for coffee after it. If the 500 employees spend an average of just $ 10 a day in Dudley, it adds up to $ 25,000 every work week, $ 1,250,000 a year.

Spread over the entire Roxbury community, that’s not a huge amount, but it’s not to be shooed away. If anything, this million-plus dollars has already started the big money ball rolling through Roxbury’s business district. thus it was excellent timing to find Roxbury’s City Councillor, Tito Jackson, emceeing an “Access to Capital” Forum last night, to help channel some of that money ball into the area’s entrepreneurs and business hopefuls.

There, at the Boys and Girls Club, were seven major money and business players, including Rafael Carbonell from the City of Boston’s Neighborhood Development Office, Bruce Bickerstaff of the Zoning Board of Appeals, two bank presidents (Ed Merritt of Mt Washington Bank and Teri Williams of one United), a venture capitalist, and an advisor from the Boston Foundation. Successful entrepreneur Glynn Lloyd (of City Fresh Foods) also spoke.

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^ Glynn Lloyd of City Fresh foods

About 50 community business owners and hopefuls attended. They learned a lot about what is needed if one wants access to capital : a financial statement,m tax returns, cash flow, earnings, equity in real estate. All of this is standard stuff. Apply for a small business loan at any bank, and these are what the loan officer will ask for. I heard no exceptions, no deals offered that would waive these basics. There was also talk, by CPA Richard Soo Hoo, of how to assure that a business retains some of the money it takes ion — basic accounting. Again, no exceptions, and no compromising the requirements.

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^ Ed Merritt, President of Mt Washington Bank

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^ Teri Williams, President of One United, the nation’s largest Black-owned bank

Little was said about access to venture capital and nothing at all about access to start-up funding — “angel” investing, as it’s called. mayor Walsh has stated that the Ferdinand Building will set aside space for local start-up businesses; but how are these to start if there’s no start-up financing ? Start-up entrepreneurs don’t always have equity in real estate, or credit, or more than survival money at all. What they have is an idea and a business plan. What they need is ‘angel” investing. It would have been nice had an ‘angel” investor or two been on offer at the Forum.

Still, there was one-on-one networking after the formal Forum time ended, and many local entrepreneur hopefuls talked privately with the bank presidents and with each other. The process of bringing money into Roxbury businesses will not happen on a finger snap. It will take years to establish. Yet last night seemed a decent first step. Hopefully money people will follow it up. Certainly they should, because money is coming into Roxbury — real estate, business, city administration. What demographic shape that money will create for Roxbury — will the money empower local residents first, newcomers to the neighborhood later ? — is not yet clear, but vast change has already started and is gaining momentum.

—- Mike Freedberg / Roxbury Here

below : the emcee himself : District City Councillor Tito Jackson

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Today at 10:53 AM
FYI Recap: Rounding Up the Square, by Executive Director of Discover Roxbury….

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Derek Lumpkins <>
Date: Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Recap: Rounding Up the Square

2011 logo

 If you’re a casual observer of the redevelopment happening at the Ferdinand Building, there’s a good chance that you saw more about it in the media in the last seven days than you have in the previous seven months combined.

On March 27, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) organized an open house for retail bidders to present their visions to the public at the Dudley Branch Library. Although the BRA stated that the open house would have no impact on the decision of the selection committee, roughly half of the 22 bidders appeared to talk to visitors.

 But, it wasn’t until the following Monday that conversation about the project and its impact really became the talk of the town. First, there was an article explaining (as well as feeding off the usual stereotypes and furthering stigma) that Dudley Square’s comeback was linked to bids submitted by national chains for space at the Ferdinand Building [Boston Globe]. Unfortunately, that article lacked any reference to bids also submitted by local businesses and organizations, including a pair of complementary bids by Discover Roxbury and Haley House Bakery Café. In response, Discover Roxbury’s board of directors issued a petition asking for public comments and support for our work and our submissions.

 By the end of last week, the conversation about the Ferdinand and the bids morphed into a conversation about local vs. national brands, or more specifically, Haley House vs. Starbucks  [Boston Globe]. Although the BRA doesn’t have a mechanism to solicit public input, we at Discover Roxbury are excited by the level of public participation being shown via the online petition, on social media, and in conversations that we’re having around the city.

As we all eagerly wait for the BRA to announce the winning bids, we hope you will continue to stay abreast of the ongoing conversation around the redevelopment of Dudley Square and continue to be part of it. The current conversation risks being reduced to a simple binary discussion of the little guys vs. national corporations. Yet, we all know there’s more to the situation than that. Beneath the surface are questions of how new tenants envision civic and community engagement (particularly in a publicly funded municipal building); the degree to which there will be displacement in the wake of so much new development; and the role of the City in shaping the changes in the neighborhood.

 If we only had that casino in East Boston. We could place bets on what the answers to those questions might be.

—- Rodney Singleton / Seen From the Hill




Monday 3:07pm
Rodney Singleton

Support Discover Roxbury and Haley House at the Ferdinand in Dudley Square!
Two thoughts: “We foster cultural equity so that Roxbury’s rich heritage and vibrant present become an integral part of Boston’s cultural landscape.” and “We believe in food with purpose and the power of community.” Not only powerful words, but also the creed by which Discover Roxbury and Haley House respectively live, breathe and vitally contribute to Roxbury and Boston every day! To continue this work, Discover Roxbury and Haley House have submitted proposals for retail space in the new Dudley Square Municipal Building/Ferdinand Building at 2300 Washington Street in the heart of Dudley Square. Competition is strong and we need your support to create a new space in Roxbury that will build upon and strengthen our community.
Let’s show the city and the rest of Boston our strong support for Discover Roxbury and Haley House at Dudley! Sign below and share with neighbors and friends.
Together with Discover Roxbury and Haley House, the community has the opportunity to create the space so many of us have dreamed of for so long – a space to gather and work together to continue to build a community-based vision of the future of Roxbury that builds upon its rich history and culture. As strong community partners, both Discover Roxbury and Haley House have proven time and time again their deep commitment to the people of Roxbury. Discover Roxbury provides a platform where the existing talents of Roxbury are made central to the understanding and appreciation of the community, and where residents and visitors can partake in authentic neighborhood-based experiences.
At the Ferdinand, Discover Roxbury will create a welcoming environment with interactive programming and spaces that include: gallery openings and exhibitions; retail highlighting local entrepreneurs that changes seasonally; musical and theatrical performances by local groups; and shared office space/public work-bar for entrepreneurs. Discover Roxbury is well positioned to bridge the knowledge and interaction gaps between commuters, visitors, and residents as a welcoming hub representing the vibrant history and culture of Roxbury.
Haley House, long known for their innovative solutions to social injustice, will bring their organic wholewheat pizza dough – smothered in all things good for you – to the Ferdinand Building. Their shop will also feature the whole range of coffee drinks – all prepared with fairly traded, organic coffee from Equal Exchange. Daily, made from scratch soups and salads will be topped off by Haley House’s renowned baked goods. Haley House seeks ways to serve the community’s health while it promotes economic justice. Working together, Discover Roxbury and Haley House will create a space that meets the desires of the city and the community in creating a vibrant presence in the square from early-morning coffee right on through the evening and weekend hours. Our current community partners deserve our support as we work together to build the future of Roxbury.
— Thank you!
—- Board of Directors Discover Roxbury